Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, CVHC, St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics, SMH, and Kootenai Health have entered into a letter of intent to transfer ownership of the two critical access hospitals from Essentia Health to Kootenai Health. CVHC and SMH are owned and operated by Essentia Health, a non-profit health care system. Essentia Health’s other facilities are primarily located in Minnesota, Wisconsin and eastern North Dakota.

The Idaho hospitals provide outstanding patient care, however, because they are geographically remote from Essentia Health’s headquarters and other facilities, it is hard for them to collaborate and coordinate care across the Essentia Health System. In February 2019, with Essentia Health’s approval and support, CVHC and SMH issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a business relationship with a health system in closer proximity to north-central Idaho.

After careful consideration, Kootenai Health was selected to partner with CVHC and SMH. The three organizations will work together over the next several months to finalize the terms of the partnership, develop a transition plan, and seek their respective organizational boards’ approval.   Kootenai Health is committed to maintaining the catholic identity and supporting operations of SMH in a manner consistent with its Catholic tradition, including compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.  The target date for this transition is being finalized but is anticipated in early 2020.

Strong regional relationships are critical for rural hospitals to remain independent and survive. Isolation puts rural hospitals at risk of closing their doors and leaving their communities without the health care and employment opportunities they need. This partnership is intended to strengthen health care in north-central Idaho and help ensure ongoing, quality health care in these communities.

Although details have yet to be determined, the intent is for CVHC and SMH to retain their current structures, boards, and leadership. Through Kootenai Health, they will gain access to needed resources, best practices and the opportunity for physicians and clinical staff members to work with other providers to share information and discuss complex cases.

Kootenai Health already has a management agreement with Syringa Hospital in Grangeville, Idaho. This partnership with CVHC and SMH will allow additional collaboration and service enhancements for all three hospitals and clinics throughout the region.

More information on the proposed transition will be made available as plans develop.

About Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics:

Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics are award-winning critical access hospitals serving the health care needs of remote communities in north-central Idaho. Clearwater Valley Hospital is located in Orofino, Idaho. It has two clinics located in Orofino and Kooskia, one rural health clinic in Pierce and one physical therapy clinic located in Orofino.  St. Mary’s Hospital is located in Cottonwood, Idaho. It has five clinics located in Cottonwood, Grangeville, Kamiah, Craigmont and Nezperce, and three physical therapy clinics located in Cottonwood, Grangeville, and Kamiah. In addition to a deep commitment to deliver high-value, sustainable health care to their communities, CVHC and SMH strive to be the leaders in rural health care through continuous innovation. Their combined service area is 28,756 people over Clearwater, Idaho and Lewis, counties.  Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics are subsidiaries of Essentia Health, a non-profit, integrated health system serving patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho. To learn more, visit:

About Kootenai Health:

Kootenai Health provides comprehensive medical services to patients in northern Idaho and throughout the Inland Northwest. The main campus is located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and includes a 330-bed community-owned hospital. Kootenai is accredited by DNV and holds Magnet Designation for nursing excellence. Kootenai is regionally known for its programs in cardiac care, orthopedics, oncology, women’s and children’s services and behavioral health. Kootenai is a verified Trauma Center, a Center of Excellence for hip and knee replacement, a Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospital, and is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Kootenai Clinic is a network of more than 200 physicians and advanced practice providers working in 25 different specialties throughout Kootenai County and the Inland Northwest. To learn more visit:

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