CCM Health collaborates in forming River Valley Health Network

Mike Milbrandt
CCM Health has partnered with the health care facilities in Dawson, Madison, and Appleton to form River Valley Health Network.

In the interests of providing better service to patients throughout our area, CCM Health has partnered with Johnson Memorial Health Services, Appleton Area Health Services, and Madison Health Care Services to form the River Valley Health Network (RVHN), formerly known as the Lac qui Parle Health Network.

CCM Health CEO Brian Lovdahl explained: “The Lac qui Parle Health Network was a network of three health care facilities in Dawson, Appleton, and Madison who formed collaborate in the writing of grants and bringing programs to their respective facilities. They had some pretty large grants which they wrote and received as a network, ante they utilized this network to manage the grants.

“That’s the way it used to be, and now what we’re looking at doing with the addition of CCM Health is to find other ways to cooperate in bringing specialists to our area.”

The health care industry is in a state of rapid change and independent health care facilities are finding it tough to compete with large health care entities. The challenges are daunting to face alone. “We are all independent organizations, and we know that for us to remain independent, we have to cooperate,” said Lovdahl. “Our number one goal is to provide health care locally to our communities and be successful in doing so.”

Forming a collaborative health care network has its advantages. “We think that we are more powerful as a group and we can have those conversations with different specialists. We carry more weight as a group than if we pursued them as separate entities,” said Lovdahl.

“For the most part,” he continued, “all physicians want to be busy, and, if they know they can come to our area and work at four different sites, that makes it all the more attractive for them.”

According to Lovdahl, RVHN has already been speaking with different specialists about contracting with them to bring their services to RVHNs facilities. He said: “We’re really excited about the opportunity to form stronger relationships with these other organizations and work together to maintain our independence. Contracting with specialists will help us achieve that goal.”

Lovdahl made it clear that the independence of each organization was important in making the decision to form the collaborative network. “There are no ownership changes. We are all still independent organizations, but this is an opportunity for all of us to work together to bring much-needed services to our communities,” he said.

When Lovdahl became CEO of CCM Health two and a half years ago, one of his goals was to work together with our area’s independent health care services. “Forming a collaborative makes it easier for our independent facilities to compete against the system,” he said. “That’s what my driving force was. The hospital board, the city council, the county commissioners; we all have the goal of remaining independent. Forming a closer bond with these other entities will allow all of us to be competitive within the larger system.”

Above all, providing excellent care and services to RVHNs patients was the number one reason for forming the collaborative. Lovdahl said: “This is about keeping patients where they are rather than sending patients somewhere else for services. Rather than having, say, a patient sent to CCM Health for a certain surgery or procedure, a specialist would be contracted with all of us so they would be able to go where they are needed. our patients can stay in their communities to have their procedures done and not have to come to CCM Health. We want to make sure all these other organizations have the same access to services, and we want to provide them locally.”

RVHN held their first official board meeting two weeks ago, and CCM Health officially became a part of the River Valley Health Network. “The board of directors consists of the CEOs from all four facilities, along with one hospital board member from each of the facilities. So there are eight members on the board,” said Lovdahl.

The idea to have CCM Health take part in a collaborative network didn’t happen come about over night. Lovdahl said: “About a year and a half ago, CCM Health began having conversations about joining the Lac qui Parle Health Network. Ever since I came here, we’ve been seeking ways to collaborate with our other area independents. It is great to see this finally come to fruition.”