by Joan Tupponce
Rappahannock General Hospital in Kilmarnock and Bon Secours Virginia Health System are in discussions that may lead to an affiliation agreement.
“We have had a longstanding relationship with Bon Secours in a number of areas, and this agreement will allow formal exploration of how we can enhance medical services to our community,” says Jim Holmes, Rappahannock’s CEO.
Bon Secours looks at affiliation as a clinical collaboration. “We would support them with tertiary activities,” says Peter J. Bernard, CEO of Richmond-based Bon Secours. (Tertiary care is treatment given in a health-care center that includes specialists and advanced technology.)
“We would keep as much health care local as possible.”
Rappahannock General Hospital is a 76-bed independent, community-owned, nonprofit facility serving the Northern Neck. It currently lacks obstetric care, neonatology support services and a cardiac program. Under an affiliation agreement, patients who need those services would be transported to a Bon Secours hospital. The nonprofit Bon Secours health system has four hospitals in the Richmond area and three in the Hampton Roads region.
“We already provide medical oncology services [to Rappahannock], and we are helping them with certifying their stroke rehabilitation center,” Bernard says. “There has been good synergy between Rappahannock and Bon Secours for the last 20 years. One of the reasons we have come together is that our mission complements theirs.”
Bon Secours officials say they will work with Rappahannock to strengthen some existing services, ensuring that the Northern Neck community is provided the appropriate type of care. “For example, we are giving them some additional guidance around emergency medical care coordination,” Bernard says, adding that Bon Secours will also offer support for electronic medical records.
Under an affiliation agreement, Rappahannock would continue to operate as an independent hospital, one of only 12 remaining in Virginia. Final discussions could be completed by early summer. Combining expanded services with independent status could make an affiliation with Bon Secours a “perfect partnership,” says Holmes.
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