Monday, April 25, 2011

From the Board Chairman

This letter from Steven Infanti, Sr., appears today in the Post-Standard.

Much has been written about Upstate Medical University’s planned acquisition of Community General Hospital. This combination will have significant benefits for our community and our region.

Health care is changing — not gradually, but rapidly. Cost pressures, changes in physician practices and progressive changes in Medicare and Medicaid all make it increasingly difficult for smaller, stand-alone hospitals to continue their services.

However, there also exist opportunities for doctors and hospitals to work together in new ways and in new structures to improve health care services and quality.

As part of Upstate, Community General Hospital will be in a larger, better positioned health care system. Upstate has a regional mission, one that becomes more important as health care reforms are realized. Today, Upstate is operating at essentially full capacity, and it needs to expand.

Community General Hospital has available capacity, and it brings to the table a strong reputation, a history of service and a 42-acre health care campus in which our community has already invested.

Upstate’s acquisition of Community General will make the best use of existing health care resources and will provide a cost-effective means for Upstate to grow clinical services and develop its teaching role.

Together the combination will be more than the sum of its parts.

● It solves two problems with one cost-effective stroke. Upstate’s capacity limitations will be solved and increased patient volume at Community General will improve overall financial performance.

● The cost of services at Community General’s campus will be spread over a larger base of operations. This will, over time, achieve efficiencies not possible as a stand-alone hospital.

● Community General’s 1,100 employees will be maintained substantially intact, preserving jobs and providing Upstate with a skilled workforce, already in place.

● Changes in Upstate’s medical staff bylaws accommodate the private medical practices that depend upon, and support, Community General Hospital. And Upstate’s stronger clinical platform will broaden specialty services for patients using the Community General campus.

● The Community General campus will maintain a broad complement of services, including emergency, acute care and outpatient care, continuing access for residents of its primary service area.

● This transaction is right for patients, for doctors and for employees. Most importantly, it is right for residents in and around Central New York.

Community’s board of directors has carefully planned this strategic affiliation. We have used independent consultants, and we have spent countless hours in study and consideration, including the examination of different scenarios about how best to serve the community.

Having analyzed the facts, we feel, unanimously, that the combination of Community General Hospital with Upstate Medical University is the right decision for Syracuse and Central New York.

-- Steven J. Infanti Sr. is chair of Community General Hospital’s board of directors.

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