GF Health to move forward with letter of intent to join Avera

GRANITE FALLS — While the decision isn’t yet final, talks for Granite Falls’ hospital to partner with Avera Marshall took another step forward on Wednesday. Officials from Granite Falls Health and Avera Marshall said the two groups will enter a non-binding letter of intent for Granite Falls Health to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Avera Marshall region.

The Granite Falls Health board of directors, the Granite Falls City Council, and the Avera Marshall board of directors have approved moving forward with the letter of intent, a Wednesday news release said. The letter of intent will be considered at an Avera board meeting on Sept. 18.

“There are still details to be worked out, but we’re moving forward at a good pace and feel this will be a great fit for the commmuity and region of Granite Falls,” said Tom Kooiman, CEO of Granite Falls Health.

Granite Falls health is an independent not-for-profit health care system, which includes the Granite Falls hospital, a nursing center and senior living community, and an Avera-affiliated clinic among other services.

While the letter of intent is non-binding, it is expected that Granite Falls Health will become Avera Granite Falls at the beginning of 2020, the news release said.

Talks between Avera Health and Granite Falls Health started earlier this year. Avera was one of four health systems that were invited to respond to a request for proposals from Granite Falls Health. At that point, a community task force and the Granite Falls Health board of directors chose Avera for additional talks.

“We’re honored that Granite Falls Health selected Avera as a potential partner. We have always believed Avera and Granite Falls have shared interests in keeping services local and strengthening rural health care,” said Mary Maertens, Avera Marshall regional president and CEO “We look forward to working through these details and welcoming Granite Falls Health to our health care family.”