The surge in regional health care networks and partnerships has washed across state borders with a deal that will make a group medical practice in Westchester County, N.Y., a corporate affiliate and part of the community-care network of Boston Children‘s Hospital.
The affiliation with the 276-doctor Children’s & Women’s Physicians of Westchester is the first formed by Boston Children’s Hospital outside Massachusetts, said a spokesman for the 395-bed academic medical center. The primary teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s was named the No. 1 pediatric hospital in the U.S. for 2014-15 by U.S. News & World Report.
“While Boston Children’s has long served patients and families from the tristate area, the affiliation with CWPW will enable us to better serve pediatric patients who require highly complex care, through improved integration,” Sandra L. Fenwick, president and CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, said after the deal was reached earlier this month. “We look forward to building relationships with the clinicians from CWPW as we work together to build the leading pediatric network in the Northeast for children and families across the region.”
The affiliation deal with the Boston hospital, expected to close in July, will not alter the Westchester physician group’s longstanding relationships with Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College in Valhalla and its multiple affiliations and locations in the Hudson Valley region, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, said Leonard Newman, president of CWPW.
Newman declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.
CWPW has its headquarters on the Grasslands campus of New York Medical College, and its physicians are faculty at the medical school. CWPW physicians comprise most of the medical staff at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. A pediatric gastroenterologist at Maria Fareri, Newman chairs the pediatrics department at New York Medical College.
Newman said the specialty practice was formed by 40 to 50 physicians in 2000. About seven to eight years ago, the physicians “decided we wanted to build a network of children’s care in the region,” he said, and expanded the practice into Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess and Orange counties and the Bronx, N.Y. Across the border in Fairfield County, CWPW has opened pediatric offices in Danbury, Norwalk, Greenwich and Stamford.
With the addition this summer of a large pediatric group in northern New Jersey, Children’s & Women’s Physicians will have grown to include more than 320 doctors. It has about 1,000 employees in all at its 57 locations. “It’s a huge practice,” Newman said.
About a year ago, as community hospitals in Westchester aligned with New York City medical centers in new operating and financing agreements, CWPW physicians thought it best to partner with a larger health care group “and really develop a network for children’s care,” Newman said. They explored other Northeast hospitals before deciding that Boston Children’s, as an independent freestanding facility dedicated to children’s care, presented the best opportunity.
In the Boston care network, “There will be a seamless relationship all the way into this area,” Newman said. Children needing more advanced care not performed at Maria Fareri, such as certain organ transplants, can be transported to Boston Children’s for those procedures, he said.
For Boston Children’s, the networking venture with the Westchester physicians group is likely its “largest foray into primary care,” said Newman. “We’ve been looking to do this for a year. We really wanted it to be right … something that would be responsive to families” of children needing care.
Newman said he expects CWPW to introduce telemedicine services as an affiliate of Boston Children’s. “They bring to us a huge amount of new innovative procedures that we might not have here,” he said.
Newman said Boston Children’s also brings its high standing as a research center that has developed its own drug treatments for children. Boston Children’s is awarded about 25 percent of all National Institutes of Health grants in the country, and some of those could go to research done in Westchester, he said.
Developing the Boston hospital’s new community network, Newman said CWPW will make a “major effort” to open more locations in Connecticut. The practice aims to work with all hospitals in the state and hopes to staff hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units as it does in New York, he said.