Headwaters High-Value Network to develop clinically integrated network and shared business services to enhance and sustain healthcare in rural communities

Rainy Lake Medical Center officials this week announced the organization is one of 19 rural hospitals in Minnesota launching a new alliance, called the Headwaters High-Value Network.

The centerpiece of the Headwaters collaboration is a clinically integrated network, or CIN, featuring 19 hospitals and more than 50 clinics that will provide coordinated care to more than 750,000 Minnesotans. The network also will set up operational collaborations designed to control costs and spread best practices among its members.

“I want to emphasize the word independent. RLMC remains an independent hospital that can focus on the needs of our local community and region, “said Robb Pastor. “We believe our participation in this network is another positive step in RLMC’s evolution. It will bring us significant benefits and put us on the same level as larger health systems when negotiating with payers and other stakeholders.”

Networks like the Headwaters HVN and the Rough Rider High-Value Network in North Dakota, are an innovative model for rural hospitals to band together to meet the mounting challenges of delivering healthcare in rural communities. The capabilities needed to thrive in healthcare today, such as controlling the rising costs of providing care and expanding care coordination, are enhanced with the economies of size and scale.

As the collaboration deepens among members, the Headwaters HVN will be a strong partner with payers on value-based insurance products that improve quality, reduce cost, and enhance patient and provider experience.

“While recognizing the role of larger health systems, RLMC wants to preserve our dedicated focus on serving the needs of patients and providers in our community,” Pastor said. “Headwaters High-Value Network is built on the belief that helping rural hospitals to remain independent is the best way to serve the healthcare needs of our community. The more we can work together, the better we can care for our patients and their families.”

Expanding collaboration, driving efficiencies

The Headwaters CIN will drive care coordination efforts and reduce administrative burdens for providers. The network includes a Clinical Integration Committee, or CIC, to oversee all clinical and quality initiatives. The committee includes one medical practitioner from each member hospital.

“Pooling the clinical know-how of our members through the Clinical Integration Committee ensures continued access to high-quality care that strengthens the vitality of rural communities,” said Dr. A. Clinton MacKinney, chief medical officer. “The CIC relieves some of the burden on physicians and gives them a supportive peer community, which will help our member hospitals recruit and retain clinicians.”

The Headwaters HVN also will provide member hospitals a menu of shared services that promote more efficient operations. The network is exploring shared solutions in population health platform, data analytics, care management solutions and other areas.

“Everyone involved with Headwaters has a great sense of collaboration, a high ‘collaborative IQ,’ that will help us sustain independent hospitals for the long term,” said Ken Westman, chair of the Headwaters board and CEO of Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Minn.. “We understand that working together works for our communities.”

About Rainy Lake Medical Center

Rainy Lake Medical Center stands at the forefront of delivering exceptional medical services to the Borderland communities. With a comprehensive range of offerings, including emergency care, surgery, cardiology rehab and diagnostics, chemo and infusion therapy, family medicine clinics, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, therapy services, sleep studies, laboratory services, respiratory therapy, and orthopedics, RLMC continues to excel in providing compassionate care for all. RLMC is also dedicated to offering both acute and skilled nursing services through its swing bed care program. For more information about RLMC, visit: rainylakemedical.com.

About Headwaters

Headwaters High-Value Network enables rural healthcare providers to collaborate on clinical and operational initiatives, ensuring the availability, affordability and quality of care in rural communities. The Headwaters clinically integrated network is driving innovative efforts to change the face of rural healthcare for a population of more than 750,000 Minnesotans. Headwaters encompasses 19 hospitals and more than 50 clinics. For more, visit headwatersnetwork.org.