Community concerned as SPHP, Ellis join services

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Two healthcare organizations are combining services. Hospital leaders say this is a step towards a possible merger, while some concerned community members are not on board.

Working hand in hand, the state Department of Health approved St. Peter’s Health Partners and Ellis Medicine to work together on a two-year services agreement.

This is separate from the plan for a full merger that was first announced in 2020.

“A part of the partnership is to make sure that we retain the services, build the services and become an attractive place for jobs for people in the community,” said Ellis Medicine CEO and President Paul Milton.

Under the agreement, Ellis Medicine in Schenectady will remain independent from Albany-based St. Peter’s, which is owned by the national company Trinity Health.

Their focus is to improve technology and patient care. Hospital leaders say without this step, services would decline and jobs would be lost.

“Having this integrated system has allowed us to become more cost-efficient and that’s what we want to bring to Ellis and Ellis brings it to us as well,” said St. Peter’s Health Partners CEO Dr. James Reed.

However, some members of the community have concerns about merging services.

“With any merger, you will see the elimination of some services because of financial reasons, or consolidation. But with these changes, there are ethical and religious directives that come along with any catholic hospital or healthcare system,” said Schenectady County Legislature Member Michelle Ostrelich.

Bellevue Woman’s Center in Schenectady is not included in the service agreement. Milton says no reproductive services will be impacted for now.

But abortions would no longer be provided if the merger takes place in two years.

“This is not a workable or practical solution. Were looking at losing services despite their promises and possibly their best efforts. Our community needs to learn from what’s happening in other communities,” said Ostrelich.

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