State Health Commissioner Announces Commission to Create a Sustainable, Integrated Health Care System for New York's North Country

North Country Health Systems Redesign Commission appointed

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 2, 2013) — New York State Department of Health Commissioner, Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., today announced the formation of the North Country Health Systems Redesign Commission (NCHSRC). The goal of the NCHSRC is to create an effective, integrated health care delivery system for preventative, medical, behavioral, and long term care services to all communities throughout New York's North Country.

Healthcare providers in the North Country are faced with several challenges including a shortage of physicians and other primary care practitioners as well as fragmented, widely dispersed services. Moreover, the continuing transition of medical, behavioral, and long term care services to outpatient settings is threatening the fiscal stability of many hospitals and nursing homes.

"This Commission will play a vital role in establishing a sustainable, integrated service-delivery model to meet the health care needs of New Yorkers in the North Country region," said Dr. Shah. "This exceptional team of commission members shares the state's vision to create a viable system of care that emphasizes prevention, increases primary care supply, establishes more community-based options, supports critical safety-net providers, monitors and rewards quality, and forges innovative affiliations and partnerships."

"I am honored to lead this vital initiative to help ensure that our citizens in the North Country have access to quality health care services, and I thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Shah for their leadership and vision in establishing this commission," said Daniel Sisto, NCHSRC chair. "We are committed to assisting North Country communities in creating the integrated service delivery systems that are critical to access, quality, and the health of the region's residents for years to come."

The NCHSRC is charged with:

  • Assessing the total scope of care in the North Country: community and preventive care, secondary and tertiary care and long term care.
  • Assessing the regional population's health care needs and the system's ability to meet them.
  • Recommending ways in which to ensure that essential providers survive or that appropriate capacity is developed to replace failing providers; a restructuring and re-capitalization agenda.
  • Identifying opportunities for merger, affiliation and/or partnership among providers that will maintain or improve access and quality, financial viability and promote integrated care.
  • Making specific recommendations that providers and communities can implement to improve access, coordination, outcomes and quality of care, and population health.
  • Developing recommendations for the distribution of re-investment grants.

The NCHSRC engages a broad cross section of health care experts, business and community leaders, elected officials, patients and other key stakeholders who will lead a strategic, regional planning process. Members have been appointed by Commissioner Shah.

NCHSRC members are:

  • Chair: Daniel Sisto, past president, Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS)
  • Co-Vice-Chair: Arthur Webb, principal, Arthur Webb Group
  • Co-Vice-Chair: John Rugge, M.D., president and CEO, Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Chair of the Committee on Health Planning of the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC)
  • Steven Acquario, executive director, NYS Association of Counties
  • Cali Brooks, executive director, Adirondack Community Trust
  • Dan Burke, regional president, Saratoga-Glens Falls Region-NBT Bank
  • Tedra Cobb, president, Tedra L. Cobb and Associates
  • Tom Curley, past executive director, Associated Press
  • Susan Delehanty, chief executive officer, Citizens Advocates, Inc.
  • Garry Douglas, president and CEO, North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • Honorable Janet Duprey, New York State Assembly Member
  • Honorable Betty Little, New York State Senator
  • Fred Monroe, supervisor, Town of Chester
  • Honorable Patty Richie, New York State Senator
  • Neil Roberts, Board member, Fort Hudson Health System
  • Honorable Addie Russell, New York State Assembly Member
  • Honorable Dan Stec, New York Assembly Member
  • Denise Young, executive director, Fort Drum Regional Planning Organization

The NCHSRC will hold its initial meeting early next month and will submit its recommendations to the State Health Commissioner by March 31, 2014. The NCHSRC will be supported by staff from the State Health Department, the State Office of Mental Health and the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.