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Published April 19, 2013, 12:42 PM

Jamestown Medical Center pursues affiliation with Sanford Health

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The Jamestown Regional Medical Center will pursue an affiliation agreement with Sanford Health, the JRMC Operating Board recently decided at a planning retreat.

By: Kari Lucin, Forum News Service, INFORUM

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – The Jamestown Regional Medical Center will pursue an affiliation agreement with Sanford Health, the JRMC Operating Board recently decided at a planning retreat.

An affiliation agreement – the lowest level of relationship Sanford offers – would allow JRMC’s local board to retain all its decision-making powers, while also allowing JRMC to offer patients more cancer care options.

Sanford Health is based in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Fargo.

“It’s all about bringing services here,” said Connie Krapp, who heads the JRMC Operating Board.

If the affiliation agreement is finalized, JRMC will also be able to implement Epic, an electronic health record system already in use by the Sanford and Essentia clinics in Jamestown.

“I think Sanford wants the relationship because they have a lot of investment in the community with the two clinics,” said Todd Hudspeth, CEO of the medical center. “They want to deliver care as close to the patients’ home as possible.”

Through cooperation with the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo, JRMC would be able to expand its chemotherapy offerings, along with eventually radiation therapy.

The medical center has long recognized a need for more local cancer treatment, Krapp said, even before the new hospital was built.

Partnering with Sanford could also allow JRMC patients to participate in Sanford clinical trials at JRMC.

For the most part, patients who aren’t being treated for cancer likely won’t notice any changes, Hudspeth said.

Using the Epic record-keeping system will mean that the JRMC’s electronic records are totally compatible with those of Sanford and Essentia clinics, both of which use the same system.

Talks about partnering with Sanford or other larger health systems have been going on for a long time, but they intensified after the Affordable Care Act became law, Krapp said.

“We’re seeing tremendous change in health care with increasing focus on the cost and efficiency of care,” said Rick Giesel, president of the Sanford Health Network, Fargo. “Closer collaboration and integration lends itself to better align incentives and potentially avoid duplication of services.

“Evaluating a closer affiliation between JRMC and Sanford seeks to address our changing environment so that we can continue to offer the best patient care possible.”

Lucin writes for the Jamestown Sun

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