Albany Med, Columbia Memorial to align

Albany Medical Center and Columbia Memorial Hospital announced Tuesday they are seeking approvals to

Another month, another health care alliance.

Albany Medical Center and Columbia Memorial Hospital announced Tuesday they are seeking approvals to form a strategic alliance that will allow better coordination of care for residents of Columbia and Greene counties.

In the past few months, several Capital Region hospitals have announced alliances, including Ellis Medicine of Schenectady and St. Peter’s Health Partners of Albany, and Glens Falls and Saratoga hospitals.

The boards of Albany Med and Columbia Memorial have agreed to move toward an alliance that would allow each institution to better coordinate clinical care, develop care integration practices and find operational efficiencies. The goal is to ensure that residents of the upper Hudson Valley have continued high-quality preventative and primary care and expanded access to specialty care services.

Albany Medical Center serves Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington counties with a 734-bed hospital, medical college and physicians practice. Hudson-based Columbia Memorial serves Columbia, Greene and Dutchess counties with a 192-bed acute care hospital, 120-bed long-term care site and 26 primary- and specialty-care centers. The two hospitals are just more than 30 miles apart.

“In building its local health care system, Columbia Memorial, like Albany Med, has taken important steps to succeed in a world where reimbursement models are beginning to reward and emphasize clinical effectiveness and positive outcomes,” said Steven Frisch, executive vice president and hospital systems general director at Albany Med. “Working together will help enable both institutions to move further in this direction under regionally based governance.”

The boards, medical staffs, employees and fundraising arms of each institution would remain separate under this structure, which requires state Department of Health approval. Such alliances are becoming more common as health care providers and hospital systems adjust to the changing landscape under President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

“We already work very closely with Albany Medical Center on specific service lines,” said Columbia Memorial President and CEO Jay P. Cahalan in a news release. “These discussions will allow us to explore how we might build on that relationship. We are confident that, together, we will find new ways to continue the very best patient care possible for the communities we serve.”

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