On July 26, 2016 the Board of Directors of the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor voted unanimously to establish its own clinic.
Since the early 1990’s, Affiliated Community Medical Center (ACMC) a for profit, physician owned organization, out of Willmar, Minnesota has been operating the clinic in Granite Falls.
The decision to establish a provider based clinic, hospital owned, came due to continued decline in market share and the inability of ACMC to recruit providers, particularly female providers to Granite Falls.
The board approved the hiring of a female Family Practice Physician who does Obstetrics (O/B), a female Internal Medicine Physician and two female Family Nurse Practitioners.
According to Allen Anderson, Vice President of Operations, “we have successfully recruited a female Family Practice Physician who does O/B and a female Nurse Practitioner. We have offered a contract to another female Nurse Practitioner and are finalizing a contract with a female Internal Medicine Physician. On top of that, we will continue to recruit new providers for our community. For example, we are interviewing a female Family Practice Physician who does O/B in September and we have a Physician Assistant who has indicated he would like to come to work in our clinic.”
Earlier this year Granite Falls Hospital announced the hiring of four Advance Practice Professionals (APPs) and have a contract offer out to a Board Certified Family Practice Physician who specializes in Emergency Medicine, to staff its Emergency Room. According to Anderson, the staff hired for the clinic is in addition to the staff (APPs) hired for the Emergency Room. He
further states, “Granite Falls Hospital could potentially have an employed medical staff made up of four physicians and six APPs by the end of the year.”
Tom Kooiman, C.E.O. stated, “as a provider based clinic, the hospital is essentially setting up another department of the hospital, allowing Granite Falls Hospital to spread out overhead costs, gain synergies and pass this savings along to our patients. The fact we are a 501©3, not for profit, community owned organization, assists in passing along cost savings to our patients. Our profits are invested back into our facility and not paid out to shareholders.”
Having a provider based clinic allows the hospital to establish a 340b pharmacy program. 340b is a federal drug pricing savings opportunity. This will allow the hospital to work closer with
local pharmacy(s) and offer more services to our community; a benefit to the patients, pharmacy and the hospital. Thrifty White has approached the hospital about partnering to benefit the community.
Kooiman stated, “the hospital tried on many occasions to work with ACMC’s administration to set up a provider based clinic, however, ACMC’s administration, to date, has been unwilling to do this, citing they “do not want to give up control.” They told us they would rather compete, and win, than work with the hospital. To us it is not about winning or losing, it is about what is right for our community. We are not interested in grabbing ACMC’s market share, but regaining the market share that has left our community. With Lucy Brink, Nurse Practitioner, leaving, Granite Falls would be left with no female providers. We believe this will lead to continued declining volumes. We are only capturing 39% of our market share; we want to keep
local services local. Our goal is to have a market share of 80%. We believe the hiring of additional providers, particularly female, will assist the hospital in achieving this goal.”
The hospital board is still evaluating where to put the new hospital based clinic. ACMC leases the space on the bottom floor of the hospital. A portion of the lease has expired. One option would be to move the new providers into that space; the second option is to renovate the first floor of the old Granite Manor. The hospital is keeping their options open, but have plans to be in operation around the first of the year.
LaVonne Koenen, Granite Falls Hospital Board Chair, believes “the move to establish our own hospital, provider based clinic, begins to position the organization well for the changing health care industry. In the past trying to recruit with ACMC has been difficult and relatively unproductive. The decision to establish our own clinic will allow us to keep health care service local, assist us in our goal to reduce the total cost of care, achieve improved population health
and improve quality. The primary goals of the Affordable Care Act. Having our own clinic will allow us to partner with organizations who share a similar mission, vision, goals and objectives.”