Canton-Potsdam Hospital is a sole-community not-for-profit hospital certified for 94 beds. CPH operates under a parent corporation, the St. Lawrence Health System, in affiliation with Gouverneur Hospital of Gouverneur, NY, a Critical Access Hospital. CPH also collaborates closely with Fletcher Allen Health Care of the University of Vermont, a Level I teaching hospital located in Burlington, VT, as well as with other healthcare organizations in the North Country region of New York and with its four area colleges: Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, the State University of New York at Potsdam, and SUNY Canton for clinical education and research opportunities. CPH is accredited as a whole by Det Norske Veritas and by other quality assurance organizations for specific services. CPH is fortunate to count 112 exceptional physicians, physician assistants, and advanced-practice nursing professionals among the members of its medical staff. The Hospital employed approximately 900 people in 2013.
The Hospital’s inpatient campus in Potsdam features the Center for Cancer Care, constructed in 2010 with a door-less radiation treatment design, state-of-the-art linear accelerator with IMRT, and warm, spacious infusion area. The emergency department, renovated in 2010, sees approximately 24,900 visits annually. Inpatient care is overseen by a hospitalist program launched in 2008. Outpatient CPH-operated facilities located in Potsdam and Canton include a Potsdam Urgent Care Center opening in March of 2014, primary care health centers, laboratory and imaging services, physical rehabilitation services, allergy and immunology, OB/GYN, pediatrics, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, ophthalmology, pain medicine. These facilities also house independent physician practices. Outpatient chemical dependency rehabilitation services are offered in Norwood, with primary health centers in Brasher Falls (which also includes physical therapy) and Norfolk.
St. Lawrence Health System: the model for regional care in Northern NY
Providing sustainable hospital care in remote, rural areas is becoming increasingly challenging, intensifying the search for effective models of regional health systems. Gouverneur, NY, a rural community in the southern corner of St. Lawrence County, was living under the threat of being without hospital services following sustained financial losses and closure in September, 2012 for serious deficiencies in its laboratory. With significant DOH assistance, a new hospital board was formed to find the way forward. The EJN Hospital entered into a management agreement with Canton-Potsdam Hospital in March, 2013. CPH, in collaboration with other community organizations—United Helpers, Community Health Center of the North Country, Kinney Drugs, and Clarkson University—was able to reopen the laboratory and establish stringent quality standards and an expanded menu of analyses which the State permitted to be performed in-house; reopen the OR for minor surgeries; apply for and achieve Critical Access Designation allowing for improved reimbursement; hire new practitioners and regain the trust of existing medical practitioners; open a primary care center in the hospital facility; establish, through a CON, a new health system that would encompass a newly established hospital and CPH as affiliates within a parent corporation; apply for a judicial dissolution of EJN; achieve the deadline to begin operations of the new hospital on January 1st, 2014, employing almost all of the staff of the former defunct entity—all achieved within 11 months of the former hospital’s closure. The community of 18,000 residents now has a stable, financially sustainable health system on which to rely for its health needs and St. Lawrence County has a working model of regional collaboration and consolidation from which to draw population-level hospital data for the future of healthcare in the upstate region