SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Trinity Health, the owner of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, is consolidating its leadership team with St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany in an effort to save money. The administrative restructuring results in a regionalized hospital system and its senior-most leader is based in Albany.

Dr. James Reed will take the position until his planned retirement in December, when St. Peter’s current chief clinical officer and chief operating officer, Dr. Steven Hanks, takes over to lead both hospitals. Current St. Joseph’s Health CEO Leslie Paul Luke will voluntarily leave the organization, according to an email sent to employees and obtained by NEWS10 sister station NewsChannel 9.

Deb Welch, listed as the vice president for Mission at St. Joseph’s, will be laid off. Three positions in Albany are being eliminated. It’s not clear if any other layoffs are expected.

In the email to employees, an executive for Trinity Health blamed the pandemic. He writes: “While we expected and planned for the changes a global pandemic would bring, the negative impact and lasting effects are much greater than anyone imagined.”

It continues: “In response, we have decided to create ONE regional ministry that will solidify and augment
our presence in the New York region. By combining the strengths of St. Peter’s Health Partners in Albany and St. Joseph’s Health in Syracuse, we will benefit from synergies, clinical coordination of care for our patients and communities, and create a more efficient, cost-effective, and integrated health system.”

The management restructuring takes effect Friday.

Statement from St. Joseph’s Health to NewsChannel 9:

“Today, St. Joseph’s Health and St. Peter’s Health Partners in Albany announced to their colleagues and providers they are creating one ministry in the New York region. The move will combine the strengths of each ministry, creating a more efficient and cost-effective integrated health system. A new leadership team will focus on developing the strongest clinical programs, coordination of care and improved access for patients in their communities.

Dr. James Reed will become President & CEO of the new regional entity and lead strategic planning for the next six months with plans to retire at the end of December 2022. Dr. Steven Hanks, currently Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Operating Officer of St. Peters, will serve as COO during this six-month planning period before assuming the regional CEO role upon Dr. Reed’s retirement.

This regionalization effort is a natural step as several functions have already been consolidated between the ministries including legal, patient access and revenue integrity, information services and compliance.”