Primary Care

Project Title

A Partnership to Expand Primary Care Capacity in the North Country

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Primary Care

Date Awarded

March 27, 2015


Capital Region

North Country





The rural communities in the Adirondack region of upstate New York’s North Country lack widespread access to comprehensive primary care services.

This lack of access can result in poor health outcomes, high rates of chronic disease, and increased emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN), a federally qualified health center and North Country’s largest medical group practice, and University of Vermont Health Network (UVHN), a multihospital organization serving all of Vermont and parts of northern New York, were exploring partnership opportunities to improve primary care access and capacity in the region. NYHealth awarded HHHN a grant to support the development of a partnership with UVHN that would best serve the needs of North Country residents.

Under this grant, HHHN worked with UVHN to arrange a plan to provide primary care for 15,000 new patients in the area, of which up to 60% were uninsured or covered by Medicaid. The partnership planning process examined issues such as how to advance health care access for patients from the most vulnerable populations; evidence-based care for people with chronic conditions; physician recruitment and retention; and infrastructure investment across the region. Additionally, the organizations assessed options for a governance structure to guide operational and management oversight of the new primary care sites. A consultant also looked into the legal and regulatory requirements needed to formalize a partnership between a New York-based primary care network and a Vermont-based medical center. The grant provided HHHN with the resources and expertise to fully understand the risks and benefits of the proposed partnership and allowed it to negotiate a plan that was financially and operationally viable for the organization.