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Renville County to appoint task force for hospital affiliation

OLIVIA -- Renville County's board of commissioners will be appointing a task force to work with the RC Hospital and Clinics board of directors on the possible affiliation of the health system with a larger system.

Tribune file photoThe $25 million, 65,000-square-foot RC Hospital and Clinics facility on the east edge of Olivia was dedicated in September 2015. The Renville County-owned system posted $9 million in net revenues last year with a 9.5 percent total margin, according to the annual report.
Tribune file photo The Renville County Board of Commissioners is looking to a appoint a task force including county board members and administrative staff to work with the RC Hospital and Clinics board of directors to consider proposals for affiliation from three large health care systems.

OLIVIA - Renville County's board of commissioners will be appointing a task force to work with the RC Hospital and Clinics board of directors on the possible affiliation of the health system with a larger system.

The county board of commissioners informally agreed to appoint the task force at its work session on Tuesday. The commissioners will act at their regular meeting one week later.

The original request from the hospital board asked the county to approve a task force "to begin deliberations concerning the possible sale of the hospital and utilization of reserves therein." Commissioner Greg Snow asked that the word "affiliation" replace "sale" in the language for the task force.

He said it was not the county's intent at this point to sell the hospital. He's heard from people who expressed concerns over the possibility of a sale.

RC Hospital and Clinics has received three Requests for Proposals from larger health care systems. It is now in the process of considering those proposals. It has not reached a point where it is ready to decide which of the three to pursue, according to Nathan Blad, CEO.

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Blad told the Tribune that the hospital board requested the task force be created to open constructive dialogue between it and the county board. The county board will ultimately decide on any type of affiliation or sale that could occur.

The county board has been supportive of the process to date, said Blad. The process is now at the point where it's important to make sure the hospital and county boards are "joined at the hip."

The health system posted a strong financial performance in 2018, and is meeting budget goals this year. It has the ability to do its due diligence and make the best decisions for the citizens of Renville County, he added.

The commissioners noted that two other area health systems are also exploring possible affiliations with larger systems. Both are further along in the process. The Swift County Benson Health System recently decided to pursue an affiliation with Carris Health of Willmar or CentraCare of St. Cloud.

Granite Falls Health announced it is beginning discussions with Avera. It had also considered proposals from Sanford, CentraCare and Health Partners, according to an announcement by the health system on its decision.

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