St. Peter’s Health Partners combines leadership with Syracuse health network

PHOTOGRAPHER:

ALBANY — St. Peter’s Health Partners in Albany is combining management teams with St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse.

The two regional health systems are not merging — they are already corporate siblings, both operated by Michigan-based Trinity Health. 

But a handful of upper management personnel at both organizations will see their positions eliminated as part of the transition. SPHP’s current top leadership will be heading the combined regional organization effective July 1.

Trinity Health Chief Operating Officer Benjamin Carter announced the changes in an internal memo Wednesday. He said COVID-19 and its economic impact on the healthcare industry forced the move.

“While we expected and planned for the changes a global pandemic would bring, the negative impact and lasting effects are much greater than anyone imagined,” he wrote. “Nationwide, hospitals are experiencing broad shifts in patient volumes, staffing challenges including high-cost agency contracts and increasing supply and pharmacy costs.”

Carter said Trinity decided to consolidate the two ministries into one regional ministry to create a more efficient, cost-effective and integrated system. It will help ensure the legacies of St. Peter’s and St. Joe’s endure, he added.

SPHP and Ellis Medicine of Schenectady had been pursuing a merger but put it on hold until Ellis could stabilize and rebuild its finances, which were rocked when the pandemic hit. In the interim, the two entered a management agreement by which many of Ellis’ administrative functions are performed by SPHP.

St. Joseph’s Health is a 4,000-employee network covering a band of central New York from Pennsylvania to Canada with an array of primary and specialty care locations anchored by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse.

SPHP is larger, with roughly 11,000 employees in more than 185 locations, but it is concentrated in a smaller region anchored by St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.

SPHP President and CEO Dr. Jim Reed and SPHP Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steven Hanks will continue in those roles with the combined regional entity until Reed’s planned retirement Dec. 31, at which time Hanks will become president and CEO.

Les Luke, who was president and CEO of St. Joe’s, will depart the combined organization after a transition period.

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