By Caitlyn Mahlum, News Editor for Advocate Tribune
The Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Board made a motion this week to agree to enter into formal discussions with ACMC. Planning to focus on the future of ACMC and Granite Falls, the motion to move into the formal discussions was approved on Monday, October 10, at a special hospital board meeting.
The plan is, as indicated by the motion, for the Granite Falls Hospital and ACMC to enter a period designated for formal discussion. CEO of the Granite Falls Hospital Tom Kooiman stated that he intends to arrange a meeting with ACMC after notifying them of the Board’s agreement and intent to enter discussions as soon as possible, which he hopes to do as early as this week.
Before the Hospital Board agreed to enter into good faith, formal discussions with ACMC, the board first inspected, modified, and approved a set of proposed ground rules and criteria for the discussions. These criteria were sent via email by ACMC Administrator Steve Gerberding to Kooiman and were presented publically to the board and visitors from the community during the special board meeting. The criteria inspected by the board included:
- A 90-day timeframe does not start until the first meeting.
- That it is agreed upon upfront on a basic set of goals and objectives for the talks.
- That an outside facilitator be engaged to conduct the meetings; both organizations are to suggest a facilitator, hold common interviews, and agree on the selection of the induvial/firm to perform the facilitator role.
- No public statement to be made by either party during the 90 day discussion period, unless a written statement is issued that is vetted and agreed to in writing by both parties.
- Kooiman and at least two Granite Falls Hospital Board members are to participate in the formal meetings.
The Granite Falls Hospital board was in favor of the majority of the the criteria except for the one stating that negotations were to go on for a 90 day period, starting with the first meeting between ACMC and the Hospital. The Board decided to aim for a potential deadline for the discussions to end at December 2 instead as a part of its criteria, citing concerns of wanting to get the ball rolling quicker.
The need for formal discussions came about after the Board had previously declared its intent of possibly creating a provider based, hospital owned clinic in the future. ACMC has been operating out of the Granite Municipal Hospital’s clinic space since the early 1990’s.
In a press release sent to the Advocate Tribune in late August, Kooiman stated that, “We are not interested in grabbing ACMC’s market share, but regaining the market share that has left our community…We are only capturing 39% of our market share; we want to keep local services local. Our goal is to have a market share of 80%. We believe the hiring of additional providers, particularly female, will assist the hospital in achieving this goal.”