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Batavia's UMMC, Clifton Springs Hospital to join Rochester Regional Health System

Rochester Business Journal
July 23, 2014

Rochester Regional Health System has inked definitive agreements laying out terms for Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center and Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic in Ontario County to join RRHS, officials of the health care organizations said Wednesday.

The mergers still await final approvals from state and federal regulators. They are expected to be finalized by the end of this year.

The addition of UMMC and Clifton Springs Hospital would make RRHS—itself newly formed with the July 1 merger of Unity Health System and Rochester General Health System—into a five-hospital regional health system with facilities including physician practices, nursing homes and ACM Medical Laboratory Inc., a roughly $100 million for-profit medical testing and clinical trials laboratory in four counties.

Prior to the Unity/RGHS merger, UMMC and Clifton Springs Hospital had signed merger agreements with RGHS, which had provided staff and resources to both hospitals.

Such arrangements between larger health systems and outlying community hospitals and smaller rural health system have become increasingly common.

The University of Rochester Medical Center last year joined with Thompson Health in Canandaigua and also made an alliance with Dansville’s Nicholas Health in rural Livingston County. Continuing an arrangement that traces back to RGHS, RRHS provides services to the Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca.  

“As health care reform continues to cause the most sweeping changes to the hospital industry in more than a century, rural hospitals in particular are struggling throughout the U.S,” said RRHS co-CEO Mark Clement, who as RGHS CEO negotiated the UMMC and Clifton Springs merger deals.

Pressures on smaller, outlying hospitals include falling occupancy rates and consequent revenue decline at the same time as reform ushers in new, less generous provider-reimbursement schemes and requires heavy investment in information technology.  

The same pressures and challenges to a degree also bear down on larger and more financially stable urban-centered health systems.

In his former role as Unity CEO, RRHS co-CEO Warren Hern cited the more than 5,000 employee Unity’s lack of sufficient scale as one of the chief drivers of Unity’s decision some 18 months ago to merge with RGHS.

Hern and Clement—who have both agreed to step down five months from now to make way for a new, yet-to-be named RRHS CEO—have acknowledged that integrating RRHS’ many parts into a functioning whole will pose its own challenges and likely take many months to accomplish.

Still, they have predicted, once the health system comes together, it will ensure delivery of high quality care across a 14-county swath of the Rochester and Finger Lakes regions.   

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.
 



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