State funding eyed for Amsterdam hospital merger

Administrators at Amsterdam Memorial and St. Mary’s hospitals are drafting applications to go after

Administrators at Amsterdam Memorial and St. Mary’s hospitals are drafting applications to go after millions of dollars in funding to support their plans for a merger.

The state Health Department last week announced $250 million is being made available through the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers, or HEAL-NY.

The money is part of the state’s goal to restructure the state’s health care system through an emphasis on improving primary care, eliminating unneeded bed space and reducing reliance on inpatient care in hospitals and nursing homes, according to the state Health Department’s grant announcement.

Amsterdam hospital officials in August signed an agreement to pursue an affiliation that is expected to include facility upgrades costing $30 million or more. During a series of public updates last fall, hospital officials identified the securing of financial assistance as the next critical step in their plans.

Amsterdam Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Rana Huber said Thursday the team of administrators is pursuing both phases of the newly announced grant funding, HEAL-NY Phase 6 and HEAL-NY Phase 7.

Phase 6 grants will provide up to $100 million total for proposals aimed at improving or expanding primary care in outpatient settings and hospital extension clinics, according to the state Health Department.

The Phase 6 funding will pay for new facility construction, renovation and upgrades, equipment and fees related to training and consultant work, according to the Health Department.

The Phase 7 funding will provide $150 million in grants to help hospitals and nursing homes implement collaboration agreements to eliminate excess capacity and improve efficiency, according to the state Health Department.

A good fit?

Both funding streams appear to support plans developing at the Amsterdam hospitals, Huber said.

“Certainly, I think the merger we’re working toward would fit under the parameters,” she said.

Huber said it’s unclear yet how much the hospitals will request for the project.

St. Mary’s Hospital already made at least one change related to the merger plans by moving its rehabilitation center to the Riverfront Center in Amsterdam.

Hospital representatives in the past said Amsterdam Memorial Hospital is expected to take on the task of outpatient rehabilitation and imaging services following the merger, while retaining its niche programs, including the diabetes center and the nursing home.

If the merger is successful, the hospitals would consolidate laboratory and general anesthesia services at St. Mary’s Hospital.

The grant applications are due in April, Huber said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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