GLENS FALLS — One significant change in the Glens Falls health care landscape has been approved and another has been proposed:
The state Department of Health on Wednesday granted contingent approval to a proposed affiliation between Glens Falls Hospital and Albany Medical Center, with Albany Med becoming the parent organization.
And on Friday, the DOH received a request from Saratoga Hospital to build a hospital extension clinic 1.8 miles from Glens Falls Hospital at a projected cost of $7.18 million.
Both moves had been expected.
The two hospitals on Oct. 25 had reached agreement to affiliate as an efficiency measure, a way to maintain their services and care amid ever-increasing financial, regulatory and technological demands.
Albany Med had previously completed affiliation agreements with Saratoga Hospital and Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson with similar stated goals. With the addition of Glens Falls Hospital, Albany Med will have a health network with thousands of employees and scores of facilities spanning 110 miles from Red Hook to Whitehall.
Glens Falls Hospital will remain a separate nonprofit organization headquartered at the 391-bed facility on Park Street in Glens Falls.
However, Albany Med will gain significant measures of control over Glens Falls Hospital, including approval of its annual and long-term budgets and strategic plans; power to change or discard its bylaws; approval over dissolution, sale or merger of all assets; power to appoint and remove top executives; approval of naming and branding of facilities; and extensive approval power over expenditures.
Both organizations will have representation on each other’s boards.
Saratoga Hospital in 2017 acquired the former Carl R’s restaurant in Queensbury on Main Street at the foot of the northbound off-ramp for Northway Exit 18. It said it would use the site for medical specialties to be announced later.
In an application received Friday by the DOH, Saratoga Hospital proposes to spend $7,175,068 to build the Saratoga Hospital Medical Center - Queensbury on the site.
It would be a facility for primary care as well as medical specialties, and would be certified to Article 28 standards, which allow the operator to claim higher reimbursement rates from some insurers. In Saratoga Hospital’s request for the state to issue a certificate of need, the stated goal is to preserve access to primary care. This is a priority for the healthcare industry, as it shifts the emphasis to keeping healthy people healthy instead of making sick people well, with resulting decreases in costs and illnesses.
Saratoga Hospital adds a caveat in its application: The facility is expected to start off in the red, with expenses exceeding revenue for at least its first three years.
It said it will defray the anticipated losses with increased volumes of ancillary services such as lab work and imaging, and by transferring funds from other operations that are profitable.