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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Investing in Healthy Communities

Posted By: Advancing Care

WMCHealth is working to make Hudson Valley communities more than just healthy.

Traditionally, hospitals have played several important community roles.  Now, through its expansive 10-hospital system, WMCHealth is helping transform communities and make them stronger, more vital and even economically sound.

“Providing quality and lifesaving healthcare services as close to home as possible is at the core of our mission,” says WMCHealth President and CEO Michael D. Israel.  “But by saving hospitals, services and healthcare jobs in challenged communities, we are investing in so much more.”

And, Israel says, it goes well beyond the walls of the hospital.

Take Kingston for example.  First, partnering with WMCHealth earlier this year put all three HealthAlliance hospitals on sound footing.  Now, the focus is twofold: creating a new, exceptional inpatient hospital experience and repurposing another hospital into a modern, state-of-the-art nexus for outpatient care and human services, dubbed a “medical village.”

“While this project is about keeping people and the overall community healthy, it’s also about creating partnerships to develop workforce opportunities in healthcare,” says HealthAlliance President and CEO David Scarpino. “These partnerships, such as with the City of Kingston, Kingston High School, Hudson Valley Pathways Academy and SUNY Ulster, are part of a broad coalition of stakeholders that is forming to realize a unified vision for innovative growth for Kingston that keeps the entire community healthy and economically strong.”

The same is happening in Port Jervis, where the programs are benefiting both inpatient and outpatient services.

“Working with local leaders and healthcare providers, together we will be changing the way the community receives its healthcare and improving access as well,” says Mary Leahy, M.D., President and CEO of Bon Secours Charity Health System.  “The key is to provide the type of care that our residents need in a way that is easy for them to receive that care.  With Port Jervis, this means both a medical village concept along with improvements to Bon Secours Community Hospital.”

With the goal of improving the overall health of the community and ultimately reducing unnecessary hospital visits and healthcare costs, the final plans for both projects are scheduled to be submitted to New York State at the end of August, with phased work beginning in both municipalities starting next year.

At the end of the day, Israel says WMCHealth is focusing on what is best for the people of our region, and not only what is profitable.  “We know that the closer you are to home for your care, the better that is for you and your family.  And with the advent of our telemedicine program, the reach of our services and our network is exponential,” Israel said.

“Certainly, healthcare is at the forefront of what we do, but as ‘anchor’ institutions in the Hudson Valley communities we serve, helping heal and improve entire communities through economic development, growth and renewal is part of a broader commitment.  From Poughkeepsie to Port Jervis and beyond, we aren’t going anywhere, and we want and need our organizations and our communities to thrive.”