Fitch Healthcare will continue to manage Keokuk Area Hospital through January 2016.
The Board of Directors for Keokuk Health Systems recently signed off on the contract extension with the Oak Brook, Il-based company.
Board Chairman Walt Stephens says this is a move in the right direction for all parties.
"In addition to shifting the cost curve," says Stephens, "the Fitch Healthcare team has been focused on expansion of services to the community with a clear focus on quality."
The expansion includes the hiring of several professionals in 2013, including an orthopedic surgeon and three nurse practitioners.
This follows staff reductions that took place nearly one year ago.
Fitch Healthcare has been working with Keokuk Area Hospital for roughly five years to reverse the hospital's financial struggles, first as a consultant before assuming management duties this year.
The hospital won several awards in 2013 for excellence in patient-centered care delivery and for patient experience in emergency care.
Fitch Healthcare Owner Duane Fitch says "this turnaround journey is far from complete."
He says "although much progress has been made, there are still major vulnerabilities impacting Keokuk Health Systems that need to be addressed."
One such vulnerability is the debt facing the hospital.
Fitch talked to the Lee County Board of Supervisors about the situation in October, including the idea of asking local governments for assistance in addressing that deficit.