Promoting Collaboration – Great Lakes Health

Amendment identifies several initiatives allowing ECMCC, Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo to continue progress under Great Lakes Health

Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) today applauded Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for recently signing into law an amendment to the state public authorities’ law, permitting ECMCC to enter into agreements for the creation and operation of an integrated health care delivery services in collaboration with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo.

The legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, amended a 2003 state law that had created the Erie County Medical Center Corporation as a standalone public benefit corporation.

Great Lakes Health System of WNY Chairman Robert D. Gioia said, “This critically important amendment ensures that the progress made by Great Lakes Health will continue to the next level, fostering activities that will improve the quality of, and access to, healthcare services. We thank Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Michael Ranzenhofer for sponsoring this legislation and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

ECMCC Chair Sharon L. Hanson said, “Working collaboratively with partners like Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo to support, strengthen and reinforce all aspects of the services we provide to a diverse and dynamic Western New York population benefits everyone. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes and Senator Ranzenhofer for leading Western New York forward in this way.”

ECMCC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche, Jr., Ph.D. said, “This outcome is the result of the dedicated hard work of many, but would not have come about without the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes and Senator Ranzenhofer. ECMCC and its partners, Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo, are committed to providing the highest quality care and this amendment will facilitate further those efforts.”

Great Lakes Health and Kaleida Health President and CEO Jody Lomeo said, “The change in the PBC law is a win for our community. Together, we can continue to collaborate and strengthen our ability to coordinate care while continuing to fulfill our mission. With the help of Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes, Senator Ranzenhofer and the State Legislature, we are improving the delivery of care across Western New York and making it better for the patients we serve.”

University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi said, “Our UB community is grateful to Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes, and Senator Ranzenhofer for their leadership on this amendment, which represents a vital step forward for the thriving life sciences economy we are building together in Western New York. Together, our region’s great health care and research institutions are collaborating to establish Buffalo as a world-class destination for the best in patient care, clinical research, and medical education. This amendment significantly advances those efforts, and UB looks forward to partnering with ECMCC and Kaleida Health to ensure exceptional health care delivery for our communities.”

It is important to note that the amendment does not change ECMCC’s governance structure or relationship with its union partners. ECMCC is, and will remain, a public institution with a public workforce and its own balance sheet.

The amendment allows for:

– Development of a non-exclusive joint health information technology (IT) platform
– Joint marketing of health care services
– Joint purchasing of services, supplies and equipment
– Development of a joint set of clinical quality standards
– Coordination and integration of clinical services to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency
– Joint management of graduate medical education and academic affiliations
– Joint discussions with rural hospitals regarding the possibility of coordinating and integrating clinical services

Most importantly, the amendment gives ECMCC the ability to lower costs and improve quality and access to health care in Western New York.

This amendment strengthens ECMCC’s continuing development of Centers of Excellence in areas such as Orthopaedics, Behavioral Health and Transplantation, as well as the growth and development of other important health service lines like Cancer Care, Head and Neck Surgery, Bariatrics, and Dental Oncology. This past year (2015) was the busiest year in ECMCC’s history, and through the first quarter of 2016, ECMCC continues to grow and build on that positive trend.

The three institutions affected by this amendment have been collaborating since 2008, as a result of the recommendations made by the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century (Berger Commission).

As a free standing public health care provider, ECMCC is at a competitive disadvantage in the current health care environment. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings restricted the extent to which ECMCC could collaborate. The amendment to state law changes that by leveling the playing field for ECMCC to enter into agreements like those of other health systems while maintaining its public status.

The amendment provides a physician-led solution that will permit ECMCC to pursue further initiatives intended to improve health care quality and access, while maintaining ECMCC’s public character and purposes, its public workforce and its own balance sheet.
ECMCC has been a leader in coordinating clinical service planning across Western New York. Along with Kaleida Health, UB, and their private practice physicians, they have created centers of excellence around transplant, cardiac, behavioral health and laboratory services.