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US&J file photo

Eastern Niagara Hospital and Kaleida Health’s intention to switch to an “active parent affiliation,” as announced last year, has hit a snag.

Eastern Niagara Hospital has hit a snag on its way to building a stronger relationship with Kaleida Health after desired state funding was not obtained. 

In 2016, ENH and Kaleida Health entered a "loose affiliation" agreement, and in 2018 they had announced their intention to switch to an "active parent affiliation" in a Certificate of Need request submitted to the state health department. The certificate was granted and the state gave the entities one year to achieve affiliation.

Anne McCaffrey, ENH president and CEO, said both entities applied for grant funding from the state to fund two items necessary to achieving active parent affiliation status. Kaleida requested $6 million in grant funding to integrate the IT systems of ENH and Kaleida, so that the two entities can use the same medical electronic records and billing technology. 

ENH requested about $8 million to retire outstanding debt.

"Both of those are critical for the future financial viability of Eastern Niagara Hospital," McCaffrey said Tuesday.  

When a round of state health funding was announced in February, neither Kaleida nor ENH was on the recipients' list.

McCaffrey said she believes there will be another opportunity for the grant requests to be reviewed. Meanwhile, both entities have requested that the state health department give them until April 2020 to try and achieve affiliation.

"This gives us more time to achieve some financial goals we have in the meantime," McCaffrey said. "I’m hopeful that if the grants are approved that will put us in a position were we can move forward with active parent affiliation."

Kaleida Health administrators did not respond to the US&J's requests for comment Tuesday.