Sunday, June 12, 2011

The vote to approve

On Friday morning the Upstate Medical University's Certificate of Need (CON) application was the “main event” at a committee of the newly-reconstituted Public Health and Health Planning Council of the Department of Health.

The Establishment and Project Review Committee voted to approve Upstate’s application, a significant step in completing the combination with Community General Hospital.

The CON discussion took the greater part of an hour as committee members reviewed the transaction, considered the financial arrangements, heard about union issues, and considered what was best for the community.

The Department of Health noted that Community General’s services are essential in the area, and it specifically made reference to emergency capacity with Syracuse hospital emergency departments full to overflowing with some frequency.

Apart from the financial issues and policy questions involving the State University of New York (Upstate is part of the SUNY system), a committee member asked about the role and decision-making of Community General’s board of directors.

I explained that Community's board had considered the question of a strategic affiliation for several years, engaging outside consultants and undertaking extensive merger discussions with Crouse Hospital -- before deciding that the community’s interests would be best served by the combination with Upstate.

The support from the community-at-large was also well-established. Dr. John McCabe, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, explained that the combination has been endorsed by all local review panels -- the Central New York Health Systems Agency, the Hospital Executive Council, and the Affiliation Council that involves Upstate and Crouse Hospital (formed as a result of the state’s Berger Commission).

The Department of Health noted the support for this arrangement from health insurers, as well.

Last week was the debut meeting of the Council after it has been reorganized by New York State. New Council members were appointed by the Governor in May, and the State Senate moved promptly to approve them in time for a series of meetings this month. The Department of Health digested a voluminous amount of information to get ready for the committee review.

All of us at Community are very grateful for the cooperation and the time and effort devoted to this important project by state officials and by the Council members.

No comments: