IT TAKES A VIL­LAGE

HealthAl­liance plans to cre­ate a full-fledged med­i­cal vil­lage at its Broad­way Cam­pus

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

What HealthAl­liance of the Hud­son Val­ley is poised to do at its Broad­way hos­pi­tal cam­pus is unique within New York’s med­i­cal com­mu­nity.

Cre­at­ing a full-fledged med­i­cal vil­lage at the for­mer Kingston Hos­pi­tal is some years away, prob­a­bly at least five.

But HealthAl­liance’s plan is a con­cept that stands alone in a pool of health­care providers that have re­cently gar­nered state fund­ing for ex­pan­sion.

Of those that ap­plied, HealthAl­liance is the only one re­pur­pos­ing a now in-pa­tient fa­cil­ity into an out-pa­tient one in an ef­fort to sup­ply preven­tive med­i­cal ser­vices to keep peo­ple out of the hos­pi­tal, com­pany of­fi­cials say.

HealthAl­liance’s Chief Strate­gist Josh Rat­ner said re­cently that the plan re­mains the only one de­vel­op­ing among the state’s med­i­cal com­mu­nity that is sin­gu­larly unique.

Rat­ner said there are 20 other projects in the works to cre­ate med­i­cal vil­lages but none of those seek to

cre­ate them in en­tire hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties.

HealthAl­liance, which is an af­fil­i­ate of Westch­ester Med­i­cal Cen­ter Health Net­work, will get mil­lions in state fund­ing to cre­ate its med­i­cal vil­lage, some­times re­ferred to as a med­i­cal mall or healthy vil­lage.

“We are the only ones in New York state that ap­plied for re­pur­pos­ing and re­de­vel­op­ing a hos­pi­tal to serve out-pa­tients in its en­tirety,” Rat­ner said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view. “So what we are talk­ing about is con­vert­ing an in­pa­tient hos­pi­tal of to­day into a med­i­cal vil­lage of to­mor­row.”

Rat­ner re­ferred to state ap­pli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted to a pro­gram known as the De­liv­ery Sys­tem Re­form In­cen­tive Pay­ment Pro­gram, known as DSRIP. The pro­gram is fo­cused on Med­i­caid pa­tients. The $8 bil­lion pool is part of the state Health Depart­ment’s Cap­i­tal Re­struc­tur­ing Fi­nanc­ing Pro­gram.

“DSRIP’s pur­pose is to fun­da­men­tally re­struc­ture the health care de­liv­ery sys­tem by rein­vest­ing in the Med­i­caid pro­gram, with the pri­mary goal of re­duc­ing avoid­able hos­pi­tal use by 25 per­cent over 5 years,” ac­cord­ing to the state’s Health Depart­ment web­site.

For the most part, the med­i­cal vil­lage will fo­cus on that sin­gu­lar mis­sion as HealthAl­liance moves to con­sol­i­date all reg­u­lar hos­pi­tal ser­vices onto the Mary’s Av­enue cam­pus, ac­cord­ing to David Scarpino, the com­pany’s pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

“We (HealthAl­laince) will col­lab­o­rate with com­mu­nity providers in a way that treats peo­ple be­fore they get sick,” Scarpino said. “We want to keep peo­ple out of the hos­pi­tal.”

Rat­ner has said that while the state pro­gram is geared at the Med­i­caid and unin­sured pop­u­la­tion, what­ever is es­tab­lished as a med­i­cal vil­lage in Kingston will be avail­able for all.

In the state, other health­care providers are cre­at­ing med­i­cal vil­lages in pieces of build­ings or in struc­tures on hos­pi­tal cam­puses.

Bon Se­cours Char­ity Health Sys­tems, also an af­fil­i­ate of Westch­ester Med­i­cal Cen­ter Health Net­work, will use part of a $24.5 mil­lion state grant to cre­ate a med­i­cal vil­lage at the Bon Se­cours Com­mu­nity Hos­pi­tal cam­pus in Port Jervis, ac­cord­ing to He­lene Gus, a spokes­woman for the health sys­tem.

The health sys­tem is also col­lect­ing other grants and do­ing fundrais­ing to ex­pand its fa­cil­ity, Gus said.

The project at Bon Se­cours, with the med­i­cal vil­lage in­cluded, has a sim­i­lar fo­cus to that of the one HealthAl­liance has out­lined.

“The goal is the same,” said Gus, who added that the hos­pi­tal’s in­te­rior will be “re­con­fig­ured” to ac­com­mo­date the med­i­cal vil­lage.

The com­pany says it will, like HealthAl­liance, part­ner with healthy-liv­ing groups and pro­grams.

“This is all part of the ‘med­i­cal vil­lage’ con­cept where much-needed care op­tions and healthy life­style in­for­ma­tion will be ac­ces­si­ble to area res­i­dents in a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion,” a com­pany press re­lease says.

“An in­vest­ment in a healthy com­mu­nity trans­lates into a re­duc­tion in pre­ventable hos­pi­tal­iza­tions, which re­sults in lower health care costs, “sad Mary P. Leahy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Bon Se­cours Char­ity Health Sys­tem, in the press re­lease.

Scarpino said his com­pany plans to sub­mit its so-called “cer­tifi­cate of need” to the state Health Depart­ment for the med­i­cal vil­lage by the end of this year. The state needs to ap­prove the plan but it has al­ready com­mit­ted $88.8 mil­lion.

The fund­ing will help pay for the med­i­cal vil­lage trans­for­ma­tion as well as an over­haul at HealthAl­liance Mary’s Av­enue cam­pus where, among other things, a new emer­gency depart­ment is to be built. In all, HealthAl­liance plans amount to $133.6 mil­lion.

HealthAl­liance plans to lease space to, among oth­ers, ed­u­ca­tional groups, med­i­cal care­givers, nutri­tion ex­perts, ex­er­cise ad­vo­cates, acupunc­ture spe­cial­ists, yoga in­struc­tors, healthy cook­ing teach­ers, acupunc­ture ser­vices, preven­tion ad­vi­sors, job­train­ing ser­vices, other com­mu­nity-based ac­tiv­ity and, per­haps, fresh pro­duce pro­duc­ers.

The med­i­cal vil­lage may also con­tain a “sim­u­la­tion cen­ter” where res­cue work­ers and med­i­cal per­son­nel can be trained in life-sav­ing tech­niques us­ing man­nequins.

Plans call for the an­chor ten­ant to be the In­sti­tute for Fam­ily Health.

Rat­ner said that HealthAl­liance, though, does not plan on be­com­ing a profit-mak­ing land­lord. Rat­ner de­scribed it as a “break-even” en­deavor.

“No­body wants a closed blight on Broad­way,” Rat­ner said. “We are not look­ing at the med­i­cal vil­lage as a money-mak­ing sce­nario.”

The com­pany says it has yet to come up with what rents are likely to be.

In its cer­tifi­cate of need ap­pli­ca­tion, Scarpino said, HealthAl­liance will need to il­lus­trate to the state Depart­ment of Health that there is in­ter­est from groups in tak­ing up spots at the Broad­way build­ing, a 237,000-square-foot struc­ture.

A cer­tifi­cate of need ap­pli­ca­tion has al­ready been sub­mit­ted for the Mary’s Av­enue project, a con­struc­tion ex­pan­sion that is ex­pected to take about 2 1/2 years to com­plete af­ter ap­provals are granted, Scarpino said.

Un­der the plan, the num­ber of hos­pi­tal beds will shrink from 300 to 201 due to a de­clin­ing num­ber of ad­mis­sions in the past two years, Scarpino said.

It is the plan, Scarpino added, to be­gin the oc­cu­pancy of the med­i­cal vil­lage in a par­al­lel man­ner, with full oc­cu­pancy set for five years af­ter ap­provals.

The med­i­cal vil­lage would be sim­i­lar to those set up in build­ings by other health care com­pa­nies such as the fairly new struc­ture off U.S. Route 9W in the town of Ul­ster run by the CareMount Med­i­cal Group.

The dif­fer­ence, Rat­ner said, would be that HealthAl­liance would op­er­ate some of the ser­vices but many would be stand­alone providers not con­nected to the com­pany.

TA­NIA BARRICKLO-DAILY FREE­MAN

HealthAl­liance’s cam­pus on Broad­way in Kingston.

Rat­ner

Scarpino

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