The Granite Falls City Council moved one step closer to finalizing the management agreement between Avera Health and Granite Falls Health. The Council unanimously passed a memorandum of understanding between the city and Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor which stipulates that “on January 1, 2020, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor will be acquired by Avera Marshall, a Minnesota nonprofit corporation and will be renamed Avera Granite Falls.”

The memorandum included important stipulations regarding Granite Health’s participation in the 340b Program. The new Avera Granite Falls will continue to participate in this program, which provides health care to low-income individuals who are neither entitled to benefits under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act nor eligible for assistance under the State plan of Title XIX.

Recognizing the significance of the decision, Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski remarked that “there is no bigger deal than what we’re going to do.”

Granite Falls Health CEO Tom Kooiman was on hand to answer questions. He described the agreement with Avera as a “pretty good deal.” Although the hospital will no longer be run by the city, Kooiman said that a large degree of local autonomy would be preserved by putting local representatives on the governing board and giving them veto power (6 of the 7 board members are required to override any veto).

He also described the financial path forward after the merger. “Like anything, it has to cash flow, which is the piece we have to figure out now,” Kooiman remarked.