Bellville Hospital District (BHD) Board is pleased to announce that they have entered into a long term management agreement with ERH II, LLC, a Utah limited liability corporation who specializes in managing rural hospitals.
This announcement follows a thorough due diligence and a rigorous review process that began in July 2018.
The contract agreement begins a multi-year partnership to not only continue clinical care in Austin County, but also increase Primary Care options and specialty services through the implementation of a comprehensive strategy of growth.
“The Hospital District Board is pleased to work with ERH and looks forward to drawing on the experience, expertise, and success their team brings to Bellville. The Board sees returning our Hospital to an independent, locally operated facility with a strong growth strategy as what is best for Bellville,” states Tony Causey, president of the Hospital District Board.
ERH is engaged in the leasing, managing, and ownership of select acute care hospitals. They are focused on helping distressed and underperforming hospitals in turnaround situations that require a unique blend of strategic, operations and financial experience. Currently they manage operations of 5 hospitals in Utah, Nevada and Georgia. The principals of ERH have over 100 years of diverse healthcare management experience.
“We are excited to be involved with the Hospital District and community of Bellville. Our specialty is working with rural hospitals. Residents who choose to live in rural America deserve to have health care close to their home. We are very impressed with the work and dedication of the District Board.” said Kirk Olsen, partner at ERH.
On Feb. 5, CHI St. Joseph Health (CHISJ) announced that it would be terminating its five-year lease agreement with the Bellville Hospital District. Operational control of the hospital and clinical spaces will return to the BHD Board control on May 6, 2019. Until that time, a period of transition will continue that will be managed by ERH.
Over the next two months, ERH will oversee the transition of hospital services from CHI, who retains control until May 6. This will include negotiating the numerous contracts required to operate the hospital, staffing the hospital to keep all services, including re-opening surgery, open. ERH will work over the next several weeks to provide contracts to the staff that will start May 7.
In addition to the regaining control of the Hospital, the BHD Board will regain the leasing of professional offices and spaces.
This includes Dr. Gay’s and Dr. Bosse’s offices, the Baylor Scott & White Clinic, and Walter’s Pharmacy. These offices will remain open and continue to provide quality health care services and are not connected to the termination of the agreement with CHI.
Dr. Bosse, the director of medicine for SJH Bellville Hospital, has been working with the BHD Board to identify new services and new doctors who are looking to return to the area in May. He is extremely excited for the future prospects at the hospital.
Board president Tony Causey has been making the rounds talking to key leadership in the District about the future of the Hospital. Without exception, both leaders and citizens not only understand the importance of the Hospital and local quality healthcare, but also fully support efforts to continue to provide services in a very difficult rural healthcare market.
County Judge Tim Lapham has been engaged and is very supportive of efforts on behalf of the hospital. Lapham said,
“I look forward to working with the Bellville Hospital along with Austin County EMS to ensure the continued operation of a hospital in Bellville,” he said. “Having medical in the community is vital to the residents of Austin County.”
Bellville City Council has rallied behind Causey and the board as well.
"It is encouraging to hear of the progress being made to continue operation of our local hospital,” said Mayor Joe Ed Lynn. “The hospital, our school system and the people who live here have always been the "heartbeat" of the community. No doubt saving the hospital is going to be a battle as most rural hospitals are facing the same dilemma, but it is going to be a battle well worth fighting. True enough we are within close proximity to some of the best medical facilities in the world, however, there are going to continue to be those day to day issues that are best served on a local basis. If the hospital is no longer here the laboratory and pharmacy may leave as well, which would create an inconvenience at the very least. The community has always supported the efforts to improve and keep the hospital, now is a time to keep our eyes and ears open to opportunities to support the efforts of this group working to save our hospital. "
Juanita Romans, founder of The Romans Group and Austin County resident, has agreed to serve as CEO at the hospital for ERH initially.
Romans has a proven track record of growth and clinical experience as well as having served as CEO of Memorial Herman Hospital in The Texas Medical Center for 10 years. Her administrative and strategic vision always encompasses clinical best practices. She views physician recruitment as essential to growth for community healthcare
“I’m thrilled to be part of the hospital team to create a new perspective of the Bellville Hospital, one that will actively engage in the community and meet the medical needs of the people in Bellville and the surrounding communities,” Romans said. “Having quality healthcare close to you is comforting. We are blessed to have a local hospital to provide for primary healthcare needs, and further blessed that we have hospitals an hour away that can provide diagnostics and care for more complicated medical problems. Bellville Hospital has all of the necessary technology and staff to provide high quality primary care plus offers emergency service 24 hours a day, capable of diagnosing and treating medical conditions.
Continued and increasing quality healthcare provided right in town, by Bellville staff professionally and personally caring for family and friends, is the goal of the Hospital District Board and their new management team, ERH.