After several months of exhaustive review, leaders of Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines and Skiff Medical Center in Newton have reached an agreement for Mercy to acquire Skiff Medical Center.


The Newton City Council on Monday evening approved an agreement for Skiff, which is owned by the city of Newton, to sell all all of its land, buildings and assets to Mercy, effective by July 1. That final decision by the city came after receiving several required levels of approval from the mayor, the Mercy board of directors and the Skiff board of directors, Mercy officials said in a release.


The integration of Skiff with Mercy ensures residents of Newton and Jasper County will continue to have access to the local hospital, which has served their community for more than 90 years, Mercy officials said. Additionally, patients will benefit from greater access to specialized care.


"In today's changing health care environment, the development of integrated networks of care is essential," said Bob Ritz, Mercy Medical Center president. "Integrated health care networks help improve patient safety and encourage innovation and improvements in quality. They also reduce costs and provide new opportunities to deliver care in both inpatient and outpatient settings."


Financial terms of the transaction were not immediately available. Skiff Medical Center has an annual operating budget of $38 million; the hospital has 350 employees, of whom 247 are full-time, and more than 50 active and consulting physicians.