The "hospital-without-walls" idea pioneered by two Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hospitals is being replicated by other acute-care providers in New York's Hudson River Valley region.
Under such a plan, a corporation is created to conduct joint planning and ventures for hospitals that retain their separate identities and governance.
Later this week, Kingston Hospital and Benedictine Hospital, which are two blocks from one another in Kingston, N.Y., will announce the creation of North Valley Regional Health Systems, a joint corporation to oversee planning and create clinical centers of excellence at the two hospitals.
Like Poughkeepsie's Mid-Hudson Medical Center, formed in 1992 by Saint Francis Hospital and Vassar Brothers Hospital, North Valley Regional will be governed by a board representing both institutions.
But North Valley is designed to have more control and oversight than Mid-Hudson, said Thomas Dee, Benedictine's executive vice president. For example, the corporation will approve certificate-of-need applications and is looking at sharing some management staff and creating a single, unified medical staff, he said. More than 90% of the two hospitals' physicians have privileges at both hospitals, a Benedictine spokeswoman said.
Under previous management, the hospitals have tried, and failed, to work together, but now it's a matter of survival, said Anthony P. Marmo, Kingston's chief executive officer. "If we don't do this, one or the other hospital just won't make it," he said.
A certificate-of-need application for approval of North Valley Regional will be filed with the state on Sept. 30.
Separately, St. Luke's Hospital in Newburgh, N.Y., and Cornwall (N.Y.) Hospital also are seeking to form their own hospital without walls.