Two hospitals in upstate New York signed a letter of intent to join Fletcher Allen Partners in Vermont. Adding Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center, a 251-bed hospital in Plattsburgh, and the 25-bed Elizabethtown (N.Y.) Community Hospital would make Fletcher Allen Partners a fourhospital system. Fletcher Allen Partners is the newly created parent organization for the 419-bed Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt., and the 83-bed Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, Vt. “Pursuing an affiliation with Fletcher Allen Partners makes sense from a geographic and patient-care perspective as we have had the privilege of providing critical safety net services—trauma and neonatal care—to the people of the North Country for decades,” Dr. John Brumsted, president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care and Fletcher Allen Partners, said in a news release. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, a Fletcher Allen spokesman said. If the proposed affiliation is approved, Fletcher Allen would be awarded approval powers over the hospitals’ selection of trustees and CEOS, annual budgets and strategic plans, and development of new programs and services. Champlain Valley and Elizabethtown Community Hospital, which are part of Community Providers, would retain their boards, management, workforce, licensure and endowments. The proposed affiliation is expected to be effective this year. JERSEY CITY, N.J.—
A U.S. bankruptcy court approved Hudson Hospital Holdco’s $45.27 million bid to buy New Jersey’s Christ Hospital, according to a spokesman for Christ Hospital. The deal also calls for Hudson Hospital Holdco to invest $35 million over five years and sets conditions on hospital operations, according to bankruptcy documents. The buyer must operate Christ Hospital as an acute-care hospital for at least 10 years and maintain essential healthcare services for five years. Hudson Hospital Holdco cannot sell Christ Hospital for at least five years, according to the document. The New Jersey attorney general must approve the deal, which must also receive a certificate of need, according to the Christ Hospital spokesman. Hudson Hospital Holdco, which includes principals that also own the Bayonne Medical Center and the Hoboken University Medical Center, was one of two bidders for the distressed hospital. Trustees for Christ Hospital endorsed the Hudson Hospital bid. “After thoughtful and careful consideration, it was decided that Hudson Hospital Holdco’s bid would best enable Christ Hospital to continue its mission of providing quality patient care,” the hospital said in a statement. Christ Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February after public outcry scuttled Prime Healthcare Services’ $35 million offer for the hospital.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.— The Rhode Island Quality Institute announced it received a $600,000 federal grant to give behavioralhealth providers access to the state’s health information exchange, called Currentcare. The Center for Integrated Health Solutions—a joint program of the Health Resources Services Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration— awarded the quality institute a subcontract to facilitate datasharing between behavioral-health and general health providers. Among the goals of the effort are to drive voluntary enrollment in Currentcare among behavioral-health patients, allow behavioral-health providers to view clinical information about enrolled patients, and enable secure data exchange between practice-based electronic health-record systems and Currentcare, according to a news release from the institute. “Giving behavioral health providers access to their patients’ physical health data and collecting and sharing behavioral health data through Currentcare has always been part of the road map for Rhode Island’s HIE. However, until now, the rollout of these capabilities has been unfunded,” said Gary Christensen, the institute’s chief operating officer and chief information officer.
NEW YORK— Peninsula Hospital cannot survive a prolonged closure by state health officials and will not reopen, said the appointed Chapter 11 trustee for the hospital. Peninsula Hospital halted admissions and transferred patients after its clinical laboratory failed a state inspection in February. In a letter to the court, the trustee said state health officials reviewed progress toward reopening the laboratory and found it would require “substantial additional time, effort and expense” before it may be ready. “The hospital does not have sufficient working capital to keep the hospital open (even with a greatly reduced staff) for such a prolonged period while recertification efforts continue,” according to the letter. The trustee will submit a hospital closure plan to the state and will coordinate with the state health department on how to
shut down the hospital. PURCHASE, N.Y.—
Westmed Medical Group, a multispecialty group medical practice, said it is collaborating with Unitedhealth Group to form an accountable care organization. Westmed will work with Unitedhealthcare and Optum, the insurance and health information technology services businesses of Minnetonka, Minn.-based Unitedhealth Group, to form the Westmed ACO, according to a news release. Westmed has 220 physicians at nine locations in New York’s Westchester County. The Westmed ACO will be available to Westchester County residents who are covered by Unitedhealthcare’s Oxford Health Plans fully insured commercial product starting April 1. A spokeswoman for Unitedhealthcare said the company plans to seek approval from the New York State Department of Health to expand the ACO to include Westchester County residents who are covered under Oxford Health’s fully insured commercial HMO and POS products. “Our collaboration with Westmed is the latest in a series of accountable care initiatives that bring together the strength of Unitedhealthcare’s care provider networks and Optum’s technology capabilities to further advance patient care and service,” Dr. Sam Ho, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Unitedhealthcare, said in the news release. Last June, Tucson Medical Center and local physicians said they had formed a partnership with Optum to create an ACO in southern Arizona. The Unitedhealthcare spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the company plans to announce other ACO initiatives this year. BUFFALO, N.Y.—
Five-campus hospital Kaleida Health shuttered Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital last week and shifted the hospital’s services to Buffalo General Medical Center and the newly opened Gates Vascular Institute. Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital was one of the hospitals that the state’s Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century marked for closure in 2006. Kaleida Health and the University of Buffalo started construction on the $291 million Gates Vascular Institute in mid-2009. Kaleida Health, which has 1,161 beds, said in a statement on its website that Buffalo General Medical Center and the Gates Vascular Institute are less than two
Adding Champlain Valley, above, and Elizabethtown will make Fletcher Allen Partners a four-hospital system.