Press-Republican

Local News

March 27, 2012

Area hospitals reach affiliation agreement

CVPH, Fletcher Allen, ECH to form affiliation for many benefits

PLATTSBURGH — A proposed affiliation among Fletcher Allen Health Care, CVPH Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital could result in many benefits for patients and health-care providers across the region, says CVPH President and Chief Financial Officer Stephens Mundy.

The agreement — which also includes Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vt. — would connect all four hospitals under the governance of Fletcher Allen Partners, though each facility would retain its current identity and remain a separate, free-standing hospital with its own board, management, workforce and medical staff.

"Whatever benefits this will have for the hospital will be represented in the benefits for the patient," Mundy said Monday afternoon, shortly after a letter of intent was signed by the four facilities.

"It will translate into more coordinated care for patients and easier access of patient information, and physicians will be more available on this side of the lake."

ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Rod Boula, ECH chief executive director, said he is excited about the possibilities the affiliation would offer his facility in Elizabethtown.

"ECH is a strong organization, and partnering with other strong organizations like Fletcher Allen Partners will help serve our local community members through access to specialists, including the use of telemedicine; the potential of adding clinical rotations for primary-care physicians; and providing ECH with access to capital so expansion projects or major equipment purchases can be easily undertaken," he said.

'A 'BIG PLUS'

Patients entering the health-care system through CVPH Medical Center are regularly transferred to Fletcher Allen in Burlington for advanced care in such programs as neurology.

Having CVPH and Fletcher Allen under the same umbrella of leadership could result in much stronger coordination between the two facilities' communications systems, Mundy noted.

Each hospital uses a different communications network, and though no discussions have focused on moving toward one system, an affiliation could make that process easier to initiate, he added.

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