The New York State Department of Public Health and the Public Health and Health Planning Council approved an affiliation between The Guthrie Clinic and Cortland Regional Medical Center on Oct. 12. Guthrie President and CEO Dr. Joseph Scopelliti and Cortland Regional Medical Center President and CEO Mark Webster held a joint press conference that morning to announce the news.
“We are excited to partner with Cortland Regional Medical Center to provide access to integrated, multispecialty care and services within the Cortland community and surrounding areas,” Dr. Scopelliti said. “Guthrie has a long history of high-quality patient care and we look forward to meeting the health care needs of patients in these communities.”
Cortland Regional Medical Center is an independent, non-profit, 162-bed acute care facility with attached 80-bed residential care center located about 55 miles north of Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital. It has been providing quality health care to the Cortland area for over 126 years, and with over 800 employees, it is the largest private employer in Cortland County. Together with its team of Cortland Regional Medical Practice providers and community medical staff, Cortland Regional Medical Center offers patients convenient access to board-certified physicians and advanced-level practitioners in more than 18 specialties.
In October 2016, Cortland Regional Medical Center announced its intent to explore affiliation with a larger health care system. Cortland Regional’s Collaboration Task Force worked with Webster, senior leadership, physician leaders, the Board of Trustees, and strategic health care consulting firm Veralon to develop and issue a formal request for proposals in December 2016.
In September 2017, Cortland Regional Medical Center and Guthrie announced the signing of a nonbinding letter of intent that outlined plans to move toward a definitive affiliation agreement, including a period of due diligence to research and assess how to grow and strengthen access to community-based health care for the Cortland County region.
“After carefully evaluating each proposal, Guthrie has emerged as the best possible partner to support the lifelong health care needs of our region, and to help our organization grow and thrive in a rapidly changing, consumer-driven health care market,” said Webster during that announcement. Dr. Scopelliti added, “Like Cortland Regional, Guthrie understands the challenge of delivering quality health care in a rural setting. It is my firm belief that people living outside of an urban area deserve reliable access to quality care. Guthrie has historically been committed to this concept. It was Dr. Donald Guthrie’s founding philosophy.”
Looking to the Future
The final steps in the affiliation process began immediately after regulatory approval was granted on Oct. 12, with a transition team, including leaders from both organizations, identifying specific tasks and opportunities to pursue to integrate the two organizations in the coming months. Cortland Regional Medical Center is expected to become Guthrie Cortland Medical Center, an entity of The Guthrie Clinic, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
“This is a major milestone, concluding a nearly two-year process to identify the right partner to help Cortland Regional realize its vision of expanding local access to high-quality health care for the people of Cortland and the surrounding area,” said Webster.
After affiliation, Guthrie Cortland Medical Center will continue to operate its open staffing model so all providers in the community can work together to provide care needed by the community. Local leadership will continue to manage and operate Cortland facilities and programs.