NLH launches its own cardiology group

GLOVERSVILLE — Nathan Littauer Hospital is ending its 33-year outside relationship with Cardiology Associates of Schenectady, and recently launched its own Primary Care Center’s Cardiology Group (PCC Cardiology).

According to a NLH news release, PCC is a locally owned, locally run practice that makes comprehensive cardiac care easily accessible to patients in Fulton County.

“This program strikes a nice balance between independence and collaboration,” said Sean Fadale, president and CEO of Nathan Littauer Hospital. “Most importantly, it gives Nathan Littauer patients the best of both worlds—high-quality cardiology care close to home, and seamless access to higher level services, if necessary.”

Cardiology Associates of Schenectady announced in June to its Gloversville area heart patients that it has provided care to the Nathan Littauer community and Fulton County — with seven physicians — for 33 years. But not anymore.

“It is with great sadness that we received the unexpected and disappointing news that Nathan Littauer has terminated our lease and asked us to leave the hospital campus in 90 days,” Cardiology Associates of Schenectady indicated in a June 10 letter to its patients. “It is our understanding that they plan to bring in cardiologists from outside this community. We were not involved in this planning or decision making.”

NLH in its news release stated that PCC Cardiology at Littauer provides integrated cardiology services for inpatients at the hospital and for outpatients at PCC Cardiology offices in the hospital’s medical arts building at 99 East State St.

The new services are provided under a partnership with Albany Medical Center Hospital and Saratoga Hospital, two affiliates in the Albany Med Health System. Under the arrangement, PCC Cardiology patients receive cardiac care in their community. Those who require a higher level of care—for cardiac catheterization and interventional procedures—are treated at Saratoga Hospital or Albany Medical Ceny Medical Center Hospital, as appropriate, and return to PCC Cardiology for follow-up services.

PCC Cardiology is the latest example of Nathan Littauer’s commitment to deliver a continuum of community-based services at Fulton County’s only hospital, the release said.

“For 25 years, we have been building service lines for our patients,” said Patrice McMahon, vice president of primary/specialty care at Littauer and PCC Cardiology project lead. “The development of PCC Cardiology—and the integration of cardiology and primary care services—is a natural progression as we continue to enhance care coordination and the overall patient experience.”

Dr. Frederick Goldberg, chief medical officer at Nathan Littauer, cited the expertise of the cardiology team, which has earned American Heart Association recognition for quality measures that improve treatment for patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Goldberg also emphasized the advantages of having cardiac specialty care and complementary services under one roof.

“We know that early detection is essential in treating heart disease and preventing severe cardiac illness,” he said. “Having highly skilled cardiologists on-site at our Gloversville center will increase opportunities for physicians to identify patients with unaddressed cardiac conditions and coordinate their care.”

The decision to invite Saratoga Hospital and Albany Medical Center Hospital to partner with PCC Cardiology reflects Nathan Littauer’s determination to continually find innovative ways to deliver specialty care to this rural community, the release said.

“We share Nathan Littauer’s commitment to excellent, compassionate care. We consider it a privilege to be invited to help provide that to the people of Fulton County,” said Angelo Calbone, president and CEO of Saratoga Hospital.

“We are proud to be part of this partnership and to have the opportunity to elevate this community’s standards of care by providing easier access to the highly specialized services available through the region’s only academic medical center,” said Dr. Dennis P. McKenna, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center Hospital.

PCC Cardiology opened in early June, and “already we are seeing the impact on our community,” said Jackie Wilson, practice coordinator. “Patients welcome the convenience of having this care available locally. As word spreads, we expect the momentum to continue.”

The release said the new practice also gives Nathan Littauer the opportunity to further its vision of enhancing access to screenings and other services that help detect heart disease early when treatment is likely to be most effective. The hospital will promote these efforts with a social media campaign in the coming weeks.

“Nathan Littauer is focused on positively changing the landscape of heart care within the communities we serve,” Fadale said. “With PCC Cardiology and the prevention programs offered through our primary care services, we can make even more progress in strengthening the hearts of our community.”

NLH officials mentioned in its release that PCC Cardiology at Littauer replaces Cardiology Associates of Schenectady as the provider of cardiac services at the hospital.

“They were a good partner, and we wish them luck in the future,” Fadale said. “In recent years, we recognized a growing need for organization-centric cardiology services. PCC Cardiology at Littauer meets that need and best serves our community.”

Cardiology Associates of Schenectady in its June 10 letter — added: “Our new partnership with St. Peter’s Health Partners allows us to provide more choices for our patients and strengthen all our cardiac programs.”

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