(HELENA) St. Peter’s Health in Helena and Broadwater Health Center in Townsend announced this week that they are looking into a formal affiliation.
The two organizations have signed a letter of intent. They have agreed to go through a 90-day “due diligence” period, during which they will develop a more specific transition plan.
“We feel at St. Peter’s that there is an importance for care to continue in that community, and we’ve been very pleased with the conversations that we have had with Broadwater Health Center and our ability to partner together to meet those needs,” said St. Peter’s CEO Wade Johnson. “So we hope to see that expand and grow, and to ensure that people can get local access to care.”
Leaders say Broadwater Health Center has been facing financial challenges for several years, due to issues like rising health care costs, decreases in reimbursement and needs for facility improvements. BHC contacted St. Peter’s to ask about a possible partnership.
Johnson said St. Peter’s and BHC share compatible cultures, and they both have an interest in seeing strong health care in the Townsend area. He said people in Broadwater County often come to Helena already when they need higher-level care.
“We have a vested interest in those patients and in that community and the health and well-being of that community,” he said.
Johnson said he believes St. Peter’s can help invest in BHC’s infrastructure, and ensure more stability and consistent access to care. He said they have not yet decided what form the affiliation will officially take.
“Whether or not they come under the St. Peter’s umbrella or what that might look like specifically is yet to be determined,” he said. “I will say that I think both organizations have been working together very, very well, and I think working together, we’ll come up with a great solution for the future.”
In the summer – after the due diligence period ends – St. Peter’s and BHC will present a framework for their partnership to their respective boards of directors. Johnson said they will have a better idea then of when any specific changes could happen.
Broadwater Health Center has about 100 full- and part-time employees, and an annual budget of more than $7 million. Leaders say it serves more than 1,000 emergency room patients each year.