As Perry County Health System looks into a possible partnership with Mercy, we wanted to share some information with you to help answer any questions and concerns you may have.
There are many variables that make it advantageous for Perry County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) to partner with a health system like Mercy. Some variables include, but are not limited to: reimbursement pressures, rising costs for supplies and personnel, our strategic vision for the future, and competitive market pressures. It would be difficult for PCMH to continue to grow and provide the wide variety of health care options for our residents without an affiliation partner. Right now, we are in a position of strength and the timing is right to consider an affiliation.
There are numerous factors that were considered when recommending the best potential affiliate partner, including but not limited to:
- Familiarity and success with Critical Access Hospitals and affiliations. Mercy currently leases or owns 16 Critical Access Hospitals;
- Familiarity and success with rural hospitals. Mercy currently operates 21 rural hospitals;
- Their quality scores. Mercy Jefferson has a four out of five star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and was named a “Top Hospital” by an independent national watchdog organization (Leapfrog);
- Their low cost of care. Mercy Jefferson has a lower average cost for an emergency department (ED) visit compared to Missouri averages for various levels of ED visits;
- Their investment in technology which enables our doctors and nurses to better serve patients;
- Their commitment to co-workers; and
- The long-term sustainability for our hospital. Mercy is financially stable with an A+ bond rating from the S&P rating agency.
When these factors and others were weighed all together, the Board of Trustees unanimously chose to proceed with negotiating with Mercy.
The PCMH Board of Trustees unanimously voted to enter negotiations with Mercy for a non-binding Letter of Intent. Likewise, the PCHS Board of Directors unanimously recommended negotiating with Mercy for a non-binding Letter of Intent.
A LOI is simply a non-binding document that allows the parties to continue to share detailed information to further investigate if an affiliation is a good fit for all parties.
The next step is a due diligence period during which PCMH and Mercy will share more detailed information with each other. As a part of this process, the parties will negotiate a lease agreement that must be agreed to by Mercy, the Health System Board, the Board of Trustees, and ultimately, the County Commission.
There is no set timeline, although we estimate it could take anywhere from 4-8 months. But we will take as long as necessary to accomplish the goals to best serve our community.
No. Any final agreement simply involves the operations of the hospital. The Board of Trustees would still own the hospital and buildings.
Yes. In fact, a nationally recognized firm that specializes in working with rural hospitals who are considering a potential affiliate partner has validated the process has been thorough, thoughtful and fair. A significant amount of information has been shared publicly with the Board of Trustees and the County Commission, but some information is discussed privately so as not to reveal highly confidential information and potentially weaken the negotiation power of Perry County Memorial Hospital.
One of the biggest priorities in discussing this affiliate partnership for Perry County Memorial Hospital is its workforce and culture. Without stellar employees, the hospital is simply a building. PCMH remains committed to its employees and given the current labor market shortage, we are confident there is a job at PCMH for everyone who wants one.
Yes. An affiliation with Mercy will not impact your choice in physicians.
Mercy collaborates with numerous colleges and universities with existing health care education programs by providing clinical learning opportunities for students. They have indicated that they are open and excited about the idea of helping to bring nursing education to Perryville.