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The University of Rochester Medical Center has inked a collaborative agreement with Jones Memorial Hospital, officials said Monday.
Located some 90 miles from Rochester in Wellsville, Allegany County, Jones Memorial has used URMC cardiology services for the past 12 years. The new pact calls for the 70-bed Wellsville hospital and URMC to maintain at least three collaborative services but gives Jones Memorial the option of striking deals with other health care organizations.
“Having access to (URMC’s) services and academic resources will benefit our entire community,” Jones Memorial CEO Eve Benedict said. “The experience that we have had with them on the cardiology service line has been excellent and we look forward to extending it to other specialties as well.”
The agreement—the latest of several similar deals URMC has struck—follows pacts the medical center concluded with Thompson Health in Canandaigua, Ontario County, Lakeside Health System in Brockport and Nicholas Noyes Hospital in Dansville, Livingston County.
Such arrangements between small rural and suburban community hospitals and larger city hospitals are becoming increasingly common as outlying facilities face relatively low occupancies, struggle to maintain equipment and physical plants, and often have difficulty attracting staff. United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia and Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca have collaborative arrangements with Rochester General Health System, for example.
“Jones Memorial is a first-rate hospital with an excellent medical staff and we are pleased to have them in the URMC family,” URMC vice president Steven Goldstein said. “For us, this is all about finding ways to maximize the resources of an academic medical center to bring the best possible care to local communities.”
Telemedicine is to be a key component of the URMC/Jones Memorial collaboration, officials of both organizations said.
Jones Memorial is installing LifeImage, an information technology system for uploading real-time images. It plans the system to be a first step toward outfitting the Wellsville hospital with more extensive telemedicine capabilities, Benedict said.
Jones Memorial’s telemedicine expansion will be paid for partially by $1.3 million the hospital recently won from the state under New York’s Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law. The HEAL NY grant comes as part of a program to boost inter-hospital collaborations by funding IT upgrades needed to install telemedicine systems.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, on Tuesday highlighted rural facilities’ plight, appearing in Albion to speak in favor of extending a special Medicare rate for rural hospitals. Flanked by the CEOs of Nicholas Noyes, Wyoming County Community Hospital and Orleans Community Health, Schumer touted legislation he is co-sponsoring with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to extend the Medicare Low Volume Hospital program for a year.
Nicholas Noyes, Wyoming County and Orleans Community Health stand to lose some $1.8 million, $628,500, $744,000 and $416,000 if the measure lapses, Schumer said.
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