After almost a year and a half of searching, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors announced Friday a letter of intent in which Christus Health will become a partner in the ongoing management and operation of the hospital.
The letter of intent is the first step toward finalizing a partnership with Christus, which will take over a majority interest in the local hospital and clinic.
In a called meeting of the hospital board at noon Friday, board members unanimously agreed to move forward with a partnership agreement with Christus Health.
When finalized, possibly within the next 90 days, Christus Health will acquire the majority share [51 percent] of and will manage the hospital, clinic and related entities. The Hopkins County Hospital District will retain a minority [49 percent] ownership of the hospital.
Patients will see no change in procedures as the two entities work on the binding agreement.
Tim Kelty, HCMH Board of Directors president, said the board has worked diligently to identify the best partner to continue and enhance the mission and vision of Memorial Hospital and Clinic.
“When we began the process of exploring potential partners, we established essential criteria including the partner's ability to strengthen the quality of care we provide, improve our financial viability and provide access to capital, collaborate with medical staff and employees, and preserve the local voice in our health care system. Christus meets and exceeds these criteria,” Kelty said. “The community will benefit in many ways from MH&C's partnership with Christus, and we are excited to learning more about the exciting opportunities and commitments that our partnership will bring to Sulphur Springs.”
Michael McAndrew, CEO of the Hopkins County Hospital District, said the pairing is a good fit for the community and the hospital.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Christus Health,” McAndrew said. “After a substantial process to find the right partner that shares our commitment to our patients and community, we are confident Christus Health will enable us to continue and improve upon this commitment and further enhance our mission. Christus Health has a strong foundation and shared values which will strengthen the delivery of care locally while providing an established system that will prepare Hopkins County Memorial Hospital for future health care delivery models.”
Ernie Sadau, CEO of Christus Health, said the partnership will bring together two health systems focused on serving their communities.
“We believe that it will also ensure that Hopkins County Memorial Hospital District continues its mission of healing the people of Hopkins County,” Sadau said. “We are excited about welcoming the hospital and the community into the Christus family and expanding the reach of high quality, compassionate health care already provided here.”
For the past several years HCMH has worked to recruit and bring new physicians to the community and both McAndrew and Sadau say the partnership with Christus will have the potential to bring more doctors to Sulphur Springs.
“We definitely will be committed to that,” Sadau said. “Because of the size of our organization and the stability together in this partnership and the stability we can bring to the hospital and the community from a heath care standpoint, as physicians come into the community, they want to be clear what that vision is for the organization,” he said. “I think that together we can do that. We obviously have a lot of our hospitals that have residency programs in them to where we are training physicians and they are looking for opportunities once they get out of residency. We are always trying to keep them somewhere in our network of hospitals, so I think there is an opportunity for that to improve.”