Leaders at Albany Medical Center and Glens Falls Hospital were reluctant to issue a news release Thursday. They wanted to announce that the hospitals would start identifying ways to collaborate more, but they didn’t have a formal plan and didn’t even know which programs or specialties on which they might collaborate.
In the spirit of forthrightness, though, and in an effort to energize the conversation, the hospitals decided to announce the idea.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface,” said Glens Falls Hospital CEO David Kruczlnicki. “We’re just starting. We haven’t even had our first meeting of the steering committee.”
The two hospitals began discussing the idea just a few months ago and secured approval from their respective boards to begin a more formal process. A leadership committee made up of administrators and physicians from each hospital will identify and prioritize new opportunities for collaboration between the two organizations.
The hospitals already collaborate on several specialties — emergency medicine, neonatal care and interventional cardiology. Some of these relationships go back a dozen years; others go back several decades.
But it wasn’t until the passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act that collaboration among hospitals, physician groups and health insurance providers went into overdrive.
“It is clear that in order to most effectively meet patient needs in the future amidst the many challenges facing health care, collaborative partnerships with other leading health care providers will be key,” said Kruczlnicki in the Thursday release.
He called the new look at collaboration a “logical extension” of the two hospitals’ history of working together.
It is unclear just where the hospitals are looking to collaborate. Glens Falls Hospital serves a huge, six-county region in the southern Adirondacks, and Albany Med serves an extensive 25 counties primarily in northeastern New York. The latter also includes a college and biomedical research center.
Leaders from both hospitals will meet in a few weeks to exchange ideas that will increase access to care, strengthen the quality of care and reduce costs.
“As the region’s only academic health sciences center, it is our mission to pursue partnerships that will provide educational opportunities and enhance access to care of the highest quality,” Albany Med President and CEO James Barba said in the release. “We pursue partnerships which allow the needs of three million residents in our 25-county service area to be met completely. We believe discussions with Glens Falls Hospital promise to result in innovation and improvements in patient care.”