WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Keokuk Health Systems Might Join UnityPoint Health

Oct 9, 2016

Keokuk Health Systems appears to be on track to become an affiliate of UnityPoint Health. The two sides signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding that will allow for continued negotiations.

“We are excited to partner with Keokuk Health Systems and have a great deal of respect for the long tradition of care they have in the community,” said Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health, in a prepared statement issued by the two health care providers.

“With the changing direction of health care, it is increasingly important for organizations and systems to collaborate and partner in order to continue to provide quality affordable health care. This partnership will further our relationship with Keokuk Health Systems and allow for them to continue and enhance the health care services they provide to the Keokuk area.”

Keokuk Health Systems and UnityPoint Health said that under the proposed affiliation, UnityPoint Health would take financial responsibility for “initial capital investments, ongoing capital needs and operating results.” A focus of that would be improvements to the emergency department in Keokuk.

Quincy Medical Group, another affiliate of UnityPoint Health, would also expand clinical services in Keokuk.

“Our proposed partnership with UnityPoint Health and Quincy Medical Group provides substantial stability to our organization and greatly enhances our ability to deliver on our critical health care mission for many years to come,” said Walt Stephens, Board Chairman for Keokuk Health Systems.

The affiliation would include Keokuk Area Medical Equipment & Supply (KAME), Tri-State Medical Group, Keokuk Area Hospital, and Keokuk Area Hospital Foundation.

Duane Fitch, who heads the firm managing Keokuk Area Hospital, said in an interview with Tri States Public Radio that once the affiliation is complete, he and his team will step aside after more than three years at the helm.

“Our goal in every engagement is to leave the place in better condition than we found it,” said Fitch.

UnityPoint Health is described as the 13th largest non-profit health care provider in the country.

  • 280+ physician clinics
  • 33 hospitals providing care in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin
  • 30,000+ employees
  • $3.9-billion annual operating revenue