Three vie to fill healthcare gap

"The DOH has to be convinced that there is a real need for an emergency department in that community. I'm sure it's concerned with a proliferation of these requests and other hospitals requesting this type of service across the state, so it's being careful about determining need," said Connolly. "We've been trying to work with them to make the case that there is a need based on it being a fast growing area and underserved regarding access and distance."

Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said he is hopeful that the DOH will see the "tremendous amount of support" for a facility like this and approve Ellis' proposal so the project can move forward.

"We're very pleased at the prospect of partnering with an institution like Ellis. The facility would provide wonderful healthcare services to the people of Clifton Park and southern Saratoga County and absolutely increase the level of service they deserve," said Barrett.

According to the DOH, certificates of need are reviewed by set criteria before being approved or denied: public need, financial feasibility, character and competence and construction. Connolly said he believes Ellis Medicine would be the provider to best run a satellite emergency department.

"Our first argument that we would best meet this need is that a) we're closest, b) EMS squads already come to us, c) we're already the major care provider for this area and d) we're a full service hospital. Other hospitals don't have stroke or cardiac centers and we do; I think the argument is pretty obvious," said Connolly.

Connolly said that Ellis Medicine has been talking to Seton Health and Saratoga Hospital about such emergency departments since the beginning of 2009. He said that when he submitted Ellis' proposal, he informed the two other hospitals, who in turn subsequently submitted their proposals for their own satellite emergency departments in areas of southern Saratoga County. Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth said that while she thinks Ellis would do a fine job running a satellite emergency department, she's open to other hospitals taking the reins.

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