Today, the Skaggs Regional Medical Center Board of Directors and CoxHealth took the next step in the evolution of healthcare in the Tri-Lakes region by signing a letter of intent to form a strategic partnership. The letter is an agreement that offers a framework to bring the organizations together to build on the legacy of community-based care that is a hallmark of both hospitals.
Today’s action is a significant advancement of the process started in late January, when Skaggs’ Board of Directors issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a partner to ensure Skaggs will maintain jobs and continue to provide high quality care in Branson.
The letter of intent will allow the organizations to work closely together to explore the details of one another’s business practices. After this period called due diligence, the Skaggs Board of Directors will recommend a definitive agreement to the Skaggs Board of Trustees for approval, likely in the early fall.
“On behalf of the Skaggs Board of Directors and in support of the highest quality of care for our community, we had two very good potential partners. While the decision was difficult, we are pleased to announce our intent to move forward with CoxHealth,” says David Smith, chairman of the Skaggs Board of Directors. “We have all put hundreds of hours toward this effort and believe that we have found the partner that best meets our operational objectives and the needs of the Branson community. We also believe that CoxHealth provides the best fit for us, sharing our commitments to maintaining jobs and providing the highest quality of care. The Branson community is very familiar with the excellent services provided by CoxHealth and the board thanks the community, physicians and staff for their input throughout the process.”
“We are delighted and honored to have been selected by the Skaggs board, and as the Springfield area’s only locally-governed, not-for-profit health system, we’re pleased that Skaggs shares our values,” says Steve Edwards, CoxHealth president and CEO. “For more than a century CoxHealth has been dedicated to being the best for those who need us. We believe this partnership will allow us to combine our traditions of caring for the community, providing high-quality healthcare and investing in the health of our fellow Ozarkers in the Tri-Lakes region.”
Once a final agreement has been reached, various government agencies must also give approval, and the Missouri Attorney General will conduct a thorough review. This process could take several months.
The finalized partnership will provide significant independence to Skaggs while allowing the organizations to act as one entity for purchasing, contracting and other business-related matters. Skaggs will become a subsidiary of CoxHealth, but retain its board, current employees, management and medical staff. Skaggs will also retain its long-standing name.
“CoxHealth will keep Skaggs’ governance and dollars local, and the investment that we are making with this partnership will allow us to bolster the services available to the Branson Tri-Lakes region,” says Edwards. “We will expand services, facilities and the talent pool with a focus on ever improving the level of quality care provided.”
“Changes in healthcare are moving quickly and it is important we as physicians have the resources to provide our patients with the highest quality of care,” explains Dr. Robert Blackshear, Skaggs Chief of Staff. “We believe our partnership with CoxHealth will help us accomplish this mission as well as position us as the provider of choice in the Branson Tri-Lakes area. In addition we feel our CoxHealth partnership will help attract highly trained medical personnel to our area as well as provide needed equipment to deliver advanced medical care to our patients.”
CoxHealth’s proposal also includes a significant investment in Skaggs and the Branson Tri-Lakes community. Capital investments could include operating room and emergency department improvements, general refurbishment of facilities, technology upgrades and more. While these items will be a focus, it is a constant goal of all health care institutions to continuously improve care. This partnership will bring the breadth of CoxHealth’s resources to bear in Skaggs’s continuing pursuit of quality patient care.
“We believe our combined expertise and resources will make both of us stronger and better able to serve the Ozarks and adjust to the changing healthcare landscape,” says Edwards. “A partnership with Skaggs reflects our absolute commitment to the region and will provide a stable continuum of care for the people of the Branson Tri-Lakes region and throughout southwest Missouri.”
Despite the ruling by the Supreme Court today, Skaggs remains committed to providing quality healthcare to the area. “Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling today, important changes are underway in healthcare that have a profound impact on how hospitals operate,” explains William K. Mahoney, Skaggs CEO and President. “Like other community hospitals, we are developing new relationships to enhance how we operate and what we offer to the community. This partnership with CoxHealth allows us to maintain jobs and continue providing high quality care in Branson. As this next period of due diligence begins, we will continue to provide updates and Skaggs’ Board, management, employees and medical staff will continue to serve our patients every day with the same dedication and quality as we have for the past 62 years.”
Skaggs Regional Medical Center is a 165-licensed bed community-owned and supported healthcare facility dedicated to improving the health of all area residents. Skaggs holds the highest national accreditation available for medical facilities from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Skaggs has also earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for its advanced inpatient diabetes care and is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center through the Joint Commission on Accreditation.
CoxHealth is accredited by The Joint Commission and distinguished as one of the nation’s Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Systems (2006-2012). Established in 1906 and based in Springfield, Missouri, CoxHealth serves more than 1 million people in a 22-county service area in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Their comprehensive array of primary and specialty care includes four hospitals and more than 65 physician clinics in 20 communities. The health system includes Oxford HealthCare (a home health agency), Home Parenteral Services (home infusion therapy), CoxHealth Foundation, Cox College, Cox Family Medicine Residency Program and much more.