510 E. 8th St.
PO Box 370
Freeman, SD 57029
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FRHS CEO Shares Insight on Strengthened Partnership with Avera

Freeman Regional Health Services (FRHS) and Avera recently announced a strengthening of the relationship between the two organizations. Some are wondering what this means. Despite the challenges of the current health care environment, FRHS had remained an independent organization in terms of its organizational leadership and affiliations.
FRHS has previously entered into numerous ventures with Avera. One of the most significant ones is a Joint Operating Agreement for clinic services. This includes the recruitment of providers, which has been a very successful venture as reflected by the hiring of Dr. Hafiz in 2015, Dr. Allison in 2019 and Dr. Gibby who will be joining FRHS in August of this year. Another very significant project with Avera has been the implementation of Meditech, which includes electronic medical record and financial software. This project also includes all of the IT technical support required to operate these systems.
FRHS has had access to other Avera programs but usually at a cost. Under the Partners In Health Agreement, FRHS will have access to most of the Avera programs and resources at a significantly reduced cost. But it is not just programs. It includes access to their very knowledgeable experts throughout their system. Each FRHS manager has access to their counterpart at Avera. Some of these relationships have existed but will be greatly enhanced under this agreement. Sharing of clinical expertise will be beneficial to our patients and residents.
Additional services will be explored in more detail including the potential for expanding visiting specialties. Greater access to purchase agreements will be available. One of the primary drivers for this enhanced relationship is access to Avera’s expertise and resources that will be needed to move forward with the development of a new updated medical campus here in Freeman.
FRHS has very talented people throughout the organization and most wear many hats. Meanwhile, the health care environment is getting more and more complicated every day. Access to resources specifically set up to monitor and respond to the many regulatory changes will be a great asset to FRHS.
Not everything will change under the Partners In Health Agreement. The FRHS Board will remain the decision making body and the staff will continue to be employees of Freeman Regional Health Services.
Although this is an unprecedented time in health care, it is also a very exciting time for FRHS as we move forward creating a better future for health care in this community. We will continue to strive to provide the best quality care in rural South Dakota.
Nick Brandner, FRHS CEO