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North Country Affiliate Partners and Crouse Health Establish Crouse North to Provide Locally Based Planning and Increased Access to Clinical Care

In December 2017, the boards of directors of Carthage Area Hospital, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay and Crouse Health in Syracuse announced a clinical affiliation to enhance healthcare quality and access in Central and Northern New York. As communicated at the time, the North Country affiliation with Crouse Health does not represent a merger or acquisition, but instead is providing the foundation to allow each institution to strengthen patient services in their respective communities while sharing best practices and expertise.

Crouse North to Coordinate Centralized System Planning
Since the four organizations announced the partnership, siginificant planning, sharing and collaboration has occurred, including the recent establishment of Crouse North. This new regional entity, which includes representatives from the leadership and Board of Directors of each hospital, is overseeing the coordination of clinical and physician services in the North Country region. In addition to his role as CEO of Carthage Area Hospital, Rich Duvall has been named interim Regional Director of Crouse North until a permanent director can be recruited.

“Crouse North provides the structure and strategic support to enable coordinated planning and provider recrutiment moving forward,” says Duvall. “Our goal is to enhance access and care delivery for the communities we serve by developing an integrated, system approach to strenthen and grow clinical and operational services among the affiliated partners.”

“With our strong focus on keeping healthcare local, this structure will allow us to identify clinical programs and services that may not currently be available to North Country residents, improve coordination of care between the partner hospitals and take advantage of Crouse’s affiliation with Northwell Health,” adds Duvall.

As part of the collaborative planning processs, Walter Fink, DO, has been named Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, further reinforcing and supporting current and future efforts to achieve enhanced integration of clinical services in the region. Dr. Fink also continues in his role as Carthage Area Hospital CMO.

Clinical Progress: Access to Care
From a clinical standpoint, the affiliate partners have been working to develop a system of clinical care delivery that will enhance access to health services in a number of specialty areas. Planning discussions have involved numerous North Country-based physicians and board and medical staff leadership from each of the affiliate partners.

Clinical areas currently being evaluated include urology, cardiology, neurosurgery/spine care and OB/GYN services, among others. “The model we are putting in place will have numerous North Country-based specialists sharing clinical services as needed at the partner hospitals,” states Crouse Health Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer Seth Kronenberg, MD.

The three North Country affiliate partners and Crouse Health continue to work together to implement current initiatives and to identify future opportunites to provide accessible, coordinated clinical care for North Country residents, including telehealth in the areas of endocrinology, cardiology and neurology/stroke care.

“Working collaboratively, we have made solid progress in a relatively short period of time and through the establishment of Crouse North we look forward to building on and advancing the strategic goals that brought our organizations together,” states Dr. Kronenberg.

For additional information and ongoing affiliation progress updates, visit crouse.org/crousenorth.

Accessible by boat and car, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality inpatient care, emergency services and outpatient services for routine and diagnostic testing. River Family Health Center offers a variety of primary care services, on premise, for the entire family. Our Ambulatory Surgical Unit offers same day surgery on an outpatient basis for a number of specialties. River Hospital Convenient Care offers same day non-emergency appointments

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Alexandria Bay, NY