Another hospital in upstate New York has joined the University of Vermont Health Network, making it the fifth hospital to join the state’s largest health system and the third from the Empire State.
The newest member is Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, a community hospital with 780 workers, 76 inpatient beds and an $87 million operating budget, according to the UVM Health Network.
Alice Hyde will remain a free-standing hospital with a board of directors and medical staff but will come under the UVM Health Network’s oversight and have seats on the network’s board of trustees, according to a UVM Health statement.
The four other members of the system are the UVM Medical Center in Burlington; Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin; Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York; and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Elizabethtown, New York.
The UVM Health Network said it and Alice Hyde started exploring the affiliation in April 2015 and reached an agreement in October. The New York State Department of Health approved the deal Feb. 11. The New York state attorney general and Department of State then approved the deal.
The news of Alice Hyde joining the network comes about six weeks after the UVM Health Network acquired an orthopedic surgery practice in South Burlington and Central Vermont Medical Center acquired an orthopedic surgery practice in Berlin.
The Vermont Legislature spent part of the 2016 session shining a light on hospital and practice acquisitions, saying mergers can increase out-of-pocket costs for patients. A bill that would require patient notification in Vermont, S.245, is headed to Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk.
Alice Hyde has been affiliated with the UVM Medical Center since 1997, according to the network, and the Burlington and Plattsburgh hospitals have sent specialists to Malone to treat patients. In other cases, patients traveled to Burlington or Plattsburgh.
Now as a member of the larger system, the network said, Alice Hyde will “benefit from significantly greater purchasing and negotiating power,” better information technology, better academic opportunities for doctors, and joint quality initiatives.
“When we work together, our patients benefit,” Dr. John Brumsted, the CEO of the UVM Health Network, said in a statement. “Our goal is to improve the quality of the health care services we offer through collaboration on joint clinical initiatives, and to integrate clinical services to improve quality and access.”
Douglas DiVello, the CEO of Alice Hyde, said in a statement: “Patients at Alice Hyde are already receiving specialty care from other providers here at our facility. Countless members of our local community have benefited from this affiliation to date, and our patients will continue to see more benefits as our relationship gets stronger.”
Stephens Mundy, the CEO of Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, said: “Because of our collaboration with Alice Hyde Medical Center, patients are able to see their specialist closer to home.” He pointed to a cardiologist who sees patients in Malone so they don’t have to travel to Plattsburgh.