Sunday, June 22, 2008

A trusted collaborator

I've heard this from state officials, as well as from other hospital CEOs throughout the state: Syracuse hospitals are unique in that we communicate with one another and we actually work together on cooperative projects.

I was reminded of this last week at the annual meeting of Community General Hospital. One of the annual reports is the status of organizations in which Community is a partner with other health care providers. For example, Community is a partner with Crouse Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in the Laboratory Alliance of CNY, LLC, Liverpool, NY.

Founded in 1997, the Lab Alliance provides clinical laboratory services to its member hospitals, as well as to physicians’ offices, nursing homes, and other hospitals. With more than 400 employees, last year the Lab Alliance performed 8.1 million tests. It is accredited by the Joint Commission, and it also performs device trials for the manufacturers of laboratory equipment.

Another area where Syracuse hospitals work together is the Plaza Corporation, which has Community, Crouse and St. Joseph’s as members. Plaza is the parent corporation for the 160-bed Iroquois Nursing Home in Jamesville, NY. With Loretto, Plaza is also the sponsor of Rosewood Heights Nursing Home, a 242-bed facility in Syracuse, NY. Combined, Iroquois and Rosewood account for about 14% of the total nursing home capacity in Onondaga County.

EPC, LLC (known as the Endoscopy Procedure Center) is an organization formed in 2005 by Community General Hospital with two medical practices, Associated Gastroenterologists of CNY and Colon Rectal Surgeons of CNY. Licensed as an ambulatory procedure center, EPC provides specialized endoscopy services for patients. It is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care.

Community is also a member in the Hospital Executive Council (HEC), which dates from 1979 and involves Crouse, St. Joseph’s and University Hospitals. The HEC was actually the planning vehicle that helped form the Laboratory Alliance, and it provided the focus for bringing the hospitals together in the Plaza Corporation about two decades ago.

Under the leadership of Ron Lagoe, PhD, the HEC provides data collection, information analyses, and information exchange among its members. It distributes daily reports on Syracuse hospital services, as well as the function of emergency departments in the city. The HEC serves as the hospitals' liaison with the area’s long term care industry, and it is a resource for medical staff credentialing.

The HEC operates multi-year projects that have helped the Syracuse hospitals achieve lengths of stay that are the lowest in New York State, as well as utilization rates that are among the lowest. The HEC is a focus for information and projects that help improve hospital quality and the more effective use of community resources. Ron Lagoe has contributed to the health care literature, using his Syracuse research to publish journal articles on subjects such as provider cooperation, length of stay management, information exchange, hospital-nursing home coordination, and many more.

Part of Community General Hospital's vision is to serve as “a trusted collaborator with those who share its mission.” Through the HEC and the other organizations, we help achieve that goal.

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