St. Lawrence Health System looking to western NY for affiliation
POTSDAM -- St. Lawrence Health System (SLHS) and Rochester Regional Health (RRH) have signed a non-binding letter of intent to negotiate an affiliation agreement between the two organizations.
A press release says that RRH’s mission “is to enhance lives and preserve health by enabling access to a comprehensive, fully integrated network of the highest quality and most affordable care.”“That mission is an outstanding fit for our communities in the St. Lawrence Valley,” David Acker, president and CEO of St. Lawrence Health System, said in a prepared statement. “We have always believed that our patients deserve nothing less than leading-edge health care and they should not have to travel far to get it. Partnering with Rochester Regional allows St. Lawrence Health System to continue to elevate the standard of care delivered right here in our communities.”
“We are committed to working collaboratively with St. Lawrence Health System to preserve and expand the high-quality primary and specialty care that is needed in the communities that St. Lawrence Health System has been serving so well for generations,” Dr. Eric Bieber, president and CEO of Rochester Regional Health, said in prepared remarks.
In addition to long experience in population health management and quality health care, Rochester Regional Health’s focus on its civic connection to the communities it serves made RRH the clear choice for a strategic affiliation partner, according to Acker.
“Rochester Regional Health prioritizes personalized patient care and community relationships,” said Bieber. “Rochester Regional Health is committed to continuing our track record for strengthening not only the hospitals and health systems with which we affiliate, but also the communities those hospitals serve.”
Health care providers across the North Country, and across the country, have been seeking new ways of providing a diversity of quality services without draining financial resources – a complex challenge in an era of constantly improving technology and pharmacology, much of which is increasingly costly.
Hospitals and other health care providers have sought “strategic” partnerships to share medical and management expertise, facilities and personnel as a way to keep up with the changes and provide the best care to their populations while keeping costs down. Such a requirement has become more evident as the federal government, the largest single provider of funding for health care in the country, has become more demanding of health providers to keep costs, and the expense to taxpayers, to a minimum.
The objectives for such an affiliation were described by SLHS as ways to:
• bring additional medical services to the community to prevent the need to travel for specialty care
• obtain talented and knowledgeable managers and leaders while developing an internal pipeline of employees to be future SLHS leaders
• implement clinical, financial, and operational best practices to drive measurable improvements in SLHS quality, patient satisfaction, and financial results
• improve SLHS’s strong track record of recruiting and retaining high quality physicians to meet community needs.
“Several potential partners recognized St. Lawrence Health System’s value and shared our vision for elevating the level of care in the St. Lawrence Valley,” Acker said. “Board members and executives traveled to potential qualified partner health systems and evaluated the extent to which a partnership would meet our patients’ needs, fit with our community’s culture, and our mission to provide exceptional health care in northern New York. Rochester Regional Health was the clear choice.”
“Rochester Regional Health is looking forward to working closely with the St. Lawrence Health System leadership team on this strategic affiliation,” said Bieber.
The signing of the letter of intent means that RRH and SLHS have agreed to work toward a final, definitive agreement to be signed by the end of 2018, the joint statement said.
During the next few months, they will engage in discussions to work toward a definitive agreement and perform additional due diligence. While any final agreement is subject to customary regulatory and board review and approval, hospital leaders hope to implement the final agreement no later than the fall of 2019. Both RRH and SLHS will keep their stakeholders and communities updated on developments.
St. Lawrence Health System was established in December 2013 with the mission to improve health, to expand access, and to lower costs through coordination and integration of services. Encompassing several corporations, including Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam and Gouverneur Hospital, Gouverneur, St. Lawrence Health System also operates extension outpatient facilities in Antwerp, Brasher Falls, Canton, Colton, DeKalb Junction, Edwards, Gouverneur, Massena, Norfolk, and Potsdam. The largest private sector employer in St. Lawrence County, with 1,500 employees, St. Lawrence Health System has 190 medical staff members and annual net operating revenues of $210 million.
Rochester Regional Health is an integrated health services organization serving the people of Western New York, the Finger Lakes and beyond. The system includes five hospitals, primary and specialty practices, rehabilitation centers, ambulatory campuses and immediate care facilities; services, facilities and independent housing for seniors; a wide range of behavioral health services; and ACM Medical Laboratory, a global leader in patient and clinical trials. Rochester Regional Health is the region’s second largest employer. There is more info at RochesterRegional.org.