Kane hospital, Hamot soon may be part of UPMC

Just over a year ago, Kane Community Hospital officially became affiliated with the Hamot Medical Center in Erie.Within a few months, Hamot is expected to formally affiliate with the giant University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)."This is a big deal," Gary Rhodes said Thursday in commenting on the pending "definitive agreement" between Hamot and UPMC. Rhodes, the chief executive officer at Kane Community Hospital (KCH), said the "trickle-down" effect from the Hamot-UPMC affiliation would bring many benefits to the Kane hospital.KCH, with its 31 patient beds, would be the smallest hospital under the UPMC umbrella, Rhodes said. But the link with UPMC through Hamot would give KCH beneficial "buying power" and other hospital management tools that are out of reach for most small medical facilities."I'm very happy," Rhodes said in giving his assessment of the pending Hamot-UPMC affiliation and its benefits for the Kane hospital. "I'm looking forward to it; it's all good."Rhodes spoke Thursday at the annual KCH public meeting at the second floor conference room at the hospital. About a dozen attended the hour-long meeting.UPMC is an $8 billion global health network based in Pittsburgh. With nearly 50,000 employees, including 2,700 physicians, UPMC is the largest employer in western Pennsylvania.Hamot, located along State Street near the harbor in Erie, has 351 beds and is recognized as one of the nation's top hospitals. UPMC also is rated as one of the leading health systems in the U.S.The direct link with Hamot and UPMC is expected to solidify the future of KCH."We're not going anywhere," Rhodes said. "We're going to be in Kane."For more on this story, see the Dec. 17 edition of The Daily Press.