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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 18, 2012 Contact: Phone: Email: Web: David Ping, Sr.

VP Business Development, Strategic Planning 845-475-9734 dping@health-quest.org www.health-quest.org


Health Quest Announces Initiatives to Ensure High Quality Patient Care Despite Economy Details include expansion investment and cost restructure
Poughkeepsie, NY September 18, 2012 Health Quest announced today a number of costsaving and revenue enhancement initiatives designed to ensure the system will be able to continue to provide the highest quality of care and service to its patients.

Like many healthcare systems across the state and nation, Health Quest has seen a decrease in admissions as patients delay all but the most emergent medical issues due to the tough economic situation, lack of employment or fear of missing work. In addition, bad debt and charity care expenses have risen significantly so far this year. Anticipating many of the pending financial challenges, Health Quest embarked on a project more than a year ago to look for opportunities to create greater efficiencies, increase revenues and reduce expenses. This initiative provided the framework for many of the new programs being implemented and will continue to be a guide for decisions over the next several years.

As outlined in the initiative, Health Quest will continue to invest in expansion of services and new programs designed to better serve the residents of the Hudson Valley. This will allow patients to obtain specialized medical care close to home while also keeping those revenues local. Plans include the addition of an advanced pain management program, full time presence of gynecologic oncology surgery specialists, and expansion of the vascular surgery program. The new ambulatory surgery center at VBMC provides much needed expansion capacity and convenience for surgeons and patients wanting to utilize the state of the art facilities offered at Health Quest facilities.

In addition, Health Quest will continue its planned expansion of Northern Dutchess Hospital. The new building on the Rhinebeck campus will include new operating rooms, single patient rooms and medical office space to serve the increased demand for services at that hospital.

Health Quest is also looking at ways to reduce its overall cost structure. It is renegotiating supply contracts and will reduce the costs of things like pharmaceuticals and orthopedic implants. Nonsupply costs will also be reduced. In addition, Health Quest has instituted a hiring freeze and has not been filling many positions as they have become vacant. Health Quest is also eliminating 27 positions. Many of the individuals in those positions will be offered work elsewhere within the system. Position eliminations affect both union and non-union jobs in the VBMC and Health Quest corporate areas. Putnam Hospital Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital are unaffected by the reductions. The eliminated positions are approximately 0.5% percent of the organizations more than 4,915 employees.

Health Quest is taking these steps now in an effort to be financially prudent. It is our responsibility to ensure that we will be able to provide the highest quality, patient-centered care now and in the long-term, according to Health Quest President and CEO Michael Weber. These are difficult choices to make; but necessary if we are to avoid the loss of services and hospital closures we have seen across the state in recent years.

"Health Quests top priority is to continue to provide the same nationally-recognized quality care and safety our patients have come to expect," Weber said. "We remain strongly positioned as the best and most financially stable healthcare system in the region."

Health Quest is the Mid-Hudson Valley's largest healthcare system providing the highest quality care across a broad spectrum of services. Offering the full range of hospital services, pre-hospital emergency care, homecare and nursing home care, the Health Quest system provides immediate and caring service to the one million people who reside in the New York counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Putnam and northern Westchester. Health Quest hospitals include Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, as well as Health Quest Medical Practice. Health Grades, a leading hospital ratings organization, recently acknowledged Health Quest as the most recognized health system in the Hudson Valley. ###