History

Marion Folsom Marion Folsom, a director of Eastman Kodak Co. and U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, helped launch health planning locally.

Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency, one of the nation’s oldest and most effective regional health planning organizations, began doing business as Common Ground Health on March 3, 2017.

The organization was originally designated a Health Systems Agency (HSA) in 1974 by federal statute. After passage of the 1974 National Health Planning and Resources Development Act, FLHSA and 204 other agencies were granted unprecedented control over health service development. HSA’s were required to evaluate applications for federal health program funds and conduct periodic assessments of the “appropriateness” of all institutional health services under their jurisdiction.

Essentially, the 1974 Act granted federal authority and funds for state and regional health planning from 1975 to 1986, solidifying our position in the Finger Lakes region. By the late 1980s, however, national and local enthusiasm for community health planning started to wane. Increasingly, the business community and government sought market solutions to control spiraling health care costs. Nationwide, this marked the beginning of the end for most HSAs.

Our organization has endured because local leaders stepped in when government support began to erode. Today, Common Ground Health brings together leaders from health care, education, business, government and other sectors to develop regional strategies to meet a growing list of fundamental health needs for the Rochester region and beyond.