West River Health Services in Hettinger, ND and Southwest Healthcare Services in Bowman, ND have started talks around how the two organizations can collaborate to sustain growth, enhance services and improve access to quality, local healthcare. 

The chief executive officers of both organizations and their respective boards of directors are working with Eide Bailly, a national accounting firm with extensive experience in strategic planning for critical access hospitals.

While the two healthcare systems currently serve distinct rural areas, they share similar missions, goals and challenges, which led the organizations to consider an alliance. “Instead of competing to provide local access to quality care, we can combine the strengths of both organizations by working as a team,” said Matthew Shahan, CEO of West River Health Services. “At the same time, we will operate independently, so each facility will retain its own unique identity.”

According to Bob Letson, Interim CEO for Southwest Healthcare Services, a collaborative effort is in the best interests of all those involved. “While we’re still in the early stages of determining what ‘collaboration’ might look like, our goal is to leverage our collective resources to provide patients with a broader range of services,” said Letson. “At the same time, we will look at ways to increase efficiencies, reduce expenses and sustain growth.”

As major employers in rural North Dakota, the success of West River Health Services and Southwest Healthcare Services can also affect the vitality of the surrounding communities. This underscores the importance of collaborating to keep both organizations financially strong.

Additional information about the alliance between the two organizations will be released as details are finalized.

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