Mercy Health Network acquires Elkader hospital

Central Community Hospital to change hands July 2018

Central Community Hospital in Elkader. Stock Photo.
Central Community Hospital in Elkader. Stock Photo.

ELKADER — Officials from the Mercy Health Network announced Friday that the organization has acquired the Central Community Hospital in Elkader.

According to a new release Friday, the network will officially acquire the hospital on July 1, 2018.

“We are committed to enhancing the health and wellness of area residents, so becoming a full affiliate of Mercy Health Network will bring more services and enhanced access for our patients,” said Brooke Kensinger, CEO of Central Community Hospital, in the news release.

The West Des Moines-based Mercy Health Network is an integrated system of health care facilities throughout Iowa that includes Mercy Medical Center in Iowa City.

Kensinger told The Gazette the hospital had a relationship with the health network for about 17 years and that talks on the acquisition had been taking place before her appointment as CEO in October 2016.

“We have been in a successful management relationship with Mercy Health Network for the past 17 years and aligning ourselves now as an owned affiliate strengthens this relationship and takes our partnership to a new level,” said Robert Bodensteiner, president of the Central Community Hospital board of directors, in Friday’s news release.

By joining the network, officials hope the Central Community Hospital will remain financial stable, particularly with a trend of rural health care providers — both in Iowa and across the country — struggling to provide specialty services.

“Being a part of the Mercy Health Network is really important for rural hospitals because you have access to resources you don’t have as a stand-alone entity,” Kensinger said, adding that her hospital needs access to strategic planning, group purchasing organizations, legal expertise and more.

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Kensinger said the deal has been well received by hospital staff and patients. Career opportunities have opened to hospital staff, she said, and local patients can be reassured their health care provider won’t close any time soon.

The Central Community Hospital will be going through a due diligence period over the next six months.

Kensinger said she doesn’t anticipate any major changes come July 1, but that over time, “things will transition when they make sense.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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