St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira and Guthrie Healthcare System of Sayre, Pa., announced earlier this year that they have begun discussions of establishing an official partnership.
Officials from both organizations set a time line of 180 days — effective in late June — so they can “develop a vision and the specific steps required to form a collaborative partnership,” Sister of St. Joseph Marie Castagnaro, president of St. Joseph’s, said in a statement dated June 23.
Sister Castagnaro said St. Joseph’s had originally contacted Guthrie three years ago about a possible collaboration, and talks between both organizations’ board members and administrations have gone on since that time.
“We reached a comfort level that has brought us to this point. We have been seeking a partner that has integrity, trust and the ability to work together, and which will allow St. Joseph’s Hospital to remain a Catholic institution, providing acute care services. We believe that Guthrie has all of those attributes,” Sister Castagnaro said in the statement. She added that a relationship with Guthrie would also lead to a wider range of services for patients.
Sister Castagnaro and Denis Sweeney, hospital spokesman, both declined to be interviewed, saying the hospital will not have any further comment on the topic until the 180-day discussion period is completed. Sweeney said in mid-October that he expects an announcement to be made in December.
However, according to a June 24 story in the Elmira Star Gazette, both health-care systems said they expect to become partnered around the end of 2006. In that story Sister Castagnaro indicated that a collaboration with Guthrie would help ease financial problems incurred by St. Joseph’s due to its emphasis on serving uninsured and underinsured patients. The Star Gazette story also reported that St. Joseph’s officials were attracted to Guthrie by the strong financial turnaround of Corning Hospital since it became affiliated with Guthrie in 1999. ¬†
St. Joseph’s was founded in 1908 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester as well as several community leaders. The hospital, along with St. James Mercy in Hornell, are the only Catholic hospitals in the 12-county Rochester Diocese.
St. Joseph’s has a certified capacity of 295 beds (139 for acute care; 71 in the skilled-nursing facility; 40 for physical-medicine patients; 25 for psychiatric patients; and 20 for alcohol-rehabilitation patients). As of 2005, St. Joseph’s had a staff of 834 full- and part-time employees; 183 physicians on its medical staff; and 137 registered nurses. The hospital had 6,195 admissions in 2005 as well as 13,892 emergency-department visits and 114,673 outpatient visits.
Both St. Joseph’s and Guthrie Healthcare System are not-for-profit organizations. Guthrie’s member organizations, in addition to Corning Hospital, are Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre; Troy Community Hospital in Troy, Pa.; and long-term care facilities in New York and Pennsylvania.