Rural hospitals across the country are closing at staggering rates. Unlike urban areas, rural hospitals often offer the only primary healthcare in the community. When rural hospitals lose their capacity to sustain treatment programming or close, it impacts the health of its residents and the economy of the area. People have to travel further for care, healthcare jobs are no longer local, and rural communities lose their vibrancy.
A group of rural hospitals on the Eastern Plains of Colorado refused to let that become their reality. The cost of care has skyrocketed for patients, but also for healthcare providers. Each year it has become more difficult for rural hospitals and clinics to stay financially stable. The Eastern Plains Health Consortium chose to do something about this problem, and the solution required a regional cooperative.
The Consortium consists of eight hospitals including Haxtun Hospital District, Haxtun; Keefe Memorial Hospital, Cheyenne Wells; Kit Carson County Health Service District, Burlington; Lincoln Community Hospital, Hugo; Melissa Memorial Hospital, Holyoke; Sedgwick County Health Center, Julesburg; Weisbrod Memorial County Hospital, Eads; and Yuma District Hospital and Clinics, Yuma. After careful consideration and review of several proposals from health systems, the Consortium is excited to welcome Banner Health as the initial health system member.
“While all of us continue to have great working relationships with many of the big systems, we are excited to have the insight and access to resources that Banner brings to the table”, said Trampas Hutches, Chairman.
The goal of the Consortium is to share resources while continuing to maintain the independence of each community’s hospital. To do this, they are sharing resources such as staff and supplies, while also working with state and federal policymakers to create policy that makes sense for the Eastern Plains. The nonprofit’s board of directors is made of one representative from each member, where all voices are equal toward the Consortium’s direction.
Melissa Bosworth, Eastern Plains Health Consortium Executive Director, said, “to maintain the autonomy of Eastern Plains community hospitals, we must work together. Rural communities are self-reliant, and we are using this to create regional solutions that last.”
Eastern Plains Health Consortium
Through our collective power and partnerships, we are revolutionizing rural healthcare to promote healthy hospitals that will serve their communities in perpetuity.
Our members will have meaningful and gainful alliances with one another, allowing them to serve their communities for endless generations.