Kalispell Regional Healthcare and Northern Rockies Medical Center in Cut Bank announced last week the signing of a non-binding letter of intent to “enter into exclusive discussions to explore a deeper relationship.”
The March 18 press release stated that the letter of intent reflects a longer-term commitment to “ensuring that the citizens of Glacier County have expanded services and continued high quality health care.”
“Our community board members care deeply for the citizens of Glacier County and are committed to safeguarding access to quality health care,” NRMC Chief Executive Officer Cherie Taylor said in a statement. “We have had a long-standing relationship with Kalispell Regional Healthcare and are excited about this opportunity to explore a more meaningful relationship. This is an important first step to ensure that Northern Rockies Medical Center remains positioned to continue to the meet the health needs of our community while enhancing services.”
According to the press release, health care leaders say a key challenge for many rural hospitals is the ability to recruit and retain medical professionals while meeting the demands of an ever-changing industry. Relationships with larger medical centers provide “much needed expertise, support, and resources to help preserve rural hospital services.”
“Entering into more formal discussions with NRMC will provide an opportunity to further design a road map with a common vision for success,” KRH President and CEO Craig Lambrecht said in a statement. “In our meetings with the NRMC Board and the organization’s leaders, patients have always been at the forefront of our discussions in determining how to broaden access, enhance technology, and improve the health of the community. We couldn’t be more excited about the benefits of this potential partnership for the Glacier County community.”
Signing this letter of intent is the first step in a process that will take several months to complete. Both organizations will enter into a period of due diligence, negotiation and planning and expect the process to be complete in the fall. Once an agreement is reached, both hospital boards would be required to approve the agreement and associated timelines, according to the press release.