In January, Health Alliance Inc., and Woodland Pond at New Paltz announced a plan to seek approval from the New York State Department of Health for a corporate separation. That approval has now been obtained, and along with approvals from a wide variety of stakeholders, the organizations have announced the separation is complete.
“This moment is definitely bittersweet for Woodland Pond,” explains Michelle Gramoglia, Woodland Pond’s former executive director, now president and CEO. “We are excited to move forward with our vision to improve and expand the services available to seniors in the mid-Hudson Valley. We could not have reached this point without the support of HealthAlliance, which helped our community establish itself as a leading senior residential and care provider.”
The separation means that while HealthAlliance was formerly the sole corporate member, or active corporate parent company of Woodland Pond, Woodland Pond will now operate as a self-sponsored continuing care retirement community. Health Alliance Inc., will carry on as the sole corporate member for a number of other acute-care organizations in the Hudson Valley and Catskills area.
Both organizations demonstrated that this change in ownership would not negatively impact either organization financially, operationally or from a governance perspective. For Woodland Pond especially, the focus of the stakeholders during this process was on financial stability and outlook in light of the separation.
In the early years, HealthAlliance provided financial support to Woodland Pond as the community opened and attempted to reach a level of occupancy that would allow its cash flow to be stabilized. Beginning in April 2012, Woodland Pond achieved sufficient occupancy levels to become self-funded, and cash flow support from HealthAlliance ceased. Occupancy levels are currently exceeding projections, and cash levels for operations and future needs remain stable, paving the way for the completion of this separation.
“This is a great day for Woodland Pond,” said HealthAlliance president and CEO David Scarpino. “Rather than just a separation, we see this move as a celebration of Woodland Pond’s coming of age and its passage to total self-sufficiency. Congratulations to its staff, its management and especially its board of directors. They have all done a magnificent job in steering Woodland Pond to this new chapter.”
Specifically, the Woodland Pond board, through this reorganization, has gained a number of powers formerly held by the HealthAlliance board. These include the ability to appoint the president and CEO and all board members, the ability to approve changes in ownership and the incurrence of corporate debt, and the approval of all operating and capital budgets. “We look forward to enhancing the role of our board,” says Beverly Finnegan, chairwoman of the Woodland Pond board. “We have taken our role as a board very seriously to this point, and are thrilled to take this significant step and assume the responsibilities that go along with it.”
HealthAlliance, for its part, is focusing on strengthening healthcare delivery for the residents of Ulster County. Strategies include a substantial investment to transform its Mary’s Avenue Campus in Kingston into a single, state-of-the-art hospital and to redevelop its Broadway Campus into a “medical village.” Once approved, the planned Mary’s Avenue and Broadway campus transformations will be the most comprehensive construction and facilities renovations and conversions in the 122-year history of the two hospitals.
Both organizations will pursue potential affiliations, as appropriate.
“I am confident that HealthAlliance and Woodland Pond will continue to support each other for many years to come in our visions of bettering care for our residents and improving the quality of life for many along the way,” Gramoglia adds.