Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, River Hospital in Alex Bay announce alliance aimed at higher efficiency
Following a year of exploratory talks, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg and River Hospital in Alexandria Bay have announced a cooperative agreement to affiliate under the name North Star Health Alliance.
They expect the alliance to create a higher degree of efficiency and other benefits as the pact goes into effect early next year.Affiliation documents and a formal agreement were signed in August and submitted to the New York State Attorney General and other relevant third parties for approval. The bylaws of each organization will be modified in accordance with this affiliation agreement, according to a press release from the hospitals.
The two institutions anticipate receiving all necessary approvals in the first quarter of 2016.
The press release outlines three goals for the pact.
First, the affiliation is designed to protect and enhance each organization’s respective charitable missions.
Second, through the affiliation the two hospitals will improve the quality of services and health care at each institution.
And third, the North Star Health Alliance allows Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and River Hospital to increase efficiencies and lower costs.
“Cooperating together through the North Star Health Alliance, our two independent hospitals can better collaborate to serve our patients in the best way possible,” said Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Nate Howell. “As always Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center will be there to enhance health and life with compassion and excellence.”
The North Star Health Alliance will serve as a passive parent to River Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and their sister organizations while ensuring operational independence. Under the terms of the affiliation, each hospital will retain its name, board, leadership structure and staffing levels and remain responsible for its own bottom line. No job cuts are planned as a result of today’s announcement.
In addition to ensuring operational independence, the North Star Health Alliance allows River Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center to work collaboratively. With information-sharing systems established at the two hospitals, patients will be able to transfer between, and utilize services at, each hospital seamlessly.
“Patients can already see tangible benefits of the alliance,” said River Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Moore. “Presently, the two hospitals share general surgeons and a radiologist. Going forward, our expanded geographical reach will let us jointly recruit specialty services that require larger patient populations.”
River Hospital is now using Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s nephrology and oncology physician services. Claxton-Hepburn benefits, the press release said, by gaining access to patient population extending as far as Fort Drum. In the future, the North Star Health Alliance will consider specialties that will jointly serve each hospital.
“Increasing efficiencies and lowering costs lets our hospitals focus time and resources on what matters most, delivering the highest quality healthcare to the communities we serve,” added Howell.
River Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center aim at an increase in efficiency immediately by sharing resources and collaborating on information technology. Opportunities for future collaboration include compliance and quality assurance, grant writing, healthcare population management contracting and the consolidation of administrative functions.