JAMESTOWN - WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa., announced recently that they have signed a strategic affiliation agreement between the two health systems that will expand access to healthcare services and resources in the region.
The affiliation signed by leaders from the two hospitals, enables WCA Hospital to retain control of the hospital and the services they provide while affording the community the expertise and resources of UPMC Hamot that is now part of UPMC, an academic medical center.
Betsy Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO, said the affiliation agreement will strengthen WCA as a regional hospital and comprehensive healthcare system.
From front left, Betsy T. Wright, FACHE, WCA Hospital President/CEO; and Jim Fiorenzo, UPMC Hamot President, sign the strategic affiliation agreement between WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot that will expand access to healthcare services and resources in the region, Brenda J. Ireland, WCA Hospital Board of Directors chair; John Malone, UPMC Hamot Chief Executive Officer; and B. Scott Kern, UPMC Hamot Board of Directors chair.
"The greatest benefit of our affiliation is keeping high-quality care close to home," Wright said. "Community hospitals across the nation are facing extraordinary challenges in today's uncertain healthcare environment. We are very excited to work alongside UPMC Hamot to provide greater opportunity moving forward into the future of healthcare delivery including our ability to recruit physicians and provide additional local specialty services to the benefit of everyone we serve. Through our combined efforts, healthcare will continue to grow even stronger and preserve local access to patient care."
The affiliation is a strategic affiliation whereby both WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot have agreed to work collaboratively on initiatives that will enhance the healthcare delivery in the local region. Therefore, WCA Hospital will retain separate identity from UPMC Hamot. WCA Hospital will remain an independent, not-for-profit hospital and retain its independence and assets. The efforts of the WCA Foundation will support only WCA Hospital.
UPMC Hamot is a 412-bed tertiary care facility, regional referral hub, and Level II Trauma Center located in Erie, Pa. Supported by a 400-member medical staff and 3,100 dedicated employees, UPMC Hamot's mission is to serve its patients, communities, and one another in the UPMC Hamot tradition of quality, health, healing, and education. UPMC Hamot's superior health care services are continually recognized by notable accrediting bodies. The organization joined UPMC on February 1, 2011.
"UPMC Hamot is looking forward to a long and successful partnership with WCA," Jim Fiorenzo, UPMC Hamot President, said. "This strategic affiliation not only strengthens WCA as the foremost provider of healthcare throughout Jamestown, New York and the Southern Tier, but it further enhances UPMC Hamot's commitment to serve the patients of Chautauqua County."
The WCA Hospital Board of Directors restated that patient access to high-quality care locally; the ability to recruit new physicians and provide additional services and programs; and the preservation to retain hospital independence and local board decisions remain top priorities.
"This affiliation brings together two dedicated and committed organizations to enhance services, quality and patient care throughout Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania," Brenda Ireland, WCA Hospital Board of Directors chair, said. "While we continue to succeed as an independent organization, our affiliation with UPMC Hamot will allow us to broaden and strengthen our scope of services and programs that we can offer our community while maintaining excellent healthcare locally."
WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will immediate begin working on collaborations in a number of support and clinical areas that will be mutually beneficial to both organizations and address community need. One of the key benefits and top priorities of the affiliation is to expand its physician recruitment efforts to recruit medical and surgical as well as primary care which includes family practice and general internal medicine physicians. Also in progress through the affiliation, will be physician-to-physician consults via Telemedicine and other modalities.
WCA Hospital explains frequently asked questions about the affiliation with UPMC Hamot:
What does it mean to be affiliated?
An affiliation agreement is simply a mutual commitment to work closely to the benefit of everyone we serve; it is not a merger.
What is the affiliation agreement between WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot?
The affiliation agreement between WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot is a mutual commitment to work closely for the benefit of our patients and the communities we serve. The affiliation agreement enables WCA Hospital to retain control of our hospital and the services we provide while affording the community the expertise and resources of UPMC Hamot, a large, high-quality medical facility that is now part of UPMC, an academic medical center.
Why did WCA select UPMC Hamot to affiliate with?
WCA sought a partner who would be comfortable with a relationship with a hospital wanting to retain ownership, shared a common vision for the future, was large enough to provide the services necessary for healthcare in the future and was a fit culturally. In addition, we wanted a partner that would provide easy access for the Jamestown and surrounding areas and additional healthcare services with excellent quality.
What are the major benefits the community should expect from this new relationship?
The greatest benefit of the affiliation agreement is keeping high-quality care close to home for those we are so privileged to serve. WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot's combined efforts will allow healthcare to grow even stronger through our Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania region. The affiliation agreement positions WCA Hospital for greater stability over time and will cultivate opportunities to recruit new physicians and provide additional services and programs to the benefit of the community.
The community can expect:
Commitment to preserve local access to care.
Support to achieve high-quality and service benchmarks.
Expertise to support strategic planning and facility development.
Will the organizations continue to retain independent identities?
WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will retain sole responsibility for the services they provide. This is an affiliation agreement not a merger. The WCA Hospital Board of Directors will remain local. All WCA assets will remain local.
How will the hospitals work together?
WCA Hospital will continue to be governed by its Board of Directors and executive leadership. WCA Hospital will now have access to a broad range of additional expertise and resources to assist WCA Hospital with the planning and delivery of services that are vital to our community now and into the future. WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will jointly be developing opportunities to address the areas of greatest community and organizational needs.
What changes can be expected due to the affiliation agreement?
Through the affiliation agreement, WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will work together to expand existing services and bring new programs and services to our community. This will include recruitment of new physicians and specialists that give us even more resources to serve our patients and the needs of our community.
How will this relationship enhance patient care?
WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot share a common vision to deliver outstanding patient care and service. We will be working with UPMC Hamot to provide easy access to care for the Jamestown area while ensuring that patients continue to receive the highest levels of quality and service that they have come to expect from WCA.
Will the affiliation with UPMC Hamot change any of the services WCA Hospital offers?
WCA Hospital will retain all of the core clinical services and medical technologies currently available at our hospital. We also expect the affiliation with UPMC Hamot to enhance the services we provide our community now, as well as allow us to introduce new services in the future.
What does this mean for hospital staffs?
The staffs at WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will remain employed by their respective organizations. Employee decisions will be left at the local level.
Will I have to change my doctor or where I go for care?
No, there is no need to change your doctor. As always, your choice of physicians and where you receive tests and treatments is entirely up to you. Having the support of UPMC Hamot will give us even more resources to serve the needs of our community.
What is the next step for WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot?
WCA Hospital and UPMC Hamot will begin working to explore collaborations in a number of support and clinical areas that will be mutually beneficial to both organizations. In addition, they will work together on regional health planning that will meet the current and future healthcare needs of patients throughout the region.