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Twenty-three critical access hospitals have come together to form a rural clinically integrated network.

The Rough Rider High-Value Network received state funding of $3.5 million to help support the North Dakota hospitals transition to value-based care.
The hospitals will collaborate on clinical and operational initiatives to strengthen availability, affordability and quality for more than 225,000 patients within the network.


The  aim is to enable rural hospitals to band together to meet the increasing challenges of delivering healthcare, Rough Rider said. 

Investing in medical advances, controlling the rising costs of providing care and enhancing care coordination often require a size and scale that is difficult for an independent rural hospital to achieve.

“Interdependence drives independence,” said Ben Bucher, CEO of Towner County Medical Center in Cando, North Dakota, who is chair of the Rough Rider HVN board. “The Rough Rider High-Value Network is built on the principle that independent rural hospitals can come together to meet these challenges and emerge stronger while remaining independent.”

Hospitals in the network can collaborate on surgery, ophthalmology, obstetrics and mental health. Few of the hospitals could support these services on their own, Rough Rider said.

The Rough Rider HVN also will provide member hospitals a menu of shared services such as pharmacy, laboratory, telehealth, information technology, health information exchange, clinical staffing, supply chain and other areas.

A Business Integration Committee composed of leaders from member hospitals will oversee the development and operation of the shared service offerings and will provide a forum to discuss common challenges and solutions.

For medical providers, the network will streamline measuring quality, share best practices and reduce administrative burden. 

Rough Rider has formed a Clinical Integration Committee (CIC) to oversee  clinical and quality initiatives. The committee includes one medical practitioner from each member hospital.

As care coordination, collaboration and secure data sharing deepens among members, the Rough Rider CIN will partner with payers on value-based contracts to improve quality and reduce costs.


Leaders from Rough Rider HVN and its member hospitals have been collaborating to develop the network for more than a year. 

Rough Rider HVN board leaders from member hospitals include President Alfred Sams, CEO Nathan White, CFO Brett Norell, CMO Dr. Clinton MacKinney and CCO Brittany Sachdeva.

“Expanding access to coordinated, high-quality care in our local communities is best for patients,” MacKinney said. “We also believe easing burdens on physicians and providers, and supporting them with a peer community through the CIC will help our member hospitals recruit and retain clinicians.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: SMorse@himss.org


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