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Rochester firm to help NNY hospitals find possible collaborative efforts

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A consortium of seven north country hospitals has selected Camden Group, Rochester, as the consultant to explore possible collaborative options with participating hospitals.

A study will determine whether and where there are gaps in services. The goal is for health-care providers to work together to create healthier communities.

“Yesterday we had our first organizational meeting where they laid out their calendar and approach,” group spokesman Ben Moore III said Friday. “After today, we’ll get data requests. They’ll be looking at setting up interviews with hospital staff and community members.”

While the consulting firm will gather data from the participating hospitals, particularly financial information, the firm also will use public records.

Carthage Area Hospital; River Hospital, Alexandria Bay; Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown; Lewis County General Hospital, Lowville; E.J. Noble Hospital, Gouverneur; Clifton-Fine Hospital, Star Lake, and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, joined in a collaborative effort to help reduce the number of unnecessary repeat Medicaid admissions.

Mr. Moore, also CEO of River Hospital, said in June the group received $3.8 million from the Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers program to collaborate throughout the next two to three years on a plan to keep Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties’ residents healthy, and to cut costs. Those funds must be spent by December 2013.

By then, he said, the consulting firm should have a detailed outline of steps participating hospitals may take.

As part of the effort, Mr. Moore said, the Rochester law firm of Harris Beach was hired to help handle any legal matters.

“This is my assumption: We’ll use consultants for what viable, appropriate and legal things we can do for collaborative efforts,” he said. “You have to make sure you’re compliant with the Federal Trade Commission issues and New York state issues.”

Mr. Moore said the FTC wants to make sure hospitals are on an even economic playing field.

As information unfolds, he said, the consulting firm will meet every other week with participating hospital CEOs to keep them updated on progress.

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