Fremont Health has opted to move ahead on an affiliation agreement with Omaha-based Nebraska Methodist Health System.
The board of trustees of the health system in the Fremont area, who are appointed by the Dodge County Board, voted Monday to proceed with “strategic partnership discussions” with Methodist, which had been one of three health systems under consideration.
The two others were Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine and RCCH Healthcare Partners. RCCH, according to its website, is based in Brentwood, Tennessee, and is made up of 16 regional health systems in 12 states.
Fremont Health established objectives for a possible strategic partnership with a larger health system last summer. Among them were a continued focus on improving community health and retaining significant local board input into the system’s governance.
The move comes amid a number of proposed mergers and realignments in the health care sector, both nationally and locally. In December, Catholic Health Initiatives of Denver, parent of CHI Health in Nebraska and Iowa, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health announced plans to merge and relocate their combined headquarters to Chicago. Last week, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced plans to create a nonprofit company to look for ways to address health care for their U.S. employees.
Neither Fremont Health nor Methodist officials specified what a strategic partnership between the two ultimately might look like.
Patrick Booth, Fremont Health’s president and CEO, said in a statement that leaders from both organizations will work together over the next several months to further refine the strategic partnership and craft necessary agreements.
Once a strategic partnership agreement is complete, he said, it will require approval of the board of trustees and the Dodge County Board. Fremont Health is considered a political subdivision of the county, although it is not financially supported by it.
Fremont Health includes Fremont Health Medical Center, an 81-bed hospital in Fremont, a number of primary and specialty care clinics in the area and a long-term care facility.
Steve Goeser, Methodist’s president and CEO, said in a statement that he looks forward to working with Fremont Health leadership in the coming months and exploring how they can further partner to enhance the health and well-being of citizens in and around Dodge County.