Breckenridge Texan

Stephens Memorial Hospital partners with Hendrick Health System for specialty services

Stephens Memorial Hospital partners with Hendrick Health System for specialty services
July 02
09:39 2020

Beneath a shade tree in front of Stephens Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon, hospital officials signed an affiliation agreement with Hendrick Health System of Abilene to strengthen local healthcare services.

Stephens Memorial Hospital will remain an independent entity, but the new partnership will increase access and allow the local hospital to access healthcare specialties, education, training and the knowledge and experience found in a larger healthcare system. SMH has had access to Hendrick’s expertise on a more informal basis, and this agreement makes the affiliation official.

“This is a formality to an informal relationship that the two organizations have had for decades,” said Brad Holland, president and CEO for Hendrick Health System. “This is an exciting day for Hendrick, to just formalize a partnership that really may not need any formalization, but we also think it’s a good way to demonstrate our partnership and look forward to growing it even more so in the future.

“With many hospitals across the nation, you’re seeing challenging times, and often times hospitals can come together with mergers and acquisitions, but for fiercely independent organizations like the two here, Stephens Memorial Hospital and Hendrick Health System, we just want to partner, instead of merge,” Holland said. “We can still receive the benefits, but we can also keep our independence.”

Doug Smith, Chief Financial Officer and Interim CEO for Stephens Memorial Hospital, said SMH is excited about the affiliation. “Our mission and vision statements are perfectly aligned with Hendrick’s own statements,” he said. “We look forward too many years of collaboration and providing the best possible care for our patients.”

SMH has reached out to Hendrick in the past for advice on procedures they use.

Brad Holland, president and CEO of Hendrick Health Services of Abilene, and Dr. Tom Echols, president of the Stephens Memorial Hospital District Board of Directors, shake hands after signing an agreement between the hospitals. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texas)

“We’ve had an excellent relationship with Hendrick; this just formalizes what we currently have,” Smith said. “We have the opportunity to access all of Hendrick’s policies and procedures. We’ll also be able to potentially send nurses or health care workers over there to learn from them. Also, we’ll have the opportunity to access all their educational materials; when they hold an education class over there, we’ll be able to access that at no costs.”

Hendrick Health System’s support of rural healthcare and the alliance with SMH will help ensure that healthcare remains accessible in the region, while expanding access to services and expertise from Hendrick providers, according to a news release. The Breckenridge community already benefits from local access to several Hendrick outreach specialty clinics, including cardiology, orthopedics, hematology, oncology and nephrology. As community health needs are assessed, additional specialties will be added.

“We believe at Hendrick we have more bench strength and more service offerings, depth of services that they don’t have here in Breckenridge,” Holland said. “They can call us anytime and access our services and bench strength, and we yield that to the partnership.”

Holland said Hendrick recognizes that, as a regional provider of health care, they need a strong region. “We need Stephens Memorial Hospital to remain vibrant and strong and be part of what we call our virtual health care system, or our virtual network,” he said. “What’s in it for us is being a leader of our eastern virtual network. And that’s a great partnership need for us as well.”

Larry Smith, Chairman of the Board for Hendrick Health Care, said combining resources is an advantage to not only the hospitals, but to the patients as well.

“We see this as an opportunity to join with Breckenridge to meet the needs of this community, because it’s always better for somebody to stay home and be local for their treatments,” Larry Smith said. “So, hopefully this will enable Breckenridge down that course and it will be an opportunity for us to provide additional services in the area for the community of Breckenridge.”

The affiliation with Hendrick is effective immediately.

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Brad Holland, president and CEO of Hendrick Health Services of Abilene, and Dr. Tom Echols, president of the Stephens Memorial Hospital District Board of Directors, sign an agreement between Stephens Memorial Hospital and Hendrick Health Services on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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