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Southeast Missouri Hospital and Ripley County Memorial Hospital consider affiliation

Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2010, at 3:48 PM

Ripley County and Ripley County Memorial Hospital in Doniphan, Mo., are exploring the possibility of entering into an affiliation with Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau. This announcement was made at a press conference held today in Doniphan.

Southeast Hospital has paid a $350,000 rent deposit to Ripley County Memorial Hospital.

The exact form of this new partnership will depend on the results of a feasibility study being conducted by the hospitals over the next two months, according to a news release issued today by Southeast Missouri Hospital.

The study will include a comprehensive financial and statistical examination, an environmental assessment, review of assets and equipment, and analysis of existing contracts and other obligations.

While these studies are completed, the organizational structure at Ripley County Memorial will be unchanged.

Ripley County Memorial opened in 1960 and has 30 beds, currently employing three doctors, two nurse practitioners and 125 total staff.

In addition to operating the hospital, Ripley Memorial also operates a home health agency and a rural health clinic.

U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson took part in the press conference today.

"It's important to make access to care readily available for the thousands of Ripley County residents who rely on Ripley County Memorial Hospital and its dedicated staff," said Southeast Missouri Hospital President and CEO Debbie Linnes. "An affiliation with Ripley County Memorial is consistent with our strategy as a regional health system."

This new relationship solidifies Southeast Missouri Hospital's commitment to working in cooperation and coordination with healthcare providers throughout our service area, Linnes said. It will streamline access to specialties currently not available at hospitals located in nearby Poplar Bluff, such as neurosurgery and neonatology, both of which are available at Southeast Missouri Hospital, she added.

As the due diligence process proceeds, Linnes said Southeast Missouri Hospital is looking forward to having an open dialog with citizens of Ripley County about their vision for the new partnership and Ripley County Memorial.

Ripley County Memorial Board of Trustees President Jerry Cole said it's clear that the hospital cannot compete as a single entity.

"We must partner with a regionally recognized organization with a demonstrated commitment to quality care. Ripley County Memorial's future lies in partnership with a strong regional health system, and we see Southeast Missouri Hospital as that choice in our region." he said.

At its meeting on July 28, the Ripley County Commission unanimously endorsed the concept of Ripley County Memorial Hospital exploring an affiliation with Southeast Missouri Hospital.

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Melissa Miller is business editor at The Southeast Missourian. A graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School, she's worked as a reporter, photographer, editor and as the executive director of two not-for-profit organizations. After living in Michigan and then Indiana, she moved back to her hometown of Jackson, Mo. In addition to writing daily stories for The Southeast Missourian, Melissa coordinates editorial content each month for Business Today. Business Today is a monthly publication for southeast Missouri's business community. Monthly themes include health care, agriculture, women in business, technology and more. Business Today is direct mailed to business owner and managers throughout southeast Missouri and southern Illinois. Follow her updates on local business developments at www.twitter.com/semissourianbiz or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MelissaMillerSoutheastMissourian

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