Ownership changes everything else remains the same

Corydon, September 25, 2012: The name won’t change, the purpose is the same. Residents at Murphy Place and Elgin Independent Living will find the same comfortable surroundings from one day to the next. Those visiting Prairie Trails Dental Clinic will not notice a difference.

Services at those three entities, which for years have been a part of the Wayne County Hospital organization, will continue just as they have, under the umbrella of a new organization called Patronus. Patronus is a 501(c)(3) organization, formed solely to support Wayne County Hospital and continue to serve the community. It will be governed by its own volunteer board of directors, individuals who are connected to the local community. The WCH board approved a resolution at their Sept. 17 meeting to proceed with transferring ownership of certain hospital-owned services to Patronus.

On Oct. 31, ownership of Murphy Place, Elgin Housing and Prairie Trails Dental will transfer to Patronus, and WCH Administrator Daren Relph expects a seamless transition. Years of study and planning, with expert legal advice, have gone into forming the new organization.

Although it would take pages to explain why the hospital administration and board chose this avenue, it can be summed up this way:
WCH is a Critical Access Hospital, and receives additional Medicare reimbursement only for hospital services. When the hospital owns non-hospital services such as the apartments, assisted living and dental clinic, it actually causes some of the Medicare reimbursement to be reduced, creating a huge negative impact on the hospital’s finances.

Relph said many hospitals are simply selling their non-hospital services.
“I was adamant that we wouldn’t do that. I didn’t want to be selling to a private equity firm in New York,” Relph said.

The initial Patronus board members are Keith Helseth, Jeff Ewing and Darrell Cook. The person serving as hospital CEO will always have an advisory position.
“Patronus will continue with the same level of careful leadership committed to providing these essential community services,” Relph said. “As a not-for-profit organization, Patronus will work in partnership with the hospital, adding stability to hospital operations as it continues its mission of providing healthcare to the community for years to come.”

Why the name Patronus? It’s Latin for Protector, and gives a sense of what the intention is for this new organization. Protecting the people, protecting the hospital, providing the best service all around. And Murphy Place, Elgin Independent Housing and Prairie Trails Dental Clinic will still serving the community just the same as they always have.
Reported by Willa Clark, Times-Republican Reporter