I now have a better understanding of what the two administrators of Champlain Valley Hospital and Physicians Hospital went through in the late 1960s when they announced the merger of their venerable institutions. From their very beginnings, these two facilities excelled at providing exceptional care. In 1910, the Grey Nuns opened Champlain Valley Hospital, which offered the kind of health care that, at the time, could only be found in New York City and Montreal and could only be paid for by the wealthy. When Physicians Hospital opened in 1926, it set a new standard for health care in the region. Successful businessman and Chazy native William Miner made sure the new hospital included the best medical equipment, supplies and staff money could buy.
In making the decision to join forces, the leaders of both facilities, just like the leaders today, believed their efforts would result in an even stronger health care facility. I suspect that the founding principles established by The Grey Nuns, William Miner, and other health care pioneers weighed heavily on their minds. The challenge was to retain the foundation established by each hospital while creating an organization that was stronger because of the partnership.
Over the course of my 12 years at CVPH, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with employees who were working at either Champlain Valley or Physicians Hospital during the merger. They each spoke fondly and with pride of that time. They know from experience that great organizations can come together to create something even better because they were part of the team that made it happen.
Changing the name of Fletcher Allen Partners to The University of Vermont Health Network and returning to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital is in many ways similar to what occurred more than 50 years ago. Along with the name changes comes the promise of an integrated health system where the right care is offered in the right place at the right time.
Our challenge now is to deliver – and we’re headed in the right direction:
- Work is underway to create the Champlain Valley Family Medicine Residency Program here, which will increase access to primary care in our community. Our first class of residents will be onsite in the summer of 2016. This also represents more than 25 jobs added in downtown Plattsburgh.
- We’re adding additional clinical services, which meet specific needs in our community or enhance the already excellent services offered by our providers. Endocrinologists, specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons (providing pre and post operative care) travel here to care for our community.
- Cardiology clinics now available in Malone and Ticonderoga reduce the travel time of residents.
- The Adirondack Accountable Care Organization offers advanced primary care to Medicare recipients in our region. It’s a provider-led organization that is reimbursed based on the quality of care provided. Chronic disease management, care transition to home and avoiding unnecessary trips to the Emergency Care Center are some of the successes of the ACO.
These programs and services would not come to be without the partnership now called The University of Vermont Health Network.
The name change is so much more than hanging new signs and adopting a new logo. It is a public proclamation that the standard of health care in our region is rising and we, along with our partners in The University of Vermont Health Care Network, are playing an integral part of that effort.
I think William Miner and the Grey Nuns would be pleased.
Stephens Mundy is CEO/President of CVPH Medical Center in New York.