Mid-Columbia Medical Center Announces Strategic Partnership Exploration Journey

MCMC Board of Trustees, Leadership and Physician Leadership take a
proactive step that will consider options to enhance and grow
local access to high-quality healthcare

(THE DALLES, Ore.- Jan. 13, 2022) – Leaders from Mid-Columbia Medical Center (MCMC) announced today they have taken a proactive step forward to launch a strategic and partnership exploration process that will consider all options to enhance and grow access to high-quality healthcare in The Dalles and surrounding region. 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.

“MCMC has a proud history of serving this community for more than 120 years, thanks to our dedicated team of healthcare professionals and physicians,” said Phil Brady, Chair of the MCMC Board of Trustees. “We are singularly focused on doing everything possible to secure the best future for local healthcare in the Columbia River Gorge region, while managing the complexities of a constantly evolving healthcare industry. We are excited to embark upon this journey, which will ensure our high-quality, local healthcare continues for decades to come.”

The Board of Trustees, in conjunction with senior and physician leadership, has begun a strategic process to thoughtfully evaluate potential partners based on certain priorities, including 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 to develop information systems, expand provider care resources and create access to needed service lines for all residents of our region.

“As a part of this process, MCMC will explore whether to remain independent, or partner with a like-minded healthcare organization that is open to collaboration and interested in further investing in the advancement of healthcare in our region,” said Dennis Knox, President & CEO of MCMC. “We are committed to developing the best strategy and exploring the right potential partnership for the future of healthcare in the Columbia River Gorge 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.

“We are in a position to choose the best partnership with a healthcare system that aligns with our goals and has the resources to advance them,” Brady said. “We recognize that partnering with another system could potentially help us move forward with our plans in a way, and at a pace, that we could not achieve on our own. The Board takes seriously the importance of planning and preparing for the future to secure accessible and affordable healthcare in our region for the long-term.”

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, with a strong, diverse and talented medical staff who are committed to this community and providing the best possible medical care,” said Dr. Serene Perkins, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at MCMC. “The breadth of specialty services currently available at MCMC is a truly valuable benefit for a community of our size. To continue to grow and expand services, the time is right to explore all our options.”

MCMC’s priority will continue to be providing exceptional care to patients and the communities. The strategic and partnership exploration process will not impact the health system’s daily operations, and nothing changes today for patients or staff.

“We are only in the beginning stage of this journey and are excited about what this may mean for the future of healthcare in the Columbia River Gorge,” said Knox. “We’re committed to keeping our community, patients, and staff informed every step of the way.”

Visit MCMC.net/partnership-exploration to learn more about the strategic and partnership exploration process and next steps.

Media Note: If you would like to request an interview, please contact Travis Dray at 541-506-5750.

About Mid-Columbia Medical Center

Founded in 1901, Mid-Columbia Medical Center is a nationally recognized hospital dedicated to serving residents of The Dalles and its surrounding communities. In 1992, MCMC became the first hospital in the nation to integrate the Planetree philosophy of patient care, which emphasizes the need to address a person’s intellectual, environmental, emotional and spiritual concerns in addition to their physical needs. As a Planetree-affiliated hospital, MCMC works to provide a caring, nurturing and educational environment; puts great efforts into humanizing and demystifying the medical experience; and strives to empower people to become active partners in their own healthcare. For more information visit mcmc.net.