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Albany Business Review June 2024: St. Mary’s Healthcare CEO wants hospital to stay independent

This article was originally published by the Albany Business Review, written by Todd Kehoe on June 19, 2024. 
 
Within the first two years of his career in health care, Jeff Methven went from just hired to head of the HR department.
That upward trajectory has continued, moving to Saratoga Hospital as a vice president in 2006 before being named CEO at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam early last year.
Since taking over, Methven has tried to tackle the hospital’s most pressing problems — budget deficits — while also resetting the culture and thinking about new ways to make the organization part of the community.
“We’ve made progress. We’ve still got a lot of progress to go,” Methven said.
You’ve been with St. Mary’s for about a year and a half now. How did you set the culture when you started here as CEO? I think, initially, it’s shaking hands, meeting and greeting. You have to be visible, out on the units, in the departments. We’ve done some things to really try and improve communication. … I spend, usually once or twice a week, a few hours with an associate or group of associates in areas, actually putting on scrubs and doing that work with them.
What are some things you’ve learned? Late last week, I was with our case managers and what was eye-opening for me was just how integral they are to the discharge process. Every day they’re essentially trying to put a puzzle together. … We have a team, our ACT program that deals with mental health population, and they’re really on the front lines,

going into homes and keeping individuals who otherwise might not be successful in society be able to stay self-dependent. That was eye-opening, going into homes and seeing some of the situations those patients are trying to navigate.

St. Mary’s is running at a deficit, but you’ve noted those have come down. How do you tackle that? In my mind, you’re not going to shrink your way to profitability. You have to grow your way there, and that’s one of the tenets I consistently reinforce with our leadership team. So we’ve turned some new programs on. … We have a new pulmonary program coming online for us July 1, that’s going to be a huge opportunity for us. And we’re making sure we’re improving access and patient experience. A lot of hospitals struggle with that, but we’re making sure we’re doing everything we can to answer phone calls and give patients appointments in a reasonable timeframe.
Is it hard to recruit providers to a smaller, somewhat more rural hospital? It’s more difficult. I think there’s limited housing here and there’s less going on here than in, say, Albany or Saratoga. If I’m a new physician in a specialty field, I can work for a larger group where I’m on call one night in 20 instead of every other night. So how do you create the right environment, or find other organizations to collaborate with to alleviate or ease some of that burden?
St. Mary’s split with Ascension in 2020, but the trend in health care is toward consolidation. How long do you think you can stay independent? Our plan is to remain independent. It creates unique challenges, especially in a smaller, more rural community. We can’t be all things to everyone. But one of the reasons we left Ascension as I understand it — it happened before my time here — is that the hospital was seeing money leave the area and was losing its autonomy and ability to set the direction for its health care.
If you were handed a magic wand, what’s the first thing you do to fix health care? I would say probably to set reimbursement rates at a level that aligns with cost of care. I think the challenge for most hospitals is cost of care is rising and reimbursements are not.
What would you like to invest in next at the hospital? Like a lot of hospitals, infrastructure is a big opportunity. We see about 25,000 ER visits a year, and our footprint is about 8,000 square feet. Based on today’s standards, we probably need an ER that’s three times that size. I think that would enhance the experience for our patients, and that’s what we’re trying to do, improve the experience and not have folks feel like they have to leave the area for high-quality care.
What are your goals for, say, 10 years from now for St. Mary’s? I’d love to see St. Mary’s profitable. I’d love to see newer, state-of-the-art facilities, I’d love to see additional collaborative relationships with other hospital and organizations. I’d love to see the city of Amsterdam continue to flourish, I’d love to see some of that growth we’ve seen across other parts of the Capital Region continue to move west.
I think there has to be a symbiotic relationship between city and hospital. We’re the largest employer, and as we go, so goes the city. If the city can be successful and thrive, if it can create new housing opportunities and create more culture, create more activities, that helps us grow.
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Gabriele Sasso Named Director of Pharmacy at St. Mary’s Healthcare

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., June 12, 2024—Gabriele Sasso, of Hagaman, has been promoted to director of pharmacy at St. Mary’s Healthcare, responsible for pharmacy operations throughout the St. Mary’s organization. Previously, he served as clinical pharmacy manager.

“This promotion recognizes Gabe’s emphasis on clinical excellence as well as his commitment to St. Mary’s, our mission and the community we serve,” said Jeff Methven, St. Mary’s president and CEO. “In the eight years since he joined the St. Mary’s team, Gabe has consistently taken on additional responsibilities and played a lead role in patient care an
d quality initiatives.”
Sasso serves on numerous St. Mary’s committees, including the Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, ICU-Based Council, Board Quality and Patient Safety Committee, and more.
He earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and is board certified in pharmacotherapy and infectious diseases. Sasso is a member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and of Phi Lambda Sigma, the National Pharmacy Leadership Society.
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Dr. Jesse J. Hollis Joins Surgical Team at St. Mary’s Healthcare

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., Aug. __, 2023—Dr. Jesse J. Hollis has joined the surgical team of St. Mary’s Healthcare and its multispecialty physician practice. He brings 13 years of experience in general, minimally invasive and robotic surgery. 

Most recently, Dr. Hollis held the position of attending surgeon at Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, New York. He also held an academic appointment as assistant clinical professor of surgery at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. 

“At a time when rural community hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit surgeons, St. Mary’s is extremely fortunate to be able to attract a physician with Dr. Hollis’ skill, experience, and commitment to providing excellent care to our community,” said Jeff Methven, St. Mary’s president and CEO. “St. Mary’s is a great choice for patients and providers, and we will continue to deliver that message as we expand our team and increase access to quality healthcare close to home.” 

Dr. Hollis was born and raised in upstate New York. A graduate of the University at Albany, State University of New York, he earned his medical degree from New York Institute of Technology, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury, New York. He went on to complete a residency in general surgery at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, followed by a fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Baptist Health South Florida, in Miami. 

Dr. Hollis is board certified in general surgery and a member of both the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. He sees patients at St. Mary’s Surgical Health Center at Holland Circle Medical Plaza in Amsterdam. For appointments, call 518-843-6914. 

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Auxiliary Donates $50,000 to St. Mary’s Healthcare

Auxiliary Donates $50,000 to St. Mary’s Healthcare

 Latest installment on $500,000 multiyear pledge

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., August 28, 2023— St. Mary’s Healthcare recently received $50,000 from its auxiliary—the latest installment on a $500,000 pledge for the hospital’s “Preserving Our Promise” capital campaign.

One of the largest gifts to the campaign, the St. Mary’s Healthcare Auxiliary donation helped fund the expansion of the Rao Outpatient Pavilion and the expansion and renovation of the inpatient chemical dependency unit located on the St. Mary’s Healthcare Memorial Campus.

The Rao Outpatient Pavilion provides easy access to primary, pediatric and urgent care—all under one roof. The pavilion also is home to cancer care, infusion therapy, laboratory and imaging services, plus a community pharmacy.

“Every day, countless patients benefit from the extraordinary generosity and commitment of our auxiliary members,” said Jeff Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “They are invaluable partners who play a vital role in helping St. Mary’s provide high-quality care where our community needs it most—close to home.”

St. Mary’s Healthcare Auxiliary was founded in 1921 and has been serving the hospital and community ever since through fundraising, advocacy, and community outreach and awareness efforts. Over the years, the auxiliary has raised funds for high-tech Emergency Department, surgical and imaging equipment; to enhance pediatric, maternity and cancer services; and to support numerous other hospital projects and programs.

Auxiliary volunteers staff the “You-nique Boutique” gift shop and conduct the popular “Christmas in November” fundraising tour. With the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare, the auxiliary also co-hosts the annual Gala Ball.

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St. Mary’s Healthcare Names Human Resources Director

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., July 17, 2023—Ron Bentley of Gloversville has been named director of compensation and human resources information systems at St. Mary’s Healthcare.

Bentley has more than two decades of human resources-related experience, including designing and administering programs and policies, ensuring compliance, and implementing information systems. Most recently, he was manager of HR information systems and compensation at Saratoga Hospital.

“In today’s highly competitive job market, compensation and other HR-related programs have taken on increased significance,” said Jeff Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “Ron’s experience in developing these programs will help St. Mary’s become a top choice for team members who share our commitment to quality healthcare and the best possible patient experience.”

Bentley has a bachelor’s degree in business management and economics, with a concentration in human resource management, from SUNY Empire State College. He also has an associate degree in business administration from Schenectady County Community College.

Pictured: Ron Bentley, Director of Compensation and Human Resources Information Systems at St. Mary’s Healthcare

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St. Mary’s Healthcare Names Director of Specialty Care and Ambulatory Nurse Practice

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., June 26, 2023—Nichole Mello has been appointed director of specialty care and ambulatory nurse practice at St. Mary’s Healthcare. A registered nurse, Mello has more than a decade of clinical and leadership experience.

At St. Mary’s, she will oversee operations at the hospital’s specialty medical practices, provide clinical leadership for all physician offices, and be responsible for nursing practice activities at all physician and outpatient locations.

“The director of specialty care and ambulatory nurse practice plays a key role in ensuring high-quality care, excellent patient outcomes, and the best possible patient experience—all of which are critical for a growing hospital like St. Mary’s,” said Jeff Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “Nichole is an ideal choice for this position and an asset both to the St. Mary’s team and the community we serve.”

Mello comes to St. Mary’s from Saratoga Hospital, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, including manager of population health and engagement and director of nursing for Saratoga Hospital Medical Group. Throughout her career as a clinician and clinician nursing leader, Mello has developed and implemented quality improvement initiatives and clinical education and professional development programs to improve care and enhance the patient experience.

A graduate of SUNY Adirondack, Mello has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in nursing administration, both from Empire State College. She holds Certified Professional Certification in Healthcare Quality certification and is a member of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.

Pictured: Nichole Mello, Director of Specialty Care and Ambulatory Nurse Practice at St. Mary’s Healthcare

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Kristin Mosher Named Director of Marketing and Communications at St. Mary’s Healthcare

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., June 12, 2023—Kristin Mosher has been named director of marketing and communications at St. Mary’s Healthcare, responsible for internal and external communications.

A Johnstown native currently residing in Ballston Spa, Mosher has more than a decade of integrated marketing experience with healthcare organizations. Most recently, she was director of marketing and communications at Saratoga Hospital, where she oversaw a significant expansion of digital marketing efforts. Mosher also was instrumental in increasing community awareness of hospital programs and services.

“Kristin brings an invaluable combination of strengths to St. Mary’s—exceptional marketing and communications skills, a track record of success, and an appreciation of the vital role of a community hospital,” said Jeff Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “We look forward to making the most of her talents and experience as St. Mary’s continues to grow and serve our community.”

Mosher also has strong ties to the community. She and her husband grew up in the Fulton-Montgomery region and still have family here.

Before joining Saratoga Hospital, Mosher held positions of increasing responsibility at WEGO Health, now part of the social health company Health Union. She has a bachelor’s degree from Bryant University in Rhode Island and certifications in digital, mobile, online, content and inbound marketing.

Pictured: Kristin Mosher, Director of Marketing and Communications at St. Mary’s Healthcare

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Maureen Rhodes Named Executive Director of the Foundation for St. Mary’s Healthcare

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., April 21, 2023—Maureen Rhodes has been promoted to executive director of the Foundation for St. Mary’s Healthcare, responsible for fundraising to support St. Mary’s programs and services and enhance community health. 

Rhodes has 19 years of administrative experience at St. Mary’s in positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently, she served as director of physician business development, including recruitment and retention.  

“Maureen has the skills and experience to grow the Foundation and help ensure that St. Mary’s continues to meet the healthcare needs of our community for generations to come,” said Jeff Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “She is respected throughout our organization for her commitment to St. Mary’s and the community she has long called home.” 

 In her new role, Rhodes works with the board of directors of St. Mary’s Healthcare, the Foundation board and St. Mary’s Auxiliary to raise funds that play a vital role in furthering St. Mary’s mission of serving all with compassion and excellence. Foundation donations help fund equipment purchases, construction and renovation projects, employee continuing education, and healthcare scholarships. The Foundation also provides financial assistance to St. Mary’s associates and to patients during times of financial hardship. 

 “Every gift stays right here in our community and makes a difference to our patients every day,” Rhodes said. “We are extremely grateful to our donors for their enduring support. Through their generosity, the Foundation has raised over $9 million since its founding in 1984.” 

 Rhodes has a Bachelor of Science degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She is a longtime resident of Johnstown. 

Pictured: Maureen Rhodes, executive director of the Foundation for St. Mary’s Healthcare.

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Amsterdam Family Practice Joins St. Mary’s Healthcare

AMSTERDAM, N.Y., April 3, 2023—Amsterdam Family Practice has joined St. Mary’s Healthcare effective April 1 in a partnership that strengthens the two organizations’ connection and enhances their ability to meet the healthcare needs of Fulton and Montgomery counties. 

Both organizations have deep roots in the community. Both share a commitment to making sure the region’s residents can receive high-quality healthcare close to home. 

“This partnership is a natural next step for Amsterdam Family Practice, St. Mary’s and the community we both serve,” said Jeffrey Methven, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Healthcare. “As members of the same healthcare organization, we can build on and expand the exceptional, essential primary care services that Amsterdam Family Practice already provides. When primary care patients need additional services, we also can better coordinate their care through the St. Mary’s healthcare network.” 

Amsterdam Family Practice has served Fulton and Montgomery counties for more than 35 years, providing excellent primary care to individuals of all ages. Patients of the practice will continue to receive the same compassionate care, from providers they already know and trust, at the existing location at 119 Holland Circle Drive in Amsterdam. The practice will continue to provide the same services you are accustomed to receiving, but will now be through Carondelet Regional Medical, P.C., a professional services corporation of St. Mary’s Healthcare. 

“Our partners and providers at Amsterdam Family Practice view this as an exciting opportunity for Amsterdam Family Practice and St. Mary’s to provide the comprehensive care that can have a powerful, positive impact on long-term health and quality of life,” said Melissa Helm, practice manager at Amsterdam Family Practice.  

“We look forward to growing and thriving with St. Mary’s and serving our patients and our community together.” Providers in Amsterdam Family Practice are Dr. William Forlano, Dr. Robert Droege, Dr. Walter Cummings, Dr. George Weis and Family Nurse Practitioners Chelsea Sohns and Nichole Santiago. 

With Amsterdam Family Practice, St. Mary’s Healthcare includes more than 200 active providers in 20 primary and specialty care practices. 

Pictured left to right: Dr. William Forlano, Family Nurse Practitioner Nichole Santiago, Family Nurse Practitioner Chelsea Sohns, Dr. George Weis, Dr. Walter Cummings (not pictured Dr. Robert Droege).

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St. Mary’s Healthcare Newest DAISY Awardee – Barbara Klingbeil, LPN – Amsterdam Primary Care

Amsterdam, NY (March 16, 2023) – Amsterdam’s St. Mary’s Healthcare Amsterdam Primary Care congratulates Barbara Klingbeil, LPN as the Newest DAISY Awardee! Barbara’s nomination was submitted by a thoughtful colleague, who witnessed Barbara’s compassion and positive approach. Barbara’s nomination read, “We had a situation where a patient’s transportation home after an appointment was delayed. Barb stepped right in and made sure he had some lunch and helped him walk to stretch his legs after waiting in a chair and was stiff. Barb went above and beyond to ensure this patient was taken care of in a situation that was out of our control. Barbara lives the mission of our hospital by taking care of and putting our patient’s care first. She always is the first to step up with anything a patient needs.”
The DAISY Award is an initiative of the DAISY Foundation that honors the amazing work nurses do for patients & families every day wherever they practice, in whatever role they serve, and throughout their careers.

Do you want to serve others? Look no further than at St. Mary’s Healthcare for a Life Changing Career. Visit St. Mary’s Hospital Jobs, Healthcare Careers, Amsterdam, NY (smha.org)

Pictured: St. Mary’s Healthcare Barbara Klingbeil, LPN Amsterdam Primary Care Newest DAISY Awardee.