The state Health Department has approved the planned affiliation between Saratoga Hospital and Albany Medical Center.
The affiliation, which was announced last year pending state regulatory approval, was okayed Thursday by the state Public Health and Health Planning Council, which met in Albany. That gives the hospitals the clearance to go forward.
The two hospitals said their new connection will create a more efficient health care system and improved access to specialty care for residents of Saratoga County.
“Together, Albany Medical Center and Saratoga Hospital have demonstrated that partnership is good medicine,” said James J. Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center. “The affiliation approved today will allow our organizations to continue to make the highest quality medical services in the region more accessible to more of our residents.”
The affiliation agreement is based on a parent model, with Albany Medical Center the active parent corporation. Saratoga Hospital will remain a community-based hospital with local governance. Both organizations will have representation on each other’s boards of directors.
No changes in bed count, services or employment levels are expected. Albany Medical Center has 734 beds, and Saratoga Hospital has 171 beds, but has invested heavily in recent years in new operating rooms, a new intensive care unit, and a new emergency room.
Saratoga Hospital also has several satellite facilities, including Malta Med Emergency Care, where staffs of the two hospitals already work in close consultation.
Saratoga Hospital officials have said the affiliation will give the smaller hospital the resources to perform complex community health assessments and offer advanced medical care such as interventional cardiology.
“Today’s approval is the next milestone in executing our working partnership,” said Angelo Calbone, president and CEO of Saratoga Hospital. “We have worked hard to establish a relationship mutually respectful of the strengths of each institution to continue to improve and grow the patient care services we provide to our communities.”
Albany Medical Center has negotiated a similar affiliation arrangement with another smaller community hospital, Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.