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New Partner Sought for NWH

Northern Westchester Hospital CEO Joel Seligman.
Northern Westchester Hospital CEO Joel Seligman.
A new partner is being sought for Northern Westchester Hospital, according to CEO Joel Seligman, who made overview presentations to local town boards in December.

The hope is for NWH, which is located in Mount Kisco, to have a new partner in the coming year. The search started out with eight organizations, according to Seligman, and has winnowed down to three to four, he said at a Dec. 17 presentation. Seligman could not name prospective partners due to a non-disclosure aspect.

The partnership would follow the hospital's exit from Stellaris Health Network, a 4-hospital group that has been part of, according to Seligman's presentation. That arrangement will end during the first week of January, he explained.

Stellaris, on its website, states that it was formed in 1996 by Northern Westchester Hospital and White Plains Hospital, with Bronxville's Lawrence Hospital Center and Sleepy Hollow's Phelps Memorial Hospital Center joining in 1997.

Even though NWH is leaving Stellaris, there will still be sharing of some services, Seligman explained.

In laying out the hospital's future, Seligman made a case for why NWH is better off joining in a partnership than being a standalone hospital. The advantages cited include better capital access and purchasing cost. He also listed several items involved in the matter, which include local control and brand.

Seligman, at other times in his presentation, talked about broader trends, such as the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

One notable aspect is the emergence of the Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which involve healthcare entities that can have a variety of things, including hospital ownership and offering insurance. Seligman cited examples of healtchare providers also acting as insurers, including Montefiore and North Shore LIJ

Seligman also talked about a shift in healthcare cost, with the trend being a movement away from the fee-for-service model and towards one that involves paying for value or outcome, a change that he feels is significant.

The hospital CEO was asked by elected officials about pricing, including disclosure of it.

Bedford Councilman David Gabrielson, for example, brought up being told about cost by a doctor, along with being given a statement for what was given.

Chris Burdick, a fellow Bedford councilman and incoming supervisor, recalled an anecdote of his daughter owing $2,000 out of a $10,000 hospital bill that was in connection with an operation. He suggested that knowledge of pricing can lead to a difference in behavior. 

Seligman was sympathetic in his response and felt that there will be transparency. 

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