NYS Approves Consolidation of Arnot Ogden and St. Joseph's Hospital

Posted June 17, 2011

ELMIRA _ The New York State Health Department’s Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) has approved the Certificate of Need application to consolidate Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“Our priority is to provide high-quality care that is accessible and affordable for the people in the region,” states Anthony Cooper, President and CEO of Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital.  “As the landscape of healthcare changes, a three-hospital system is more sustainable. We are non-profit hospitals, so we must work hard to maintain operational stability so we can fulfill our mission of providing high-quality care well into the future. Working together in this way will ensure that the sum truly is greater than its parts.”

With this approval, Arnot Ogden Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital will move forward with a strategic plan to create a non-profit regional healthcare system. The new three-hospital regional healthcare system, Arnot Health, will employ nearly 2,900 individuals. Its facilities currently have licensed beds totaling 809, including 493 acute care, 231 long term care, 40 physical medicine rehabilitation, 25 psychiatric, and 20 substance abuse rehabilitation.

The design of the regional healthcare system includes the merging of certain administrative and management services, as well as the reconfiguration of inpatient and outpatient services to both improve quality and patient access and maximize operating efficiency.

All three acute care hospitals will continue to operate. Arnot Ogden Medical Center, Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital and the parent corporation will remain secular and St. Joseph’s Hospital will remain a Catholic hospital and operate in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services.

In 2006, the Berger Commission recommended this partnership to “end the medical arms race in Elmira that is expending scarce resources on duplicative services and progressively weakening both institutions.” 

Cooper stated that many changes have already been made to consolidate operations.

“In our effort to improve patient care and realize cost savings, several operational functions from all three hospitals are being centrally managed and we have announced consolidating certain outpatient services including dialysis, sleep services and gastroenterology,” he explained.
 
With the approval, the PHHPC also asked that several contingencies be addressed, including completion of a contract for the pending HEAL 19 grant, worth $19 million, for the organization.  The contract must be signed by the State Attorney General’s office and the Office of the State Controller. Cooper anticipates all contingency requirements will be satisfied by the end of July.

Cooper added, “Reductions in government reimbursement and increased healthcare costs as well as skyrocketing bad debt and charity care have made it difficult to be an independent non-profit hospital. The $19 million in HEAL grant money is essential for this consolidation to be a success. A strong healthcare delivery system is a foundation to a strong economy in the community.  Once we have developed that, we can grow and build services.”

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