Letter to the editor: Hospital grateful, adds clarification
We've received many positive comments from the community about our recent name change to Perham Health. We've also received even more comments surrounding the excitement people have for our new hospital, which will open in January with a communit...
We've received many positive comments from the community about our recent name change to Perham Health. We've also received even more comments surrounding the excitement people have for our new hospital, which will open in January with a community open house on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011.
One comment I have heard that needs clarification is about our relationship with Sanford. Some have come to believe that Perham Health is now owned by Sanford. I want to assure everyone that the community continues to own the hospital and we continue to be managed by Sanford (formerly MeritCare) as we have been for the past 26 years.
In 1985, the community reached out to St. Luke's Hospital (later to become MeritCare, now Sanford) for assistance when the hospital was in tough financial shape. That led to a management contract where the CEO is employed by Sanford and the hospital receives other administrative support. This structure has been very beneficial for the hospital and we have become a high quality and financially strong organization. While the relationship between Perham Health and Sanford has become closer over the years, it hasn't changed the fact that the entire operation is owned by the Perham Hospital District, which is comprised of the cities of Perham, Dent, and Richville, and 10 surrounding townships.
In selecting our new name, Perham Health, we conducted a number of focus groups with members from all the communities we serve, including an all day retreat attended by 40 community people. One of the key messages we heard very clearly from this group, was that the hospital wasn't taking full advantage of its ties to Sanford. It was stated that it is very comforting to know that the hospital has the resources and talents of a large system behind it for education, training, and support, as well as to meet needs when the patient's illness exceeds what we can do locally.
We also heard from the newer members of our communities that moved from areas of the state with large healthcare systems, how comforting it is for them that they could move to a rural area and still be tied to a large health system. For others, they liked knowing that the electronic medical record in their local clinic is tied to the larger system when they need care in or when they see a specialist in Fargo, and that their local physicians have access to that information.
With all of this in mind, the overwhelming recommendation of our community members was that we co-brand with Sanford. To clarify, Sanford is not in our name, Perham Health, but it is part of our logo that is seen on our signs. We want to convey our local support and history with the name Perham Health and the strong tie to a quality healthcare system, and believe with Sanford as part of our logo, we accomplish this. I think the sudden appearance of the word Sanford has led some people to incorrectly believe we have changed ownership.
A second concern brought to our attention from our patients in New York Mills and Ottertail, is the lack of the community name in the new signs on these two clinics. This was an oversight and will soon be corrected. The signs will read Perham Health - New York Mills Clinic and Perham Health - Ottertail Clinic, respectively. We appreciate that people caught this error early so we can get it corrected.
I hope this clears up any confusion with our name. We all look forward to celebrating with the community at our grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration on Sunday, Dec. 11.