SWIMHC announces progress on partner transition



SWIMHC announces progress on partner transition

The Southwest Iowa Mental Health Center Board announced today that they unanimously approved pursuing a partnership with ZION Recovery Services and Heartland Family Service. The organizations will enter a period of exclusive talks through December 2017, with a goal of transferring employees to ZION Recovery Services the end of 2017 and a full acquisition of SWIMHC to be completed by July 1, 2018. The decision to proceed with ZION/Heartland as the preferred partner comes following exploratory meetings with multiple mental health entities in southwest Iowa.

“We are delighted to enter into this partnership process with ZION and Heartland,” said Marie Rourick, SWIMHC Board Chair. “Both organizations bring a lot of expertise in processes and managing the very challenging behavioral health reimbursement environment, which will complement the strengths of SWIMHC. Over the past two months, we have been exploring options that would be better equipped to stabilize SWIMHC with specialized expertise in behavioral health. The board is confident this is the right choice to ensure the longevity of outpatient mental health services in Atlantic.”

While an independent organization, SWIMHC has been closely aligned with Cass County Memorial Hospital for many years. The hospital and SWIMHC had a sharing agreement, which has allowed the staff to be employed by CCMH and contracted back to the SWIMHC. “With the dramatic changes in mental health over the last decade, we recognize the need for deeper expertise in electronic claims filing, MCO/payer contract negotiations, and strategic planning specific to behavioral health,” noted Brett Altman, CEO of Cass County Health System.

Rourick noted that the commitment of ZION and Heartland to continuing local outpatient mental health services was key to the board’s decision. “We looked at a number of potential partners,” she explained. “This pair had the most expertise, best systems already in place and most importantly, the commitment to continuing the long tradition of SWIMHC providing outstanding care for our community and beyond. We are very excited to move forward into this new partnership while not just maintaining, but enhancing the care we provide at SWIMHC.”

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