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History of Rochester General Health System

RGHS's goal is to build an all-inclusive health care delivery system able to provide for and manage patients' health care needs over time, regardless of the setting. This requires a full palate of services from traditional acute and institutional care, to new community-based services such as home health care, housing, transportation and more. Integration not only promises added convenience for our patients but also ensures that our delivery will be cost-effective and of uniformly high quality.

RGHS understands that the pathway to lasting, positive change is paved with partnership -- between patients, physicians, institutions, employees, insurers and the community. To this end, RGHS has established a structure in which physicians, health care administrators and payors share an equal voice, crafting solutions that align our patient care goals with sound financial incentives. This unique brand of partnership has attracted over 1,000 physicians to participate in RGHS managed care initiatives.

The RGHS Plan, a partnership between RGHS and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Rochester Area, represents just one example of what can be accomplished when partnership is a prerequisite.

In 1993, two friendly competitors – Rochester Health Care, Inc. and TGH Health System -- announced that they were considering the formation of a single, multi-hospital corporation. Both organizations believed that the key to reforming the community’s health care system lies in the development of an integrated delivery system. A feasibility study validated the reasons for and the advantages of affiliation and after review by the Federal Trade Commission, the Greater Rochester Health System was formed on Dec. 1, 1994, marking the first multi-hospital health care system in Rochester.

The list of affiliates included: The Genesee, Rochester General and Newark-Wayne Community Hospitals, the Rochester Mental Health Center, and long-term care affiliates Hill Haven  and Independent Living for Seniors. A new affiliate, the Continuing Care Network, was created to oversee the System’s long-term care programs and to serve as a catalyst for managed care activities.

Since its inception, the system has gone through a number of changes. Most notable among them is a change in name from the Greater Rochester Health Service to RGHS in 1997. Over the last four years, in response to the demands of the health industry for more services at a lower cost, the system has worked to integrate its services.

Believing in the power of partnership, the system joined with its physicians in 1996 in the formation of the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA), which was established to give physicians a greater voice in decisions affecting patient care. Also, in 1996, the System offered its first insurance product, the Greater Rochester HealthPlan, (now RGHS Plan) in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Rochester Area. To provide a single point of entry for the system’s psychiatric, substance abuse and behavioral services, the Behavioral Health Network was created in 1997.

The RGHS family has also grown over the years. In September of 1996, the system announced that its Wayne County affiliate, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, had entered into affiliation discussions with the county’s other acute care provider, Myers Community Hospital. Myers Community Hospital officially joined RGHS on April 1, 1998 and RGHS of Wayne was formed. In 1996, the system also welcomed the Community Home Health Agency (now RGHS Home Care) to its list of affiliates and in early 1998, added a licensed home health aide agency, RGHS Home Care II, to the family of providers.

 On Ocotober 3, 2008, RGH and affiliates unviel new branding campaign.  Collectively, Rochester General Hospital and its affiliates will now be part of Rochester General Health System, which more accurately reflects the role of RGH as the tertiary hub, or flagship, of the system.   "For more than 160 years, our organization has provided essential, high quality health care to residents of the greater Rochester area and beyond," said system President and CEO Mark C. Clement.  "The Rochester General name represents a standard of care and service that our community has come to know, truly trust and value. The new brand leverages that recognition and trust, and creates a clearer visual representation for our structure as an integrated healthcare system.  It also more clearly represents the concept that we are a team of 9000 members-employees, physicians and volunteers--with one unified mission, operating as one great health system for the community we serve.  We can serve our community even better by presenting a brand identity that more clearly identifies our strong, cohesive and integrated organization which provides our community the full continuum of health care services." 

Rochester General Health System is working to serve as a model integrated delivery system with the goal of improving the health status of the communities it serves. Through partnership, Rochester General and its affiliates strive not only for efficiency as new demands are placed on its providers, but also to assure the continuation of the values which have been the longtime hallmarks of its forerunners.


Rochester Health Care, Inc. is established as a parent organization for Rochester General Hospital, the Rochester General Hospital Foundation, the Rochester General Hospital Association and the Rochester Mental Health Center.

The Genesee Hospital establishes a parent organization, TGH Health System.

Independent Living for Seniors enrolls its first participants, operating temporarily out of Rochester General’s Northeast Medical Group offices on Culver Road.

Hill Haven nursing home affiliates with Rochester Health Care. The move changes the nursing home’s status from proprietary to non-profit.

Newark-Wayne Community Hospital joins Rochester Health Care.

TGH Health System and Rochester Health Care announce formal affiliation discussions. Thorough reviews by the Federal Trade Commission and other state and federal regulators begin.

Greater Rochester Health System is born through the merger of TGH Health System and Rochester Health Care. Concurrently, the Continuing Care Network is established to serve as a sub-parent organization for the long-term care programs and launch new managed care initiatives.

Roger S. Hunt, FACHE, is recruited to serve as president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Health System, replacing retiring co-presidents Paul Hanson and Arthur (Fritz) Liebert.

Over 800 physicians join forces to establish the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA). Through its board structure, a equal partnership of affiliated institutions and physicians is forged.

The Greater Rochester Health Plan (now known as RGHS Plan) is introduced. The Plan completes its first open enrollment season with nearly 7,000 members.

Greater Rochester Health System affiliate Newark-Wayne Community Hospital enters into merger discussions with Myers Community Hospital.

The Community Home Health Agency (now known as RGHS Home Care) joins the system. It is the region’s second largest home care agency.

The Behavioral Health Network is formed by bringing together inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse services from throughout the system.

The system’s name is changed to ViaHealth.

A licensed home health aide agency, ViaHealth Home Care II, is added to ViaHealth’s family of providers.

ViaHealth of Wayne is formed to integrate the services of Newark-Wayne Community and Myers Hospitals in Wayne County.

ViaHealth and Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic, long known for its high quality health care in the Finger Lakes area, sign an affiliation agreement that will enable both systems to work together to provide a higher level of health care to the region.

ViaHealth’s Continuing Care Network (CCN) and Kirkhaven, entered into a cooperative affiliation agreement. This partnership, allows the organizations to work collaboratively on medical and strategic initiatives, while maintaining their autonomy, to provide a higher level of care for older adults in the Rochester area.

Major financial turnaround initiative begun.

The Genesee Hospital closed.  Samuel R. Huston named President and CEO, ViaHealth.

Myers Community Hospital in Sodus, NY, closed.

ViaHealth Home Care, Inc. and ViaHealth Home Care II, Inc. sold to GRHC of Excellus.

New VOW Board of Trustees organized.

Rochester General and its affiliates introduce its new branding campaign.   Collectively, Rochester General Hospital and its affiliates will now be part of Rochester General Health System.