Open communication with RRHS affiliation
The Board and Leadership of Rutherford Regional Health System remains committed to transparency and communication of timely information with regard to our pending affiliation with Mission Health.
Some elements of our current negotiations are deemed confidential. However, when possible we will share as much information as we can and answer questions that may be lingering when we know what those questions are, like those raised in the Jan. 27 editorial in The Daily Courier. Among those questions were:
• Who will appoint members of the RRHS Board of Trustees? The composition of the RRHS Board of Trustees will have 80 percent of board members coming from the local community. Because community representatives will hold a majority on the local board, the community will have a continuing voice in the operation of RRHS. The members will be appointed as in years past, with nominations and approvals vetted by the current board.
• Who will have the final decision on the hiring and firing of RRHS management? Director-level management positions will continue to be appointed by the executive team member to whom those positions answer. Executive team appointments will be approved by Rutherford Regional’s Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer of RRHS will be jointly approved by the RRHS Board of Trustees and Mission.
• Who will control the hospital's annual operating and capital improvement budgets? Rutherford Regional will be accountable to its Board of Trustees for the operating and capital budgets. RRHS administrators will also work closely with Mission leadership in Asheville on a regular basis to monitor and evaluate budgets so that overall financial objectives are met.
• Will there be a transfer of ownership of RRHS physical and financial assets to Mission? We remain in negotiations with Mission about specifics relating to assets. The final definitive agreement will contain details about where monies and other assets will eventually reside and be managed. We do know that subject to the terms of the MOU and final agreements, accrued cash and reserves on the RRHS balance sheet will be placed in a reserve account dedicated to improving the health and wellness of those living with the RRHS service area. Community representatives to the RRHS board will make decisions about how those funds will be utilized.
• Will the local board retain control over the credentialing and hiring of the medical staff? The RRHS Board will have responsibility for medical staff recruitment and credentialing. There will be a joint planning process that will not only analyze opportunities for service enhancement and development, but will identify areas where additional physician resources might be needed as well.
• Will the hospital staff be employees of RRHS or Mission? At this time, it has been agreed that, with the exception of the CEO, all RRHS employees in good standing at the time of closing will remain RRHS employees and the RRHS CEO will become an employee of Mission Health. As partners, RRHS and Mission Health are both committed to providing an outstanding work environment that values employees and allows them to focus their talents on providing the local community with excellent and safe healthcare.
It’s important to state again that the RRHS Board feels the proposed affiliation with Mission Health meets and exceeds its expectations for a potential partner, which includes the need for the partner to: protect employees, strengthen quality of care, improve financial viability and access to capital, improve collaboration within the medical community, and support the local economy.
As we proceed through this exciting process please know that the RRHS Board of Trustees continues its commitment to open communication and full dialogue with employees, physicians, and the community at large during all stages of this affiliation process. We understand that there will be an ongoing need to answer questions and concerns as they arise in the coming weeks and months and we are committed to do so to the best of our ability.
Cindy Buck is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rutherford Regional Health System