GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls Hospital has formally requested permission from the state Department of Health to make Albany Medical Center its parent organization.
Albany Med is already at the heart of the largest hospital network in the Capital Region, having completed similar affiliation agreements with Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson in 2015 and Saratoga Hospital in 2016. The three now have a combined 14,175 employees across scores of locations.
Bringing Glens Falls into the fold would create a collective entity with nearly 17,000 employees and a facility footprint stretching 110 miles from Red Hook to Whitehall.
Glens Falls Hospital and Albany Med began discussing an affiliation last year and announced this autumn that they’d reached a deal. The formal application was received Friday by the state.
Glens Falls in the paperwork describes the desired role for Albany Med as “active parent/co-operator.”
An affiliation between the two hospitals would be expected to offer advantages such as economy of scale, increased resources and greater bargaining power. Hospitals that affiliate may be able to wield greater influence and bargaining power, sometimes at the expense of health insurers.
Glens Falls in its application for a state Certificate of Need for the affiliation said the resulting expanded, efficient, cost-effective care-delivery systems would better serve the community. It adds that there would be no reduction in the number of beds at the hospital or the array of services it offers.
In its September announcement of the agreement to affiliate, Glens Falls Hospital said nothing would change for patients, the community, or the roughly 2,500 hospital employees.
The arrangement also requires federal approval.
Glens Falls is one of the last independent hospitals in the greater Capital Region. St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam is part of the Ascension network; Cobleskill Hospital belongs to the Bassett Healthcare Network; and most of the rest are part of St. Peter’s Health Partners or affiliated with Albany Med.
That leaves Nathan Littauer in Gloversville and Ellis Medicine in Schenectady as independents.
Ellis Medicine carries an asterisk as an independent — it is the product of a merger of three hospitals: Bellevue, St. Clare’s and Ellis.
Also, it progressed fairly far along in merger/affiliation discussions with other entities before deciding last year to remain independent.
The proposal submitted to the state would give Albany Med significant powers in the operation of Glens Falls Hospital, including:
Approval of its budgets, strategic plans and Board of Governors appointments; right to amend, repeal or replace its bylaws; appointment or removal of top executives; approval of naming and branding of facilities; and serving as the single contracting authority for its purchasing activities.
Each hospital would have seats on the other’s board of directors.