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Scotland County Hospital and Blessing Health System, based in Quincy, Illinois, have formalized a five-year collaboration with the signing of a management agreement.
Scotland County Hospital will remain an independent entity, but through the agreement will work more closely with Blessing Health System in a number of clinical and non-clinical areas to strengthen its long-term presence in the Scotland, Schuyler, Clark and Knox counties.
“Considering the nearest hospital is more than 35 miles away, the services of Scotland County Hospital are vital to the communities we serve,” said Randy Tobler, MD, president/chief executive officer, Scotland County Hospital. “Just last month a national study identified more than 450 rural hospitals across the country as vulnerable to closure due to financial pressures. SCH is not immune to those pressures.”
“Board members and hospital senior leadership are committed to taking action that will strengthen Scotland County Hospital, its future and the future of the residents of the communities served. The management agreement with Blessing Health System does that.”
“Through its more than 140 years of operation, Blessing has developed expertise in the business-side and the clinical-side of health care delivery,” said Maureen Kahn, RN, MHA, MSN, president/chief executive officer, Blessing Health System/Blessing Hospital. “It is not that Scotland County Hospital does not have this expertise. It does or it would not have a 50-year history of service. But by virtue of economies of scale Blessing has built, this formalized partnership will allow Scotland County Hospital to access the benefits of more of our processes and procedures in their day-to-day operations.”
Kahn stated Blessing Health System has no plans to assume ownership of Scotland County Hospital. The foundation of the two providers is very different. Scotland County Hospital is owned by the county and receives a portion of its operating budget from tax dollars. Blessing does not.
She continued that Blessing is interested in the long-term success of Scotland County Hospital, as it is the largest employer in the area and vital to further economic development in the four county area it serves.
“Most importantly, Scotland County Hospital provides the residents of the communities it serves with convenient access to quality care for all ages including primary care, obstetrics, emergency medicine and a variety of other outpatient services, including surgery. These are services vital to improving the health of communities,” Kahn observed.
Blessing Physician Services cardiologists have seen patients at the hospital in Memphis for several years, and last month, the hospital announced it was opening a medical clinic in Edina and that Blessing Health System specialists would provide care at the clinic through on-site and virtual visits.
“The only change residents of the region will notice in their health care services as a result of this new agreement is a stronger Scotland County Hospital,” Dr. Tobler added.