Arnot Ogden, St. Joseph's Hospital Agree to Enhance Medicaid Primary Care Services at Their Facilities

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 2, 2007) – State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., announced today that Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph's Hospital have complied with the mandates of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, known as the Berger Commission.

The Commission recommendations, which became law in January, required that Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph's Hospital participate in discussions supervised by the Commissioner of Health to explore the affiliation of both facilities to end the medical arms race in Elmira that is expending resources on duplicative services.

Health Department staff actively supervised the last nine months of discussions between the two facilities. The resultant agreement for enhanced primary care services to Medicaid patients at each site, and to create standardized best practices, meets the definition of affiliation under the Commission report.

"The Commission recommendation provided the ground work for meaningful change for Arnot Ogden and St. Joseph's Hospital, as competition for medical services has been particularly fierce between these facilities," Commissioner Daines said. "We had hoped for more, and consider this agreement a missed opportunity to more fully integrate facilities to improve care. While this agreement meets the letter of the Berger Commission recommendations, we will continue to facilitate discussions between the two hospitals to further improve the quality of health care of the Elmira community."

The facilities' proposals to create transition care units and certified home health agencies were denied as these programs are currently capped by law.

If the Commissioner had determined that either facility had failed to participate in discussions in good faith, he had authority to close that facility and expand the other.