The Laramie County Board of Commissioners voted to pass the resolution to approve the management services agreement (MSA) between Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and UCHealth, a Colorado-owned and operated, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) integrated health system.
The vote came after an 18-month strategic planning and assessment process that included analysis of CRMC’s overall capabilities by an outside healthcare consulting firm and input from nearly 500 employees, medical providers and community members.
CRMC’s Board of Trustees voted to approve the MSA in open session at its regular board meeting on Jan. 25, 2018. The final step in the process was for the Board of Commissioners to review the agreement and vote on it.
“This has been a well-designed and deliberative process that began in the fall of 2016,” said Phyllis Sherard, CRMC’s chief strategy officer and vice president of population health. “The process included a comprehensive assessment of the challenges a mid-sized community hospital would encounter moving forward. It quickly became apparent that to continue our hospital’s tradition of caring and innovation into the future, some model of strategic affiliation would be necessary.”
A search committee identified three finalists to consider for affiliation last summer. CRMC’s trustees voted to move forward with negotiating an MSA with UCHealth in August 2017.
“UCHealth was selected by a comprehensive 25-person search committee that included CRMC trustees, executives, physicians, nurses, support services staff and the county commissioners,” said Patrick Madigan, CRMC’s interim chief executive officer. “In the end, the search committee and our trustees believed that UCHealth emerged from the deliberation as the unsurpassed partner to help us deliver a well-coordinated and well-communicated continuum of care for the communities we serve.”
The agreement between CRMC and UCHealth will be for three years, with an option for renewal in year three. Major terms of the agreement include employment of CRMC’s CEO by UCHealth and helping CRMC meet three major goals focused on becoming “better than the best” in patient experience, safety and clinical quality; improving its financial performance; and enhancing physician integration and alignment.
“Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and UCHealth have very similar cultures and values, always putting patients first and providing exceptional service and benefits to the communities we serve,” said Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. “We are excited and honored to begin working with the leaders and providers at CRMC to identify ways that UCHealth can provide support while ensuring CRMC remains the strong, locally owned hospital it is today.”
The search and evaluation process for an MSA affiliate included review and input from Laramie County Commissioners Buck Holmes and Troy Thompson, DVM.
“The search process and the development of the management services agreement has been deliberate, thoughtful and inclusive,” Holmes said. “The commissioners feel confident that this agreement will help preserve the hospital as an important community asset and will also advance the mission of the hospital, which is to provide our community with best-in-class healthcare.”
Dr. Jessica Kisicki, a CRMC emergency department physician who was part of the search committee, agreed that the affiliation will be a benefit to CRMC and the community: “This agreement is meant to provide our health system with access to some great resources, including the ability to share knowledge and work with medical staff from UCHealth. I believe this kind of resource sharing can only serve to benefit our health system and, more importantly, our patients and community.”
Bill Larson, president of CRMC’s Board of Trustees, said that the affiliation will serve to strengthen the hospital moving forward: “We want to reiterate that this is not a sale or a merger of the hospital. Our system has strong and capable leadership, which is demonstrated by the significant progress the hospital and its affiliated provider group have made over the past several years. Our decision to go in this direction was driven by our desire to continue to provide a compelling value proposition to consumers and payers by improving our cost structure and expanding our physician network.”