In a move designed to strengthen and enhance health care in Niagara County, Eastern Niagara Hospital (ENH) and Kaleida Health have strengthened their relationship, announcing a new model for the Lockport-based hospital.
Under terms of the proposal, Kaleida Health will become the active parent of Eastern Niagara Hospital.
Eastern Niagara Hospital Lockport & Newfane sites, ENH Ambulatory Care Center/Lockport Imaging Center and the Western New York Occupational Health Center will all become part of the Kaleida Health family.
It is not a merger. ENH will remain a separate legal entity with a separate board of directors that will develop recommendations to Kaleida Health’s board, which will have ultimate responsibility for Eastern Niagara Hospital.
The board of directors at the respective health systems recently approved the agreement.
George V.C. Muscato, chairman of ENH’s Board of Directors said, “This is a constructive and strategic step in our partnership with Kaleida Health. Further development of our affiliation will be advantageous to our entire health system and the communities we serve. Across the country, community hospitals, particularly those who serve rural regions, are experiencing the benefits of affiliations with major urban tertiary medical centers. ENH needs to remain viable for the future. The development of this affiliation will help the hospital be more responsive to local needs and preserve existing health care for the long term.”
“This is another win for the community, this time it’s for the patients that we serve together in Niagara County,” said Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health. “The active parent model will allow for seamless access to our award winning programs and services. It will also allow for collaborative opportunities in telemedicine, physician recruitment, marketing, clinical education, information technology and purchasing. A great example of how we can be better together.”
By affiliating with Kaleida Health, Eastern Niagara is now better equipped to coordinate care.
Patients in the eastern Niagara region will have access to appropriate care locally and be seamlessly transitioned to the tertiary network at places like the Gates Vascular Institute, Buffalo General Medical Center and Oishei Children’s Hospital. Eastern Niagara will also have greater coordination of care and enhanced partnerships with Erie County Medical Center (a partner of Kaleida Health) and their centers of excellence in behavioral health and transplantation, along with adult level one trauma care.
The New York State Department of Health must approve the new relationship. That is expected to take approximately six months. A Certificate of Need (CON) application must be filed and approved by the State.
Eastern Niagara’s plan to build a new Emergency Department will move forward and will be done with the support of Kaleida Health. The plan is to build a new 21,000 square foot facility near the East Avenue entrance of the 134-bed hospital. The $8.2 million project calls for 16 private treatment rooms.
The two health systems will now work together to develop a full vision, plan and strategy for the eastern Niagara County community. The process will include communication, community engagement, as well as physician and employee participation to ensure that the Niagara community’s healthcare needs are met.
Nicholas Varallo, ENH medical director said, “We in the ENH community are excited to be a part of the new Kaleida Health affiliation. This phase in our hospital’s history, along with the recent approval to begin building a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, will ensure continued service to the residents of our community. This affiliation strengthens ENH’s access to specialty services and technology, while better positioning the hospital to retain new physicians, residents and other medical professionals in our region.”