Health Care

UVM Health Network affiliate to build new facility in NY

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh will spend $4.7 million on a new primary care building in partnership with local community health centers, a spokesperson says.

Construction is set to start this fall on a 19,000-square-foot primary care office building in Plattsburgh in partnership with Hudson Headwaters Health Network, a Queensbury, New York-based group of federally qualified community health centers.

UVM Health Network
UVM President Tom Sullivan, left, and UVM Health Network CEO John Brumsted. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger
Hudson Headwaters has 17 different community health centers, mainly providing primary care services. About 1,000 patients use the facilities each day, and the facilities get up to 350,000 patient visits per year, according to the website.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, or CVPH, is the second-largest hospital in the University of Vermont Health Network, behind the UVM Medical Center. The hospital has 300 beds and an annual budget that has ranged from $225 million to $300 million in recent years.

By comparison, the Rutland Regional Medical Center, which is not part of the UVM Health Network, has fewer beds and an annual budget in the ballpark of $250 million. The Rutland hospital is Vermont’s second largest hospital, after the UVM Medical Center.

CVPH has lost millions of dollars in recent years. The hospital posted operating deficits in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 of $2.4 million and $7.9 million, respectively, according to information from the UVM Health Network. The information shows that CVPH is making money again in fiscal year 2017.

The new primary care facility will be attached to an existing ambulatory _ or outpatient _ surgical center owned by CVPH that is about a mile-and-a-half from the hospital’s main campus, according to Dr. Kent Hall, the chief medical officer at CVPH.

The site is a refurbished strip mall that currently offers a broad range of diagnostic services, in addition to surgical procedures, according to Hall. CVPH also owns two practices in primary care and pathology near the ambulatory surgical center.

Hall called it a “natural area” for the hospital to build a new practice. “What we’re doing is building an addition onto that building, onto the ambulatory surgery center, which would be the Hudson Headwaters Medical Center,” he said.

Chris Blake, the spokesperson for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, said the total cost of the project is $8.3 million. The majority of that sum, $4.7 million, will be funded by the hospital, Blake said. The remaining $3.6 million will come from a New York State Department of Health grant, she said.

Michael Carrese, the spokesperson for the UVM Health Network, said the network is not providing any funding for the building. “We’re very pleased to see this project move forward because it is so important that everyone have access to primary care regardless of their ability to pay,” he added.

Hudson Headwaters will run the building under its operating license with the state of New York but pay rent to CVPH for use of the building, according to Trip Shannon, the chief development officer for Hudson Headwaters.

“It’s being designed to provide primary care services and integrated behavioral health,” Shannon said. “They will be our landlord, and other services that our patients need will be available right next door.”

Shannon said CVPH and the UVM Health Network has identified a primary care shortage in the area. Hudson Headwaters currently has no presence in Plattsburgh, according to Shannon, and will need to recruit doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other providers to work at the new clinic.

Shannon said Hudson Headwaters has been strengthening its relationship with the UVM Health Network, and the new building will take that relationship further.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a great relationship. Certainly there’s a need in Plattsburgh and we’re looking forward to filling that need.”

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