Benedictine-Kingston Hospitals to Share $47.6 Million to Implement Berger Measures

Albany, NY (Sept. 20, 2007) - Today New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced that Kingston Hospital and Benedictine Hospital will share $47.6 million in state funding to assist the facilities in joining under a unified governance and meeting other requirements of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, known as the Berger Commission.

The Berger Commission recommendations, which became law in January, required that Kingston and Benedictine hospitals join under a single, unified governance structure, which would be licensed to operate 250 to 300 inpatient beds, a decrease from the total 367 beds currently licensed between the two facilities. The Berger law also requires that Kingston Hospital continue to offer reproductive services at a location proximate to the hospital.

The $47.6 million in grants will supplement spending by the facilities to retire their long-term debt, with $4.1 million designated for the development of a new Foxhall Ambulatory Surgery Center to provide reproductive services in the region.

"This funding will give the new, unified entity the financial strength it needs to finance other consolidation costs as the consolidation of services progresses," said state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "The leadership of Kingston Hospital and Benedictine Hospital, indeed the entire community, are to be commended for coming together to deal with some difficult and sensitive issues, and in the end developing a model health care organization that will best meet the needs of area residents, including the full range of reproductive health care services."

David D. Brown IV, Executive Director of the Dormitory Authority, said: "The Dormitory Authority is pleased to assist these hospitals in establishing a financial foundation for joining together to provide improved health care in the City of Kingston and the surrounding community."

"The nonpartisan commission that handed up the Berger recommendations had a simple goal: to reform New York's health-care system to improve quality and affordability and to make it more responsive to current health-care needs," said Commissioner Daines.

The award is the second grant to be approved by the Department of Health and the State Dormitory Authority from $550 million in funding designated for assisting hospitals and nursing homes in implementing the provisions of the Berger Commission. The funding was made available through the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY) and the Federal-State Health Reform Partnership (F-SHRP). Over the coming weeks the State Health Department will be announcing additional grants as award decisions are made.

Commissioner Daines said that implementing the Berger recommendations will make New York's hospitals and nursing homes financially stronger, as they will experience higher occupancy rates, which in turn will allow them to upgrade their facilities to provide modern technology and patient conveniences.