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St. Mary’s Healthcare Center to join Avera Health

St. Mary’s Healthcare Center will become part of Avera Health effective Jan. 1 as the result of an agreement reached between Avera and Catholic Health Initiatives, the Englewood, Colo.-based health system that includes St. Mary’s. Avera and Catholic Health Initiatives have been in discussion since last spring about ways to collaborate and strengthen St. Mary’s ability to more effectively serve Pierre, Gettysburg and surrounding communities into the future.
“Stronger ties between the physicians of Avera Medical Group Pierre and the local hospitals will mean better coordinated care for patients,” said Kevin Lofton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Health Initiatives. “The rapidly changing health care environment calls for a more integrated approach to the way health care services are delivered to communities. This transfer is in the best interests of the people and communities we serve.”
The transfer includes St. Mary’s Healthcare Center, Maryhouse and ParkWood in Pierre; and Gettysburg Memorial Hospital, Oahe Manor and Oahe Villa Congregate Living Center in Gettysburg. All employees in good standing will remain employees of the hospital and their respective facilities as St. Mary’s transfers to Avera.
“Avera is excited to expand our services in central South Dakota,” said John Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Avera Health.  “Our mission calls us to provide the highest quality of care possible at local facilities. Adding the services and employees in Pierre and Gettysburg allows Avera to provide a full continuum of care to patients across the region.”
Avera and St. Mary’s share a Catholic heritage, and the two organizations are working together for a smooth transition for patients, employees and physicians. Both organizations have conducted extensive “due diligence” to review each system’s operational and financial performance. The transfer is also subject to review and pending approval by regulatory and church authorities.