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RRH Affiliation FAQs

We’re pleased to announce St. Lawrence Health System (SLHS) has formally affiliated with Rochester Regional Health (RRH). This affiliation will help to enhance healthcare services across the region and ensure SLHS can continue its commitment to provide the highest quality healthcare to the people of St. Lawrence County.

For more information, visit: https://www.stlawrencehealthsystem.org/rrh-affiliation.

Below are some frequently asked questions we hope will hope you will find helpful. We will update these FAQs as often as appropriate. 

Q. How does this benefit our community?
A. Healthcare as we know it continues to transform, which is why it is important for us to be on the forefront of navigating these changes. By becoming part of RRH, we give our patients access to more resources, innovative practices and technology, all while working to lower costs. SLHS and RRH believe the proposed affiliation will benefit the residents of St. Lawrence County by creating a comprehensive, regional integrated healthcare system. The affiliation will allow each organization to improve its population-healthcare management capabilities to better meet the healthcare needs of the patient populations served.

One of the more immediate benefits our community will experience is the implementation of Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) by the end of Year 1 of the Affiliation.  Epic EHR is a secure, digital environment for patient’s health information accessible to physicians throughout RRH and SLHS health systems to better coordinate care.  Epic is a tool that will help transform the way we provide care, improve the patient experience, and deliver better health outcomes for those we serve. Each member of the SLHS health system will be connected to a single medical patient record and embedded clinical intelligence. It ensures that clinical decisions are based on the most up-to-date information available to them. Epic also provides patients with the ability to privately view their own medical record anytime, anywhere through a secure, digital portal called MyCare, with the ability to track things like appointments, test results, and medications, it makes personal health information more easily accessible and adds value to our patients’ experiences.

Q. Will the patient services that SLHS currently provides change after the affiliation?
A. This affiliation with RRH will provide the organizational structure for SLHS to clinically integrate and align its clinical service lines and trauma services with RRH. This affiliation will provide for greater operational efficiencies, as well as collaboration and best-practice sharing among physicians, clinical, support and administrative teams, with the goal to improve patient care and safety outcomes.

Q. What will this likely new arrangement mean for the community?
A. SLHS will continue to keep its Trauma status and create stronger ties to the services available within RRH. Additionally, the shared system services and expanded physician groups and specialties will provide our patients and the community with exceptional quality, as well as more choices and access. For our employees and medical staff, this arrangement offers an opportunity for growth across a system level.

Q. Will patients requiring specialty care be transferred?
A. Transfers to another hospital are considered after a thorough medical assessment; and are determined by many factors, including patient criticality and availability of specialty care across all of our local and regional healthcare organizations.  

Q. Will employed physicians remain in the same locations?
A. SLHS and RRH are both committed to having a regional presence in St. Lawrence County and we anticipate minimal changes – if any – regarding clinic locations.

Q. I hear RRH might close my hospital(s), is this true?  
A. There are no plans to close any of the SLHS hospital sites. Conversely, we are working toward more robust options in terms of accessing care (e.g. telehealth). A more integrated organization will create high-quality care at a lower cost, and will intentionally make healthcare accessibility for our communities more realistic.

Q. Why did SLHS decide to join RRH?
A.  RRH is a proven healthcare leader with national recognition in patient outcomes, quality and safety, nursing, stroke care and more. This alignment allows us the opportunity to have seamless integration with a like-minded health system that will ultimately expand our patients’ access to the latest in healthcare.

Q. Why did RRH decide to affiliate SLHS?
A.  Health systems sometimes affiliate to combine different, but compatible, capabilities and in doing so, make their sum greater than their parts. This is the case with leading health systems, such as RRH.   By affiliating with SLHS, RRH will be in a better position to enhance that coordination of patient care, share information through electronic medical records, and facilitate population health management, risk-based contracting, standardized care, and joint purchasing.

Q. Will SLHS be assuming the RRH name?
A. While there are no plans to change SLHS's name in the foreseeable future, incorporating a single, cross-brand, name is generally effective at the outset of an affiliation as long as it adequately reflects the combined capabilities of the two organizations. A single name mitigates the need for a longer-term migration plan. In the case of most mergers and affiliations, the name of the governing organization (e.g. RRH) will typically be incorporated in some form.

Q. Why does SLHS need to affiliate?
A. The reasons behind affiliations are countless, but the rationale at the forefront can be summarized by support in bearing the financial risk in emerging value-based payment systems, as well as clinical standardization to reduce cost and improve quality.

Affiliations, such as SLHS and RRH, are also creating otherwise unattainable opportunistic advantages for smaller hospitals and health systems, alleviating administrative burdens via better access to resources and technology and offering attractive innovative technological equipment and software.

Q. Can you tell me more about RRH?
A. Rochester Regional Health is the leading provider of comprehensive care for Western New York and the Finger Lakes region. From harnessing research and technology, to helping patients redefine the odds—RRH is leading the evolution of healthcare. It’s a commitment to health that exceeds expectations, reaching beyond the present into what’s next.

Formed in 2014 with the joining of Rochester General and Unity Health systems, now, as one organization, Rochester Regional Health brings to its mission a broad spectrum of resources, an ability to advocate for better care, a commitment to innovation and an abiding dedication to caring for the community. 

Although the system currently includes five hospitals, RRH operates as a truly integrated health services organization. This network includes: 

  • Hospitals and physicians
  • ElderONE/PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and home health programs
  • Outpatient laboratories
  • Rehabilitation programs and surgical centers
  • Independent and assisted living centers and skilled nursing facilities.

Visit https://www.rochesterregional.org/ for specific information related to RRH's history and services.