Elizabethtown Community Hospital
Elizabethtown Community Hospital will soon be a part of a four-hospital network including facilities in Clinton County and Vermont.
The hospital, along with Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, agreed in principle to a four-hospital affiliation under Fletcher Allen Partners, the parent organization of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Vt. and Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) in Berlin, Vt.
The two New York hospitals are run under the umbrella of Community Providers, Inc.
“I am hopeful that an agreement will be reached and am excited about the possibilities that this affiliation could provide our area residents, employees and physicians,” ECH Executive Director Rod Boula said. “ECH is a strong organization and partnering with other strong organizations like Fletcher Allen Partners will help serve our local community members through access to specialists, including the use of telemedicine, the potential of adding clinical rotations for primary care physicians and providing ECH with access to capital so that expansion projects or major equipment purchases can be easily undertaken.”
Boula said that he hoped the partnership would help the hospitals increase the level of care to patients.
“This is all being done in an effort to enhance our primary care services, closer to home for our Essex County residents and visitors,” Boula said.
Boula spoke recently about a grant the hospital had received to improve their telemedicine capabilities, which include Emergency Room link-up with Fletcher Allen.
ECH currently has telemedicine technology in its chemotherapy department and also uses the technology to communicate with Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington when it comes to stroke patients. Boula said that the grant will increase the capabilities within the hospital as well.
“This will be all state-of-the-art systems that will connect us with the emergency rooms at Fletcher Allen and CVPH as well as to our health centers,” Boula said. “It’s not Skype; it’s all high definition and top of the field.”
The purpose of the proposed affiliation is to establish a coordinated, highly integrated health care system that will improve quality, increase access, and lower costs of health care in the communities served by the four hospitals in Vermont and upstate New York.
The letter of intent was unanimously approved earlier this month by the boards of trustees of both Fletcher Allen Partners and CPI.
“Pursuing an affiliation with Fletcher Allen Partners is a wonderful opportunity for CVPH Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital and the thousands of North Country residents that we serve,” Stephens Mundy, President and CEO of CPI and CVPH, said. “This proposed affiliation would increase access to care, enhance quality and provide much needed services more cost effectively than if we continued to operate without such collaboration.”
Mundy added that the agreement would add to work already being done between CVPH and Vermont.
“CVPH’s recent cardiac surgery affiliation with Fletcher Allen is just the first of many initiatives that we expect to occur which will expand our communities’ access to care closer to home,” he said.