Rochester General Health System and Clifton Springs Hospital Announce Full Affiliation Plans

September 20, 2013

As its latest step toward building an innovative and integrated regional health care delivery system, Rochester General Health System announces the creation of a partnership with Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. This agreement begins the process of making the Ontario County hospital a fully integrated affiliate of RGHS.

Over the past year, a steering committee made up of board leaders and executives from both organizations met to evaluate the benefits of a partnership. The boards of CSHC and RGHS independently reviewed the steering committee’s findings earlier this month and both unanimously agreed to move forward with plans to pursue the affiliation.

Joining a larger health system ensures the ability of CSHC to continue high-quality care to local patients within the changing landscape of health care reform.

“Clifton Springs Hospital is an important part of this community and has a long history of receiving top marks in quality and patient satisfaction,” said Mark Clement, RGHS president and CEO. “Having such a highly regarded hospital affiliate in Ontario County will enable RGHS to continue our progress toward building a regional integrated health care delivery system focused on improving quality, efficiency, affordability and patient access, as well as managing and improving the health of the population.”

In 2007, RGHS began the work of integrating its health care delivery system with Newark-Wayne Community Hospital. Since then, the facility has cared for a growing number of residents locally due to expansion of clinical services --experiencing a 39 percent increase in acute care discharges, a 25 percent increase in emergency department traffic, and a 93 percent increase in surgeries, all while reducing the expected mortality index by more than half, to a 2013 index of .61.  More than 150 physicians have been added at NWCH during that period.

Our leadership team and board chose RGHS because of its proven track record for helping affiliated hospitals pursue their community-centered missions,” stated Lew Zulick, MD, interim CEO, Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. “We are impressed by the growth and quality improvements at Newark-Wayne Community Hospital following its affiliation with RGHS. That record, coupled with RGHS’s outstanding reputation for quality and service, made RGHS the obvious partner.”

The announcement today mirrors a trend among hospitals and health care systems nationwide. Community hospitals continue to be impacted by changes in the business of health care, and fewer and fewer can commit to providing a wide breadth of specialized services. Today, quality health care delivery is realized through integration and providing seamless access to specialized services across locations. This approach addresses the economic realities that community hospitals face with health care reform, while ensuring patients have an immediate gateway to the best clinical care.

“The significant financial pressure on smaller rural hospitals is resulting in closures across the country and even in our own backyard,” Clement said. “In the face of health care reform, forward- thinking rural hospitals are increasingly choosing to align with larger-scale health care systems that can provide the experience and highly specialized expertise necessary to deal with this rapid change and the dizzying array of new issues and challenges, offer them depth of clinical specialties and technology, and enable them to achieve efficiencies while staying focused on providing personalized care to their patients.”

In this affiliation agreement, CSHC will maintain and expand clinical services that are important to  the Clifton Springs community, while offering its patients the expertise of the system’s nationally-recognized programs and providers, including the Sands-Constellation Heart Institute – recognized as the best in cardiac care in New York and ranked among the top four nationally for three consecutive years by Delta CareChex quality rating group – and RGHS’s state-of-the-art clinical and EMR technology.

RGHS also plans to support recruitment of physicians to Clifton Springs in targeted service lines and provide direct support and access to services in key areas that will strengthen CSHC’s ability to deliver the highest-quality, most compassionate care.

CSHC will maintain its name and a local board, and will continue its longstanding tradition of providing complimentary medicine after the affiliation is formalized.

Leadership teams from both organizations will work closely together to create a formal affiliation plan and complete the required regulatory approval process, which is expected to take three to six months.

Pursuing an affiliation with CSHC aligns with and is complementary to RGHS’s current merger plans with Unity Health System. Clifton Springs would become the fourth high-quality, integrated hospital in the planned new system, positioning the organization created from the RGHS/Unity merger to offer convenient access to exceptional, high-value care to patients throughout Monroe, Ontario and Wayne Counties.