Last Updated on February 15, 2022 12:20 pm
Exploration signifies a commitment to expanding local services for the future of the region amid changing healthcare landscape
Boone, NC (February 15, 2022) – As part of its ongoing commitment to securing a healthy future for the region, the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) Board of Trustees announced today it is exploring a potential relationship with a like-minded, not-for-profit organization that would accelerate access to new technology and expand local healthcare services for the High Country.
“Our goal is to always do what’s best for the community and we know that meaningful relationships and a willingness to embrace innovative collaboration are often required to succeed,” says ARHS Board Chair Thomas Dale. “This decision comes on the heels of a robust strategic planning process and reflects the Board’s vision to deepen our primary care base, ensure accessibility, especially for our more vulnerable populations, and sustain and enhance the level of services we currently provide today.”
ARHS is in a position of strength, both clinically and financially, which allows for the exploration of a range of options from some of the most respected healthcare organizations in the region. The Board is not considering a merger, looking to change its not-for-profit status, be acquired by another health system, or relinquish its local governance structure or local leadership. It is looking for a relationship that could propel the organization forward in ways that would be difficult to accomplish alone.
To chart the right path forward, the ARHS Board of Trustees identified specific qualities of any potential relationship, including:
- A desire to support ARHS’s vision of serving the community with ongoing investments in services, technology, equipment and facilities.
- Experience with rural healthcare and firsthand knowledge of the unique attributes of serving rural communities.
- Technology infrastructure expertise that would allow information technology and electronic health record (EHR) systems to interface with each other and transform ARHS’s technology into a state-of-the-art IT platform.
“We’re focused on providing quality care close to home and value our ability to remain an independent, not-for-profit health system. This is the High-Country way, but we also recognize that a relationship with a like-minded organization could accelerate growth in ways we simply cannot achieve alone,” explains ARHS CEO Chuck Mantooth.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR PATIENTS AND THE COMMUNITY
Nothing changes today as we are still exploring options. Even if we decide to have a relationship with another organization, patients can continue to see their doctor, the same friendly and caring team members and access the services and clinics as they always have.
Some of the benefits of a potential relationship include:
- Greater access to capital resources. A relationship with a larger organization can provide smaller health systems like ARHS the ability to purchase large capital items at a reduced cost because the larger organization has contracts, services and technologies in place.
- Technology advancements. A high priority need for ARHS is access to a fully-integrated Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that creates a single medical record for patients everywhere they receive care within the health system, which is not something we can access or execute alone. We need assistance with implementing a world-class EHR that enables patients to use one portal for all their health care needs and allows them to take a more active role in their care.
- Expanded services. Relationships also increase ARHS’s ability to bring in new subspecialty services to the region which means patients don’t have to travel out of the area for care.
“Today’s announcement marks a promising next step as we look forward to ensuring quality healthcare services for generations to come,” says Mantooth. “As we move through this process it is important to remember that our number one focus is on providing exceptional care for our patients.”