Listening Session Findings

In early February of 2022, we offered a series of listening sessions to our employees, physicians and community members in partnership with the City and County. While these sessions focused on the County’s proposed new athletic complex, the MCMC partnership exploration process and healthcare campus planning, it was also an opportunity to hear what was top of mind. To encourage open dialogue and candor, the listening sessions were facilitated by a third party, Jarrard Inc., and government and hospital leadership were not present.

We recently received the findings report from our facilitators and wanted to share with you some of the key takeaways from the listening sessions.

  • New Athletic Complex
    • The general feeling is that an athletic campus would provide greater opportunities for children and families to come together.
    • Local access to premier recreational facilities will allow the community to grow and thrive, with increased tourism and great facilities closer to home.
    • There are concerns about the location of the complex and the impact on accessibility and safety.
    • There are concerns about how the athletic complex will be funded and maintained.
  • New Healthcare Campus
    • There is excitement for the centralization of resources and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.
    • There is trepidation surrounding ambulances and general traffic flow during and after the construction of a new facility.
  • Partnership Exploration Process
    • There is a lack of understanding of what a partnership would look like (e.g., merger, acquisition, joint venture), and how this differs from previous partnerships.
    • There are mixed feelings about a partnership and the impact it could have on the MCMC culture.
    • There is a desire for open communications about the partnership process. Especially the who, what, when, where and why.
  • Healthcare in Wasco County
    • There is a desire for MCMC to ensure coordinated care across all populations and ethnicities and seek input from everyone in a variety of ways.
    • In general, there is anxiety around moving forward with new initiatives before addressing current provider and staff retention and recruitment challenges.
    • The perception is that there is a physician shortage with little option than to seek care in other communities.

Click here for the comprehensive finding from Jarrard Inc. including direct quotes and polling data.

Listening and engaging with each other is critically important as we continue this journey and enrich the lives of our community and children while determining the future of healthcare in Wasco County. We know that the families and community members of The Dalles and Columbia River Gorge are what make this region so special, and MCMC leadership is committed to hearing those voices. Going forward, we will continue to listen to the concerns in our community through our suggestion link. And soon we will be releasing an online survey to continue to gather feedback and give more opportunities for engagement, this will be posted on our website and social media.

Our listening sessions provided us with great information, and we will continue to work on addressing the issues and concerns brought to the forefront, while openly communicating with you throughout this journey. As we move forward you can find updates on the Partnership Exploration and the Healthcare Campus online.

Our Exciting Journey Ahead

MCMC is a valued community institution, serving the people of The Dalles and the surrounding region for more than 120 years. Now, we are beginning a new journey to secure an equally exciting future.

As a part of this process, the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership have taken a proactive step and launched a strategic partnership exploration process that will consider all options to enhance and grow access to high-quality healthcare right here at home. As part of this process, MCMC will explore whether to partner with a like-minded healthcare organization that will invest in and grow our system or to remain independent.

Our Vision

We have just begun this process. Over the course of many months the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership will thoughtfully evaluate potential partners based on certain priorities – which include the capacity to make needed investments in a new hospital campus, the ability to achieve economies of scale and maximize access for the community, as well as develop information systems, expand provider care resources and create access to needed service lines for all residents of our region.

The healthcare industry has continually evolved, particularly in recent years, with rural community hospitals around the nation facing the strongest headwinds. To remain strong, MCMC must continually adjust to advancements in technology, payment structures, and the ongoing challenges of staff needs, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Over the course of the coming months, the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership will thoughtfully evaluate potential partners based on the following priorities:

Keeping more care local by investing in and building a more robust physician and provider team, with a focus on primary care and specialty services

Maintaining and enhancing employee and provider satisfaction and retention

Investing in its employees through development and educational resources

Improving rural and community care with a person-centered focus and a commitment to bettering the overall health of the region

Exploring innovative rural healthcare models that position MCMC as a leader in person-centered care and increasing access to care close to home

Embracing its unique status as a rural hospital with a wide breadth and depth of specialty services, and supporting further development as the community’s healthcare provider of choice

Supporting its Planetree person-centered mission, inspiring caregivers to make patients true partners in their care, meeting their human needs and improving outcomes

Creating a superior healthcare campus, with all private rooms, and expanded high-quality care in a collaborative, technologically advanced environment

Ensuring local input and a commitment to collaborate with our community partners

MCMC is an anchor institution in The Dalles and Columbia River Gorge. The MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership are united in the belief that the people of our community deserve the highest quality of care, in a modern facility with expanded access to a comprehensive array of services.

Next Steps

No decisions about the long-term future of MCMC have been made yet, including the choice of whether to form a partnership with a healthcare organization or to remain independent. We are excited about what this exploration journey means for the future of healthcare in our region.

Our priority will continue to be providing exceptional care to our patients and the communities we serve. The strategic and partnership exploration process will not impact our daily operations, and nothing changes today for our patients, employees, physicians or community.

We know there many questions to be answered, and there is a lot we do not know today. We are just beginning to explore the idea of a partnership. We are committed to keeping you informed throughout this journey.

Listening and engaging with each other is critically important as we continue this journey and enrich the lives of our community and children while determining the future of healthcare in Wasco County. We know that the families and community members of The Dalles and Columbia River Gorge are what make this region so special, and MCMC leadership is committed to hearing those voices. Please send us feedback in the comment box below. Thank you for your openness and honesty – and more than anything – your time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is being announced?

The MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership have taken a proactive step and launched a strategic partnership exploration process that will consider all options to enhance and grow access to high-quality healthcare right here at home. As a part of this process, MCMC will explore whether to remain independent, or partner with a compatible healthcare organization that will invest in and grow the health system.

2. What does this announcement mean?

We have great people who are committed to our patients and our community. To build on our strong foundation and serve the Columbia River Gorge region for decades to come, we need additional resources to help us achieve our vision of building a new hospital and healthcare campus, as well as making investments in our people, services and technology.

MCMC is excited to explore potential opportunities and partnerships that could secure the future of healthcare in our region. As part of this process, MCMC will explore whether to partner with a like-minded healthcare organization that will invest in and grow our system or to remain independent.

3. Why is MCMC doing this now?

Over the last few years, the healthcare industry has continually changed, with rural community hospitals like ours facing the strongest headwinds. We must adjust to advancements in technology, how we pay and get paid for services, the way we deliver care, and the ongoing challenge of staffing shortages, not to mention the impact of the pandemic. While we don’t know exactly what the future holds, the Board takes seriously the importance of planning and preparing for the future to secure accessible and affordable healthcare in our region for generations to come.

MCMC is financially and operationally solid. We have great people who are committed to our patients and our community. To build on our strong foundation and serve the Columbia River Gorge region for decades to come, we need additional resources to help us achieve our vision of building a new hospital and healthcare campus, as well as making investments in our people, services and technology.

4. How long will this take?

We have just begun this process. Over the course of many months the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership will thoughtfully evaluate potential partners based on the priorities.

5. What is MCMC hoping to achieve in this process? What are the goals?

As MCMC looks to the future and to the goal of providing the community with a new healthcare campus, it’s clear more resources are needed to appropriately invest in our people, and the technology and services this region needs and deserves.

Over the course of many months the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership will thoughtfully evaluate potential partners based on our priorities – which include the capacity to make needed investments in a new hospital campus, the ability to achieve economies of scale and maximize access for the community, as well as develop information systems, expand provider care resources and create access to needed service lines for all residents of our region.

To expand on these priorities, our goal is to achieve the following with a potential partner:

  • Keeping more care local by investing in and building a robust physician and provider team, with a focus on primary care and specialty services
  • Maintaining and enhancing employee and provider satisfaction and retention
  • Investing in our employees through development and educational resources
  • Improving rural and community care with a person-centered focus and a commitment to bettering the overall health of the region
  • Exploring innovative rural healthcare models that position MCMC as a leader in person-centered care and increasing access to care close to home
  • Embracing our unique status as a rural hospital with a wide breadth and depth of specialty services, and supporting our further development as the community’s healthcare provider of choice
  • Supporting our Planetree person-centered mission, inspiring caregivers to make patients true partners in their care, meeting their human needs and improving outcomes
  • Creating a superior healthcare campus, with all private rooms, and expanded high-quality care in a collaborative, technologically advanced environment
  • Ensuring local input and a commitment to collaborate with our community partners

6. What is MCMC looking for in a new partner?

In evaluating any potential partner for MCMC, we’ll consider who is best able to advance the following priorities:

  1. Strengthening capacity to make needed investments in a new hospital campus, technology, programs and people
  2. Achieving economies of scale to reduce the cost of care while strengthening quality
  3. Maximizing access for the community while addressing underserved populations
  4. Further develop information systems to support an expanded enterprise
  5. Expanding provider care resources, such as access to care pathways and telehealth
  6. Creating access to needed service lines of care for all residents of the Columbia River Gorge region

7. What does this mean for employees?

The strategic partnership exploration process will not impact our daily operations, and nothing changes today for our employees, physicians or APPs. Among our key priorities when determining the right partnership is maintaining and enhancing employee and provider satisfaction and retention, as well as investing in our employees through development and educational resources.

We are committed to developing the right strategy and exploring the right potential partnership for our future. We know how important this moment in the history of our institution is to ensure MCMC continues to provide the best possible healthcare to our community for many decades to come.

8. What does this mean for patients and the community?

MCMC’s priority will continue to be providing exceptional care to our patients and the communities we serve. The strategic partnership exploration process will not impact our daily operations, and nothing changes today for our patients, employees, physicians or community. As we move through the steps of this strategic and partnership exploration, we will continue to keep our patients and our community informed about how we will leverage this process to ensure a strong future for MCMC right here in the local community.

9. What happens next?

This process can take many months or longer. During this time, the MCMC Board, Leadership and Physician Leadership will be working diligently to ensure they are charting the best course forward for the future of healthcare in the Columbia River Gorge region.