New York hospital severs 24-year tie with anesthesiology provider

Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital, part of Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaleida Health, will shift to a new anesthesiology provider Jan. 1, 2019, ending a 24-year relationship with its current provider, according to Buffalo Business First.

Hospital officials announced last week that the 186-bed facility will switch to Buffalo-based Great Lakes Anesthesiology. The decision marks the first major vendor change the hospital has undergone since becoming part of Kaleida Health last year, Buffalo Business First states.

A Kaleida Health spokesperson told Buffalo Business First the decision was difficult, but ultimately the new provider proved more cost-effective than the hospital's previous provider, Olean-based Southern Tier Anesthesiologists.

"Olean General Hospital will save several million dollars over the life of its contract with Great Lakes Anesthesiology," the spokesperson said. "It's a critical responsibility that demands making difficult decisions that are not always popular but are vital to the stability of the hospital."

Southern Tier Anesthesiologists has served as Olean General Hospital's exclusive anesthesiology provider since 2003. Providers at the group told the Olean Times Herald they are working to find a new contract to continue operations. If they cannot, the practice may shutter, according to Buffalo Business First.

However, community members have rallied around Southern Tier Anesthesiologists. Some organizers started a Facebook page that has garnered more than 2,200 members and calls on hospital leaders to reverse their decision. Stephen Carlson, MD, president of Southern Tier Anesthesiologists, told the Olean Times Herald he and other physicians at the practice were "overwhelmed" by the support their organization has received from the community.

"We're honored and we're flabbergasted by the support," Dr. Carlson told the Olean Times Herald Aug. 21. "We feel like we're blessed to have that and we're just sort of stunned and honored by that."

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