During its July 17 meeting, the Redwood Falls City Council approved the transfer agreement of the Redwood Area Hospital to Carris Health effective as of Jan. 1, 2019.

While there are still some months left before the transfer officially takes place, the City of Redwood Falls and Carris Health have entered into an agreement that both believe will help to create a smooth transition of ownership.

According to Keith Muetzel, city administrator, discussions have been taking place between city and hospital leadership and Carris Health to determine what will be happening over the next few months, and from those discussions a plan was developed that will have Carris Health provide interim hospital management services for the remainder of the year.

Muetzel presented the agreement to the city council at its Aug. 21 meeting.

Ownership of the hospital will remain under the city through Dec. 31, 2018, but the city will play less of a role in the decision making process under the agreement.

Muetzel said he believes the agreement is good for all who are involved, as it provides the expertise of Carris Health in the ongoing operations of the hospital during the months prior to the ownership transfer in various areas. 

Those services include facility planning, supply chain management, financial management, revenue cycle processes and information technology.

The agreement would also be good for the staff, added Muetzel, as it gives them the chance to learn more about the culture of Carris Health leading into the ownership transfer. The agreement allows for an early start on Carris Health’s aggressive plan to grow the operations, increase services and build a new medical campus.

Under the agreement’s billing provision, the hospital will be billed cost plus 10 percent for management and any other services provided.

The agreement also establishes the employment of the existing Redwood Area Hospital CEO by Carris Health.

Muetzel said the agreement provides more stability for the hospital as it moves toward the ownership transfer, adding it also removes some of the burden of operating the hospital from the city.

More of the local decision making will be done by the hospital commission under the agreement as well.

The council approved the agreement.

In other action during its meeting, the city council:

• Entered into a real estate professional services contract with Scenic City Realty for the sale of three homes located at 504 Veda Drive, 508 Veda Drive and 512 Veda Drive. The city had purchased these homes in anticipation of the renovation of the hospital campus, but with the transfer of the hospital to Carris Health and its decision to build a new hospital the ownership of the houses is no longer necessary.

• Approved several changes in the city finance department, including the hire of Caitlin Kodet as deputy city clerk at a salary of $44,466, Amy Kerkhoff as accounts receivable/customer service coordinator at a salary of $48,582 and Rachel Viergutz as payroll coordinator and human resources assistant at a salary of $47,151.

According to Missi Meyer, city finance and administrative director, the reorganization of staff is due to the changes in the finance department, including resignations of current employees and the sale of the hospital to Carris Health.

• Approved a request to transfer airport entitlement dollars in the amount of $26,000 from the City of Buffalo to the Redwood Falls Municipal Airport for its seven bay hangar project.

According to Jim Doering, the funding will be repaid with the 2019 allocation to the City of Redwood Falls. The city had expected a return of $29,300, but it received word from the FAA that those funds had expired and were reclaimed by the FAA.

• Accepted the low bid from AEI Construction in the amount of $207,756 for phase one of the downtown electric conversion project. According to Chuck Heins, public utilities superintendent, the plan is to begin the work of putting the overhead electrical lines in the ground yet this year, with the first phase including the lines between Second and Third streets from Washington Street to Lincoln Street.