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Henderson Memorial Hospital, ETMC sign letter of intent

 Henderson MemorialHENDERSON, Texas – Officials with Henderson Memorial Hospital and the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System have announced that a letter of intent has been signed between the two organizations and that negotiations are underway to finalize the terms of an agreement for the Henderson hospital to affiliate with the ETMC system.
Both entities anticipate reaching a final affiliation agreement within a few months, at which time Henderson Memorial Hospital will become ETMC Henderson.

The letter of intent is the result of months of work by Henderson Memorial Hospital’s board of directors, led by chairman Ron Franks.

"We are extremely pleased with the anticipated affiliation,” said Mark Leitner, Henderson Memorial Hospital CEO. “The process that was followed by Henderson Memorial Hospital's board of directors was designed to assure that the health needs of our communities would be best served through such an affiliation.

“The residents of Henderson and Rusk County can remain confident that the hospital will not only survive but will thrive during the coming years. Of the many health systems considered, the ETMC Regional Healthcare System was determined to be best prepared and most interested in preserving high quality care for our patients,” Leitner said.

The HMH board announced on January 9 of last year that a community-based committee had been formed to study future affiliation options for the hospital. The committee’s first task was to retain an independent healthcare consulting firm with experience in hospital affiliations to guide them through the process and ensure that the needs of community members, employees, physicians, and other stakeholders would be addressed. Ultimately, more than 30 requests for proposals were sent out by the committee, resulting in many proposals from a wide variety of healthcare organizations.

Over the past year, the HMH board has hosted representatives of several healthcare organizations to discuss their vision for the future of the Henderson hospital. Eventually, the decision was made to affiliate with the not-for-profit ETMC system.

 Henderson Officials 

Mark Leitner, Henderson Memorial Hospital CEO; Elmer G. Ellis ETMC president/CEO; and Ron Franks, chairman of the HMH board of directors, pose following a press conference to announce the letter of intent.

“ETMC’s work over the past months with the leadership of Henderson Memorial Hospital has already been rewarding, as together we are beginning a vision of what can be accomplished in advancing care, saving lives and growing jobs for the Rusk County community,” noted Elmer G. Ellis, president/CEO of the ETMC system. “We are excited about the work that lies ahead and appreciative of the confidence that Henderson Memorial and the community are placing in ETMC.”

“The Henderson Memorial Hospital board of directors should be commended for taking on the tremendous responsibility of carefully searching for an affiliation partner,” Ellis added. “Through the board’s conscientious efforts and the coming ETMC affiliation, Rusk County residents will access a patient-centered, well-equipped hospital that ultimately improves the quality of life for the community.”

While the affiliation agreement between HMH and ETMC is not final, it will likely address several factors, including:

  • Ongoing community participation through the local hospital board
  • Clinical equipment enhancements
  • Information technology upgrades
  • Long-term facility plan
  • Employee retention and benefits
  • Physician recruitment and retention

“As a system, ETMC employs a different philosophy than most large healthcare systems when it comes to the relationship with their community hospital affiliates. Where most seek to send patients to the larger facility, our mission is to provide the highest level of care possible in home communities,” Ellis said. “This is better for the patients and their families, as they can conveniently access a range of services close to home.”

Henderson Memorial Hospital is a 96-bed full-service community hospital that has served East Texans since 1928. More than 200 employees provide a full range of advanced inpatient and outpatient healthcare services, including 24-hour physician-staffed emergency services, a variety of surgical services, obstetrics, cardiac clinic, an intensive care unit, physical therapy, sleep disorders services, primary healthcare clinics and community wellness. It is served by a medical staff of 25 physicians.

The East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System is East Texas’ largest healthcare system. ETMC facilities include hospitals in Athens, Carthage, Clarksville, Crockett, Fairfield, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Mt. Vernon, Pittsburg, Quitman, Trinity and Tyler.

The ETMC system is organized so that primary healthcare is provided in more than 40 First Physicians Clinics across East Texas. Secondary care is also provided locally in the ETMC affiliate hospitals. High-level secondary and tertiary care is provided at ETMC Tyler, including the ETMC Cancer Institute, the ETMC Cardiovascular Institute, the ETMC Rehabilitation Center, the ETMC Neurological Institute, the ETMC Orthopedic Institute, and the ETMC Urology Institute. In addition, ETMC Tyler is East Texas’ only Level 1 trauma center, as designated by the Texas State Department of Health Services.

East Texas Medical Center EMS is one of the nation's largest rural ambulance services

ETMC is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life in communities throughout East Texas.