The Mount Sinai Medical Center is about to embark on a new chapter, one that calls for growth and expansion through a planned combination with Continuum Health Partners, and continued success within a challenging health care environment.
That message was conveyed by leaders of The Mount Sinai Medical Center at three Town Hall meetings held on Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, in Stern Auditorium.
“Our combination with Continuum is about preserving Mount Sinai for decades to come as a great institution,” said Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, before a standing-room-only crowd of faculty, staff, and students on Wednesday morning. “It is time that we move to the next step in health care and that is an integrated health care delivery system.”
Dr. Davis told the audiences there were several reasons why the proposed combination would benefit patients and the communities served.
• Economies of scale: “With revenues shrinking and expenses staying on the trajectory they’ve always been on, we had to find a way to be more efficient, and we can do that with size and scale,” he said. “We can save on corporate back office spaces, and do better in other ways because of size.”
• A changing health care business model: As medicine moves from a fee-for-service system to a population-based risk management system, Dr. Davis said, “Suddenly prevention is more important, value is more important. We have the same incentive to keep people well and out of the hospital. But which systems are going to be best prepared to meet that challenge? They’ve got to be very large systems.”
• Complementary strengths: “When you superimpose Continuum’s ambulatory and primary care system on ours, we find that it rarely overlaps and is quite robust,” said Dr. Davis. “We will have the largest distribution of primary care doctors among all the health care groups in the city. We’ll have more confidence that the actuarial risk over a larger population of patients will be diminished.”
• Additional capacity: “Our operating rooms are chock full, our beds are chock full, our Emergency Department is all filled, and very quickly our laboratories and the Dean’s facilities are going to be all filled,” Dr. Davis said. “To continue on our strategy of growth we need capacity. The Continuum system gives us that capacity.”
Over time, all of Continuum’s affiliations with other medical schools will be transitioned to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which will serve all seven campuses. With Continuum’s faculty fully integrated into Mount Sinai’s, the new health care system will be part of an academic medical center and one of the top medical schools in the country, said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The combination will expand opportunities for Mount Sinai’s medical students, who will have “an incredible menu of clinical experience to choose from so they won’t have to go outside of the Mount Sinai Health System for their training,” said Dr. Charney. “Continuum has a robust series of residencies and fellowships, and we’ll be able to look together at these programs and decide over time what programs should remain separate and what should merge in some fashion to increase the quality of training experiences for our house staff and fellows.”
In addition, he said the enlarged Mount Sinai Health System will be able to create clinical centers of excellence across the spectrum of medical and psychiatric conditions. “Our clinical depth within these specialties will increase enormously. And that results in a better opportunity to conduct clinical research and discover new treatments that our patients with serious illness desperately need.”
In terms of satisfying demand for extra space prior to the combination, David L. Reich, MD, Interim President and Chief Operating Officer of The Mount Sinai Hospital, pointed out locations throughout the Manhattan campus and at Mount Sinai Queens that are being renovated and expanded.
He also congratulated the Mount Sinai team responsible for the hospital’s new certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center—the first medical center in New York State to receive this designation from the Joint Commission.