LITCHFIELD — An agreement between Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics in Litchfield and St. Cloud-based CentraCare goes into effect Saturday, creating opportunities for collaboration for coordinated health care services in Meeker County.

According to a news release from Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics, the agreement includes transitioning Carris Health – Litchfield Clinics to a provider-based clinic model allowing physicians, clinic services and the hospital to integrate the delivery of health care services under one operation.

The clinics will be operated by the hospital through a lease with Carris Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of CentraCare.

Meeker Memorial Hospital, a not-for-profit, 35-bed healthcare facility owned by Meeker County, will remain independent of CentraCare, which is one of the largest health systems in Minnesota.

“This opportunity allows us to remain independent while leveraging the expertise, resources and experience of CentraCare,” said Beth Oberg, chairwoman of the Meeker Memorial Hospital & Clinics, board of directors and a Meeker County Commissioner.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“Together we’ll be better positioned to enhance the quality of care, improve outcomes and deliver an even better patient experience,” she said.

The cost of delivering health care services and declining reimbursements were also cited as reasons for the collaboration.

“This collaboration blends the best of Meeker Memorial and CentraCare,” said Dr. Ken Holmen, CEO of CentraCare. “It delivers on the promise of Meeker Memorial’s mission by leveraging CentraCare’s experience in primary and specialty care and will provide patients with reliable and consistent access to a full range of health care services close to home.”

Kurt Waldbillig, CEO of Meeker Memorial, said the agreement makes it easier for staff and providers to work together.

“Forming a provider-based clinic allows for better continuity of care between the hospital and clinic,” he said.

The plan allows for one electronic medical record system, registration and billing for coordinated patient care, and future growth, according to the news release.