BENSON — Swift County-Benson Health Services and CentraCare have approved an extended three-year management agreement to continue collaboration efforts, the two systems announced last week.

According to a news release, the Swift County-Benson Hospital District Board, the Benson City Council and Swift County Board of Commissioners approved the revised and extended management agreement in their December meetings.

“While CentraCare has requested to wait on the execution of the proposed operating lease with (Swift County-Benson Health Services), operational efficiencies and opportunities will be pursued during the management contract term,” said Patty Schreck, chair of the Swift County-Benson Hospital District Board.

Current operations will remain under the ownership and control of the Swift County-Benson Hospital District Board, and Melissa McGinty-Thompson and Dan Enderson will continue to provide joint leadership as co-CEOs of Swift County-Benson Health Services.

Plans for Carris Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of CentraCare, to lease and operate the Swift County-Benson Health facilities are now on hold. The Swift County-Benson Health Services campus includes a 21-bed critical access hospital, a surgery center, rehabilitation therapies, an assisted living and memory care unit, and an outpatient clinic.

The organizations signed a letter of intent Sept. 3 stating their goal to integrate, according to West Central Tribune archives.

According to minutes from the Dec. 16 meeting of the Benson City Council, CentraCare reviewed the Benson hospital’s finances and decided to put a pause on the lease agreement and wait further for a recommendation.

In addition to the extension of the management agreement, other changes toward an integration are moving forward.

Swift County-Benson Health Services employees transitioned to Carris Health effective Jan. 1. According to the news release, this transition allows for employees to access CentraCare/Carris education, training resources, health benefits and to be positioned on the same employment platform.

“The staff are leased back ... and we’re able to utilize available resources to reinforce the business and clinical functions of care delivery,” said Enderson in the release.

Also through the agreement, CentraCare/Carris will build and implement a new electronic health record system at Swift County-Benson Health Services in 2020.

Enderson told the West Central Tribune that the management agreement is wide-ranging, and Centracare may provide support to almost all areas of operation.

According to the news release, the partnership also includes the commitment to support Swift County-Benson Health Services with recruitment of physicians and advanced practice professionals as well as provide specialty services to the community. CentraCare/Carris currently provide specialists in cardiology, infectious disease, oncology, podiatry, general surgery and urology.

“CentraCare remains committed to the delivery of rural health care in Benson and the surrounding area,” said Dr. Kenneth Holmen, president and CEO of CentraCare, in the release. “Together we’re reinventing how health care is delivered to rural communities through forward-thinking approaches and collaborative partnerships.”

According to the news release, it is the intent of Swift County-Benson Health Services and CentraCare to deepen the existing partnership over the coming years to achieve a shared vision of comprehensive, high-quality and affordable care close to home.