Brooks Memorial, TLC Health Network to Partner with Kaleida Health
It is an agreement between a hospital and another hospital/health system that is designed to meet the community’s health care needs. This includes enhancing value, providing quality outcomes to patients for the appropriate cost in a convenient, contemporary, and accessible environment. It is about coordinating care so patients in the region have access to appropriate care locally and can be seamlessly transitioned to a tertiary network (like Kaleida Health) when needed.
Why would Brooks (BMH) and TLC Health Network make this move?
The Boards of Directors of Brooks and TLC have decided to make several transformational changes to strengthen and reposition the hospitals for the future. As most are aware, both BMH and TLC have been facing tremendous challenges including declining patient volumes, increased government mandates, decreased reimbursements, shifting payment models, recruitment challenges, aging facilities, and significant capital needs. The respective Boards and administrative teams understand these dynamics and have been working proactively to preserve critical health care services in Chautauqua County. However, while developing a transformation plan for both, it became clear that affiliating with a larger health system would be a critical component to overcoming the many challenges our health systems are facing and dramatically speed up our timeframe for enacting meaningful change while still staying true to our mission.
How will the affiliation take shape between Brooks, TLC and Kaleida?
At this point, the resolutions affirmed by the Boards of Kaleida Health and Brooks Memorial are the first steps in this process. TLC Health Network is finalizing its affiliation as well. While money has been allocated to execute a future plan, we need to create the specific architecture for working together, diving into demographics, healthcare trends and financial modeling data that will drive decision-making, working through collaborative project planning and execution, and developing the clinical and administrative processes to achieve these outcomes.
What's the timeline?
A timeframe has not yet been established. All partners involved in this process are eager to begin and will be working over the next several weeks to create the framework for our collaborative efforts. The Department of Health will play a critical role in determining the timeline for both the transformations at BMH and TLC and our affiliation with each other and Kaleida Health. All three organizations have been and will continue to be in discussion with NYSDOH throughout this process, as the NYSDOH is the authority behind the $57 million grant and will determine the timeframe and process for allocating those funds and approving all related transformation and affiliation plans.
Where did the $57 million come from?
At the direction of both of our Boards of Directors, BMH and TLC worked together to request up to $60 million in financial assistance from the Essential Health Care Provider Support Program (EHCPSP) grant issued by NYSDOH. This EHCPSP grant was designed to help financially distressed New York State healthcare entities with debt retirement, capital projects, turnaround and transformation initiatives.
What is the $57 million for? Why were BMH and TLC awarded this amount together?
In keeping with the EHCPSP grant’s intended purpose of helping financially distressed New York State healthcare entities with debt retirement, capital projects, and turnaround/ transformation initiatives, these funds will be used to reposition BMH and TLC for a brighter financial future. After much consideration of multiple alternatives, it became clear to our Boards that the best opportunity for the financial turnarounds of both BMH and TLC would involve an affiliation of our two organizations. Therefore, a joint application in both organizations’ names was filed to show the Boards’ commitment to make an affiliation a reality - thus the joint award. Though no specific details have been worked out at this time as to how the award will be spent, the primary purpose will be to fund any initiatives that will assist BMH and TLC in uniting as collaborative partners (not as competitors) in an affiliation.
Are we looking at a merger in the future or will the two hospitals continue to operate independently?
Often, when people hear the term "affiliation," they assume that means that hospitals are merging, so it is important to identify up front that our affiliation is not any type of “take over.” This is about serving the community better. We do anticipate that, at the end of this process, a new partnership of all three organizations will exist under the auspices of Kaleida Health. However, it is important to remember that a decision of that nature can only take place at the discretion of all three Boards of Directors and with approval by the Department of Health.
Why affiliate with Kaleida Health and not another health system?
Kaleida Health is known as a collaborative, community focused organization with a track record of making decisions based on what is best for the community and its patients. Its services align with our (Brooks and TLC) strategic vision to continue to provide, and in some cases enhance, necessary services in our community while leveraging centers of excellence to provide better access to tertiary services. We (Brooks & TLC) will be sharing best practices and scale that will create cost reductions and efficiencies to better focus resources on direct patient care. We will integrate our care teams to identify opportunities to share practices that will enhance patient care and quality across the entire organization. BMH has signed a proposed management agreement with Kaleida Health to provide some transitional leadership services in light of BMH’s recent decision to separate from UPMC. TLC has also been in discussions with Kaleida Health regarding the possibility of a formal affiliation for the past year.
Why will BMH enter into a Management Agreement with Kaleida, but TLC will not?
With BMH’s decision to end their management agreement with UPMC, they had an immediate need for a transitional leadership plan and decided that Kaleida Health was well positioned to meet that need. As TLC has its own administrative team in place, it was not necessary for us to sign a management agreement. However, this should have very little bearing on the ongoing discussions regarding affiliation.
If the UPMC arrangement is ending, will Mr. Rhodes be leaving?
We cannot adequately express our gratitude for the involvement of UPMC-Hamot during a very critical time in the life of Brooks hospital. Without the support of UPMC-Hamot, the provision of resources of people, analysis, capital and healthcare clinical and administrative knowledge, BMH would not have been able to do the work that needed to be done to get to this point. In particular, having Gary Rhodes’ depth of mature leadership and guidance in that difficult time has been an immeasurable assistance to BMH. As you know, Gary carries many responsibilities within UPMC, including his role as CEO of Kane Community Hospital in Kane, PA. As the UPMC contract is phased out, Gary will be leaving us to continue his work within UPMC.
Who will run Brooks in his absence?
As a part of the management agreement with Kaleida Health, the Brooks Board of Directors has asked Kaleida to provide a CEO to work with us through this transition. We anticipate that selection of a new leader will be announced in the near future.
What impact does this have on organized labor? Does this mean Brooks TLC Health Network employees are Kaleida Health employees now?
No. There is no impact on Brooks, TLC Health Network or Kaleida Health employees.
What will the affiliation entail? What will all of this accomplish?
The details of the affiliation between TLC, BMH, and Kaleida are still being determined. However, it is the goal of all three organizations to develop an agreement that will allow all three organizations to come together in a collaborative (not competitive) manner to ensure that the changing health care needs of the communities we serve will be continue to be met. Though the degree to which each organization will be affiliated with the others has not yet been determined, we do believe that the creation of a newly integrated health system in our region will be critical for stabilizing the finances of BMH and TLC, ensuring continued access to high quality health care for our community, and delivering seamless transitions to tertiary care for patients who need it. The Boards of Directors of all three organizations will need to jointly determine all other details regarding the affiliation, including structure, timeline, and leadership.
What are the plans moving forward? What is the vision? What are next steps?
With major funding now secured, BMH, TLC, and Kaleida Health will now work together to develop a full vision, plan, and strategy for continuing to deliver high quality health care to the Southern Tier. This process will include a great deal of communication, community engagement, and employee and medical staff participation to ensure that the entire region’s health care needs are being met.
Stay tuned. More information as it becomes available!