Residents of the Mid-Columbia region will have greater access to primary and specialty care as a result of a new affiliation between Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University that includes recruiting additional physicians to The Dalles.
Pictured from left are Dr. Joe Robertson, OHSU president; Duane Francis, MCMC CEO; and Dr. Mark O’Holleran, OHSU director of clinical outreach. Photo credit: The Dalles Chronicle
“This affiliation will result in a significant increase in access to high-quality care in The Dalles and surrounding communities,” said Mid-Columbia Medical Center President and CEO Duane Francis. “It formalizes a growing relationship with OHSU that, over the last five years, has enabled us to offer important healthcare services to residents of the region that otherwise would not have been available. It will make it easier for patients in the Mid-Columbia region to obtain timely appointments with primary care physicians, specialists and other healthcare professionals. And it provides yet another means for both organizations to fulfill their missions of service to Oregonians.”
In addition to recruiting additional physicians, MCMC and OHSU will enhance Mid-Columbia’s electronic health records system to provide a seamless treatment experience for patients who receive care at both medical centers. The new system also will give patients access to their medical records.
The two organizations will continue to explore opportunities to better serve residents of the Mid-Columbia region, keeping care close to home whenever possible. This could eventually include further expanding primary and specialty care or other medical services, Francis said.
“We think this collaboration is going to strengthen both MCMC and OHSU in ways that directly benefit patients and families in The Dalles and the many surrounding communities that rely on MCMC for the healthcare,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. “By working together we can avoid duplication and keep patients close to home as much as possible. But when they do need to come to OHSU, we want to make the coordination seamless and minimize the disruption to families.”
The need to expand access to primary and specialty care became apparent as OHSU and MCMC explored ways to best meet the needs of residents of The Dalles and the Mid-Columbia region. This is not a merger or acquisition, Frances emphasized: “Mid-Columbia Medical Center will continue to remain independent, locally controlled and overseen by a volunteer board.”
MCMC and OHSU have collaborated to provide certain specialty care, such as cardiology and orthopaedics, for several years. In addition, MCMC is part of the OHSU Telemedicine Network, which allows physicians in the Mid-Columbia region to easily connect with OHSU specialists for long-distance consultations on stroke, pediatric and neonatal patients.