Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) announced efforts to explore aligning medical and administrative services to improve efficiency and expand access to care.
If successful, an agreement will help provide Gorge residents with increased local access to a far broader range of healthcare services and the expertise and vast resources of the state’s only academic health institution.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center and OHSU will soon sign a letter of intent and begin formal discussions to explore both the details and the logistics of alignment. If agreement can be reached, the two organizations will formalize an agreement and establish a timeline for a process to move forward.
“The success of our past relationships with OHSU led us to believe that additional alignment would be highly beneficial,” said Mid-Columbia Medical Center President and CEO Duane Francis.
“I want to stress that we are not merging our two organizations. MCMC will remain independent, locally controlled and overseen by a volunteer board of local citizens, just as it has been throughout our existence. But we will be looking for more opportunities to share some services with OHSU and align others, allowing both organizations to better meet community health needs. With the changing landscape of healthcare due to health reform, relationships such as this proposed alignment have tremendous advantages for community hospitals like ours,” said Duane Francis.
For several years, Mid-Columbia Medical Center and OHSU have collaborated in certain specialty areas to offer increased service to The Dalles-area residents. For example, OHSU provided resources to strengthen MCMC’s cardiovascular services in 2009, resulting in increased service and a reduced need for travel to Portland for many Columbia Gorge residents.
A similar arrangement was later developed that allowed MCMC to expand its orthopedics services to fill an unmet need in the community. In addition, MCMC is part of the OHSU Telemedicine Network, which allows physicians in the Mid-Columbia region to easily connect with specialists at OHSU for long-distance consultations for stroke, pediatric and neonatal emergency consultations.
A closer alignment of MCMC and OHSU would produce several benefits for patients and staff including:
- Partnerships in certain specialized areas to help patients receive care close to home whenever possible.
- Providing additional investment in Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s electronic medical records system, a critical requirement of health reform.
- Helping MCMC maintain its stewardship of local health care resources and therefore enhancing its ability to fund needed facility improvements.
“This alignment will have a direct, positive impact on the health of Oregonians, which is a core mission for OHSU and also for Mid-Columbia Medical Center,” said Peter Rapp, OHSU Executive Vice President and Executive Director of OHSU Healthcare.
“Our institutions embarked on this process because of our shared commitment to strategic affiliation, our core values of community service, our focus on patient centered care and our role in seeking to be leaders in innovation and preventative medicine,” said Peter Rapp.
ABOUT MID-COLUMBIA MEDICAL CENTER
Mid-Columbia Medical Center has been providing high-quality healthcare to people of Oregon’s Mid-Columbia region for over half a century. MCMC has earned an international reputation for its efforts to improve the hospital experience for patients and their families. In 1992 MCMC became the first hospital in the world to implement the Planetree philosophy of patient-centered care facility wide and its implementation represented the beginning of a remarkable evolutionary process. Today, in addition to a 49-bed hospital, MCMC includes a regional cancer center, a comprehensive integrated therapy program and, most recently, a waterfront wellness center, including a medical-fitness facility and day spa.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only academic health and research university. As Portland's largest employer with approximately 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,300 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.