Kootenai Health, a not-for-profit health system based in Coeur d’Alene in north-central Idaho, has taken on two critical access hospitals that were part of Essentia Health in Duluth, Minnesota.

Kootenai provides comprehensive medical services to patients in northern Idaho and throughout the inland Northwest. Its main campus includes a 330-bed community-owned hospital.

On April 1, ownership of two critical access hospitals, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics (23 beds) in Orofino and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics (25 beds) in Cottonwood, transferred to Kootenai. Clearwater Valley has two clinics in Orofino and Kooskia, one rural health clinic in Pierce and one physical therapy clinic in Orofino. St. Mary’s has five clinics in Cottonwood, Grangeville and Kamiah.

Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s will retain their current structures and boards. St. Mary’s will also maintain its Catholic identity and operate in a manner consistent with its Catholic tradition, including compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

Essentia and Kootenai signed a letter of intent in August 2019. Essentia still has facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

In addition to the newly transitioned ownership of Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s, Kootenai Health has a management agreement with Syringa Hospital in Grangeville, Idaho. This is anticipated to allow additional collaboration and service enhancements for all three hospitals and clinics throughout the region.

Deals involving critical access hospitals ticked up slightly in 2019, as the rush to establish large, regional not-for-profit networks slowed. In 2019, 12 CAHs were part of nine deals with larger systems, only slightly higher than the 11 CAHs acquired in 2018.