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Cortland Regional Medical Center pursues affiliation with Pennsylvania–based Guthrie

The entrance to Cortland Regional Medical Center, which has signed an agreement with Sayre, Pennsylvania–based Guthrie to “move toward a definitive affiliation agreement.” (Photo credit: Cortland Regional Medical Center website)

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Cortland Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and Sayre, Pennsylvania–based Guthrie have signed a non-binding letter of intent that outlines plans to “move toward a definitive affiliation agreement.”

The parties will now conduct their research and assess how to “grow and strengthen” access to community-based health care for the Cortland County region, according to a news release posted Wednesday on the CRMC website.

A precise timetable for the process is “difficult to predict,” CRMC contends, as the parties involved will have “numerous” details to resolve during the due-diligence phase.


The process

Cortland Regional Medical Center’s collaboration task force has spent more than 20 months working to identify a “preferred partner,” the release stated.

CRMC first announced its intent to explore affiliation with a larger health-care system in October 2016. The collaboration task force worked with Mark Webster, president and CEO of Cortland Regional Medical Center; senior leadership; physician leaders; the board of trustees; and with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania–based Veralon, a health-care consulting firm, to “develop and issue” a formal request for proposals last December.

“Throughout this very competitive and data-driven process, the collaboration task force has focused on identifying a future partner that’s both financially and strategically committed to preserving and expanding access to high-quality healthcare services in Cortland,” said Webster. “After carefully evaluating each proposal, Guthrie has emerged as the best possible partner to support the lifelong health-care needs of our region, and to help our organization grow and thrive in a rapidly changing, consumer-driven, health-care market.”

Guthrie has indicated that converting CRMC’s technology infrastructure would cost about $41 million, according to Webster. This “basic cost” of doing business would also include the implementation of EPIC as the electronic medical record and PeopleSoft for business applications.

Like CRMC, Guthrie “understands the challenge” of delivering quality health care in a rural setting, Dr. Joseph Scopelliti, president and CEO of Guthrie, contended.

“It is my firm belief that people living outside of an urban area deserve reliable access to quality care. Guthrie has historically been committed to this concept. It was Dr. Donald Guthrie’s founding philosophy. The signing of this letter of intent continues the discussion — but now more formally — about how Guthrie and Cortland Regional can work together to ensure reliable, local access to high quality care for the Cortland community,” said Scopelliti.

Guthrie is a nonprofit, integrated health care system that operates Guthrie Corning Hospital in Corning plus three hospitals in the Keystone State, including Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa.

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