Brooks-TLC merger is part of new ‘twin tier’ network

OBSERVER File Photo Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and TLC Health Network in Irving are one step closer to merging.

OBSERVER Staff Report

Another step is being taken by Kaleida Health and its affiliate partners of Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and TLC Health Network in Irving.

According to a news release issued by Kaleida, a new “twin tier” network is now forming to take advantage of the capabilities and market presence of Upper Allegheny Health System — that includes the hospitals of Olean and Bradford, Pa. — Brooks Memorial, TLC Health Network and Cuba Memorial hospitals.

In addition, with the exit of TLC from bankruptcy, Brooks and TLC will now finalize the process to merge and become an official affiliate of Kaleida Health. The merger will result in a new single entity known as Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. with two main campuses in Pomfret and Irving.

“In an effort to best serve our respective patients, the twin tier will work as an integrated system with Kaleida Health to rapidly improve quality, leverage its scale plus integrate and optimize its use of technology,” the release noted. “This will better position all entities and help them achieve sustainability into the future, leveraging Upper Allegheny infrastructure and capabilities.”

In order to be successful, improvements will occur in six major areas:

¯ Quality and clinical integration.

¯ Service line and ancillary development.

¯ Shared services.

¯ Purchasing.

¯ Efficiencies and productivity.

¯ Information technology.

Over the next few weeks, Kaleida Health and the Twin Tier facilities will jointly announce various management integration appointments and opportunities. This includes marketing, human resources, finance, revenue cycle and IT.

Twin Tier integration highlights and accomplishments from late 2017 include:

¯ Kaleida Health has become the active parent of Olean General Hospital and Bradford Regional Medical Center.

¯ TLC Health Network has achieved a major milestone and is exiting bankruptcy. After a difficult four years, TLC is in the process of implementing a transformation plan that will position it for success moving forward.

¯ In anticipation of the merger between TLC and Brooks within the next few months, TLC’s Board of Directors approved a management agreement with Kaleida Health, effective Jan. 1, to oversee day-to-day operations with unified leadership and management. Shared management has been announced for TLC and Brooks that includes: Mary LaRowe, president and chief executive officer; Jodi Witherell, chief nursing officer and vice president of quality; Wendy Luce, vice president of behavioral health and chemical dependency; and Jeff Morgan, vice president of finance.

Still to come are announcements for medical directors for both hospitals plus a vice president of operations.

¯ Planning continues for the replacement of Brooks Memorial Hospital. The new location is off of East Main Street in the Town of Pomfret. It was chosen from more than two dozen potential locations, mainly for regulatory and infrastructure purposes.

¯ The Brooks board of directors is committed to an open dialogue regarding the reuse of the Central Avenue facility. They will partner with Kaleida Health, leveraging their experience in reusing the former Deaconess Hospital, Millard Fillmore Hospital, and now most recently, the Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Virginia Horvath, the president of the State University of New York at Fredonia and Lou DiPalma, vice president for the Dunkirk-based Lake Shore Savings have been named co-chairs of the reuse committee. Both are Brooks Memorial Hospital board members.