Health care changes coming

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital and associated services are part of Finger Lakes Health system.

Finger Lakes Health (FLH) healthcare system is starting the process of exploring partnership options, according to an announcement released last week. These will include all areas of acute and long-term care health services to the Yates County community through Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, the Homestead, primary care services, and specialized services.

According to the announcement, Finger Lakes Health plans to contact and vet select healthcare organizations to identify potential partners willing and able to improve health and promote well-being in the communities Finger Lakes Health serves.

“The board and system leadership determined that the timing is right to explore options regarding a potential partnership,” says Jose Acevedo, M.D., president and CEO for Finger Lakes Health.

The hospital official’s announcement says,  “In this time of unprecedented change and transformation in healthcare, Finger Lakes Health is taking a proactive approach and exploring all avenues and options to ensure future financial stability and maintain the quality clinical care required to serve the needs of its communities.”

“We believe that exploring our strategic options is in the best interest of the entire system, our employees and physicians, and most importantly, the patients we all serve,” stated Lance Ward, chair of the Finger Lakes Health Board of Directors.

The Finger Lakes Health board has identified strategic objectives to guide its decision-making throughout the process:

• Maintain and expand access to healthcare services including new clinical programs to meet service area needs

• Maintain a local role in governance along with parent board representation

• Augment population health capabilities and presence

• Provide enhanced support for clinical quality and compliance

• Maintain and enhance FLH long-term financial viability

• Recruit and retain providers

• Make needed investments in technology and facilities

• Enhance recognition of FLH’s clinical programs through branding

“The health system is exploring and developing a Request for Proposals that involves all our entities. It is not for individual or piecemeal services, rather for the organization overall,” says FLH’s Vice President of Community Services Lara Turbide. “There are many potential partners, some regional as well as others throughout the state as well as others still outside New York State. The criteria developed by the board will be used to evaluate potential partners to identify the best fit to serve our mission to promote the heath and well-being of our communities.”

The board anticipates reviewing proposals and potential partner options during the second half of the summer and early fall; each potential partner organization will be evaluated to understand how it can best assist FLH in realizing the system’s strategic objectives. 

“There are many types of partnerships and all potential versions will be explored to identify the most suitable option to best serve the needs of our communities well into the future,” says Turbide. Should the board decide to move forward in exclusive discussions with a potential partner organization, a lengthy due diligence process will be undertaken, as well as any required regulatory review processes.

The board will lead the RFP process with support from a consultant group with experience in this arena. As the board moves through the evaluation process, additional information will be shared concerning the status of the process.  Should the board identify a preferred partner, that announcement will occur once a non-binding letter of intent has been executed that spells out key provisions.

“We have crafted the objectives that will guide us during our evaluation of potential partnership options. Well before any contractually binding commitments are made, the Finger Lakes Health Board will share its preferred direction with stakeholders and the community,” noted Ward.

About Finger Lakes Health

Finger Lakes Health operates on three campuses in Yates, Ontario, and Seneca Counties, including Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, Geneva General Hospital and a full range of secondary level services.

Includes reporting by John Christensen