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Group of 23 rural providers in North Dakota team up to form care network

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 19, 2023
Business Affairs
The Rough Rider High-Value Network consists of 23 independent rural healthcare providers in North Dakota. (Photo courtesy of the Rough Rider High-Value Network)
Twenty-three independent critical care hospitals in North Dakota have banded together to help one another coordinate and improve access to care in the rural communities they each serve, calling their collaboration the Rough Rider High-Value Network.

Caring for more than 225,000 patients, the rural clinically integrated network (CIN) of hospitals will invest in medical advances and tactics for controlling rising costs, and form new specialty programs, such as in surgery, ophthalmology, obstetrics, and mental health, that each lack the size and scale to do on their own.

This includes a menu of shared services, as well as best practices, for more efficient operations, and developing ways to streamline measuring quality and reduce administrative burdens. The CIN will also partner with payers on value-based insurance products to improve quality, reduce costs, and enhance patient and provider experiences.

“By coming together in the Rough Rider HVN, member hospitals gain the benefits of clinical and operational scale they need to meet the increasing challenges of delivering healthcare in rural communities, while maintaining their ability to tailor decisions to the needs of their local communities,” said Alfred Sams, president and CEO at St. Andrew's Health Center, in Bottineau, in a statement.

Sams will serve as president of the Rough Rider HVN, while Nathan White, president of national consulting firm Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, will be the CEO. Dr. A. Clinton MacKinney, practice leader – rural health at Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, will serve as chief medical officer.

The Rough Rider HVN board consists of seven leaders from the member hospitals, and there is also a Clinical Integration Committee (CIC), which consists of one medical practitioner from each member hospital, to oversee all clinical and quality initiatives.

A business integration committee (BIC), composed of select operations leaders from member hospitals, will manage the development and operation of the shared service offerings. The network is also exploring shared solutions in pharmacy, laboratory, telehealth, information technology, health information exchange, clinical staffing, supply chain, and other areas.

The network has been a work in progress over the last year, and the state provided $3.5 million in funding to help set up the network.

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