DCH Signs New Management Agreement

St. Vincent will take over management of the Daviess Community Hospital next month. The hospital and the company announced the approval of a three-year agreement on Thursday. The agreement calls for St. Vincent to provide DCH with both a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer.

It goes into effect April 10.

"The contract with the current management provider (Quorum Health) was coming due and we decided to look around," said Chairman of the Daviess County Hospital Board Deron Steiner. "In the end, St. Vincent's made us the most compelling offer. We have been involved in a clinical collaboration with some of their physicians since 2015. They are located just down the road in Evansville and it seemed like a natural fit."

"We spent five months doing interviews," said Nathan Gabhart, who was on the committee that worked on the contract. "We will pay them a management fee and the salaries of the CEO and CFO. We feel they will be able to bring us better resources. The fee will be less than what we were paying, but that really wasn't a factor in our decision. Their ability and skill set is why we hired them."

David Bixler, who has been the DCH CEO for the last several years under Quorum. will be leaving the job in Washington.

"We want to thank David for his service," said Gabhart. "This was not about him. Just after 20 years with the same company, we felt it was time to shake things up."

Tracy Conroy has accepted the position as the new CEO. She most recently served as director of operations for Tri State Community Clinics. Prior to that she was director of clinical services for The Village at Hamilton Pointe and also served as CEO of Select Specialty Hospital for 11 years.

Mandy Rodewald will serve as Interim CFO in April. Rodewald currently serves as Controller and Director of Accounting for Daviess Community Hospital. Prior to joining DCH in 2013 Mandy served in various finance roles at St. Mary's Health which now goes by the name St. Vincent.

St. Mary's out of Evansville and St. Vincent out of Indianapolis joined together several years ago and are now in the process of uniting under the name of St. Vincent. They are part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the United States, and the world's largest Catholic health system. It operates 2,500 sites, including 141 hospitals in 24 states. Twenty of those hospitals are operated in Indiana.

While St. Vincent will handle the day-to-day management of DCH, the hospital will remain under local control. The agreement does not involve the purchase of assets, and both systems will remain independent while working collaboratively with physicians, clinicians and other providers delivering care for Washington and the surrounding area.

"Our patients will not see any immediate change," said Steiner. "In the long term they will see more service and better service at a better cost and additional opportunities to see more specialized services. This is what they do. They run hospitals for a living. This should position DCH well for the future."

"From an external standpoint, everything will be the same," added Gabhart. "We will have the same structure and governance. This will just allow us to tap into the expertise and enthusiasm St. Vincent has for health care."

For St. Vincent, the agreement is an extension of a relationship that has been building for several years.

"This new management agreement continues to strengthen our commitment to providing local access and exceptional care to Daviess County," said Dan Parod, interim president of St. Vincent Evansville. "St. Vincent and Daviess Community Hospital continue to work together to seek innovations in care, improve quality and provide greater access to the services Daviess County residents tell us they need."

For Daviess County officials the agreement is about looking out for the future of health care in the community.

"Our goal is to have an open and independent Daviess Community Hospital forever," said Gabhart. "This agreement allows us to move onto the next generation to accomplish that."

"The DCH Board of Governors continuously looks for ways to improve our community's access to the highest quality healthcare and to ensure our staff has all the resources they need to provide the best care possible," added Steiner. "By working more closely with the St. Vincent organization, DCH will be very well prepared to do both."

St. Vincent officials started having meetings with staff at DCH on Thursday to help both sides become more familiar with each other in the future.

*Article written by Mike Grant and provided by the Washington Times Herald. Visit their website at www.washtimesherald.com for more articles!