ALBANY — Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson will join Albany Medical Center under the new Albany Med Health System, Medical Center President and CEO Dr. Dennis McKenna announced at a press conference Monday.
The partnership will also include Saratoga Hospital, Glens Falls Hospital and the System’s Visiting Nurses, providing an extensive regional health care network from the mid-Hudson Valley to the North Country.
The four hospitals and the Visiting Nurses will share a common visual identity anchored by the Albany Med Health System name. The brand will also convey the collaborative extension of adult and pediatric specialties from the hospitals to the community-based locations and to the home.
“Our people are the backbone of our brand,” said McKenna, who will serve as president and CEO of Albany Med Health System. “We are one team, 16,000 professionals strong, standing ready to care for the 3 million people of our region.”
The System consists of 1,520 beds, nearly 100 specialties, 800 physicians and 125 locations including the region’s only children’s hospital, the Visiting Nurses, Albany Medical College and a biomedical research enterprise.
“Columbia Memorial Health is proud of the progress made in building our system,” CMH President and CEO Jay P. Cahalan said. “Connecting our services and clinicians means better care coordination for our patients.”
A public awareness campaign with the tagline “With You for Everything” launched at the press conference is emblematic of the moments when life and medicine intersect, McKenna said. Hospital names will remain the same and outdoor signage showing the changeover to the System will begin in 2023.
System hospitals will reinforce their connection through a unified electronic medical record. The introduction of Epic, which will be used across the System, allows for a patient’s entire health story, with security and accuracy, to be accessible to any clinician they see within the System.
“A common, integrated electronic medical record will play a key role in fulfilling the promise of the Albany Med Health System — increased collaboration, more timely diagnoses and enhanced, coordinated care,” Saratoga Hospital President and CEO Jill Johnson VanKuren said.
Formation of Albany Med Health System comes as health care providers locally and nationwide work more closely together to face mounting financial and staffing pressures.
“The ‘Great Resignation’ spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic led to record numbers of nurses and other staff leaving the health care industry, forcing nonprofit hospitals to turn to for-profit temporary staffing agencies,” McKenna said. “These agencies have increased their hourly rate by 213% compared to pre-pandemic levels in January 2019, leaving hospitals which historically operate on thin financial margins with significant financial losses.”
The expanded partnership makes Albany Med Health System the largest and only locally governed health care system and the region’s largest private employer, McKenna said.
“With leadership in our own hometowns, all decisions are made here, not elsewhere,” he said. “Our patients have guided our growth and we will remain the team you trust now and for many years to come.”
Albany Medical Center recently eliminated 37 positions as part of a restructuring plan they hope will increase revenue in the future. Albany Med Health System spokesman Matt Markham said no layoffs or job cuts are anticipated at Columbia Memorial Health as part of the partnership.