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Upstate Medical University acquires Community General

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Welcome to Upstate University Hospital at Community General.

After more than a year of intense planning, the acquisition of Community General Hospital (CGH) by Upstate Medical University is now official.

At 12:01 a.m. July 7, the 306-bed hospital on Broad Road in Syracuse became Upstate University Hospital at Community General. The deal was granted final approval last week by the state's budget department, comptroller's office and attorney general. Closing documents were signed July 5 and 6. A ceremony to celebrate the acquisition of Community General was held July 7.

"This is a momentous day for Central New York, and especially for patients and the future of healthcare in our region," said David R. Smith, M.D., president of Upstate Medical University. "As we unite with Community General Hospital, we build a larger foundation to serve the community and the state, by providing outstanding care, educating the healthcare professionals of tomorrow, strengthening our research and fueling sustainable economic growth. Our commitment to this region cannot be overstated."

John McCabe, M.D., chief executive officer at Upstate University Hospital, who led the yearlong discussions between Upstate and Community, said the acquisition unites Community General and Upstate in the common mission of providing quality care to patients all across the region. "We have ushered in a new era of medical care in Central New York that will enhance access to care and provide patients with a broader range of medical services," McCabe said. "Today Upstate and Community are one hospital, with one workforce and one medical staff serving the Central New York community on two campuses."

While Upstate and Community are now one hospital-both campuses will function under Upstate's operating certificate-the Community campus will have a new name that reflects its longstanding commitment to the area.

"We wanted to respect the significant history and tradition of Community as well as respect the physicians who send their patients to Community," McCabe said. "Upstate University Hospital at Community General signifies a new direction, but pays homage to this vital healthcare institution that has served the western suburbs."

Community General Hospital President Tom Quinn praised the acquisition and said Community is fortunate to be partners with Upstate.

"Upstate is an excellent organization, and it is well-positioned for upcoming changes in health care," he said. "The Upstate leadership team deserves much credit for their forward thinking and foresight. They deserve a lot of credit for the stand-up way they worked with Community General's board, medical staff, employees, and volunteers throughout the process of due diligence and affiliation planning. Within Upstate's healthcare system, Community General is better poised to meet future challenges and opportunities."

Under the acquisition plan, Upstate is acquiring nearly all of CGH's assets and property; it is also assuming a percentage of CGH's debt.

The acquisition saves nearly approximately 900 healthcare jobs in Central New York and provides needed space for Upstate to continue to grow its operations. Upstate now becomes the largest hospital in Syracuse with 715 licensed beds.

The next chapter of the project will now begin as Upstate puts in place some of its plans for Upstate University Hospital at Community General. The most immediate change that patients and visitors will see to the west campus will be in the form of signage, with enhancements in services to be made incrementally over time.

McCabe said Upstate has plans to renovate and refurbish parts of the facility to make way for additional services that will complement Upstate's downtown location while addressing patient needs on the west side of Syracuse. A pediatric urgent care center and additional beds for many in-demand adult services are among the options Upstate will explore for the west campus location.

Additionally, the west campus provides Upstate Medical University's academic programs with a community hospital-based setting to implement an array of medical education programs.

Meredith Price, director of operations for Upstate's College of Medicine who has played a key role in the transition efforts, will serve as chief administrative officer of Upstate University Hospital at Community General.

Those offering praise for the acquisition include:

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher: "We can see The Power of SUNY at work today in Syracuse, as Upstate Medical University and Community General Hospital come together to truly create a healthier New York. Together, the visionary leadership teams at these facilities have developed a plan that enhances access to quality health care, benefits the Upstate New York economy, and offers new opportunities for growth in academic medicine."

State Sen. John DeFrancisco: "The merger of Community General and Upstate hospitals is good news for Central New York. Not only will this merger prevent the closure of the hospital, it also will save nearly 1,000 jobs in our community, at a time when we simply cannot afford to lose any more jobs."

State Sen. David Valesky: "The merger of Upstate and Community General makes good economic sense for the region, by preserving nearly a thousand jobs and maintaining access to critical healthcare services."

State Assemblyman William Magnarelli: "I am pleased that Upstate University Hospital has stepped in to keep the doors of Community General open, preserving jobs and ensuring ongoing health services, which will secure the level of vital healthcare delivery to the residents of Onondaga County and Central New York."

Community General Hospital Medical Staff President David Halleran: "The Community General physicians are very optimistic towards the acquisition. I believe that this combination will provide a better platform for the hospital to respond to future healthcare challenges and the new system may actually help to shape the structure of healthcare regionally."