GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls Hospital has closed a radiology school it started in 1951, but students will still receive clinical training at the hospital under an agreement with Southern Vermont College.
The Bennington, Vt.-based college offers a four-year bachelor’s degree in radiologic sciences, while the program the hospital discontinued is a two-year certificate program.
“The key is that radiologists of the future need a four-year, not a two-year program,” said Karen Gross, president of Southern Vermont College.
Glens Falls Hospital discontinued its program, which typically had about 15-20 students, for both financial and efficiency reasons, said Ed Hanchett, the hospital’s vice president of clinical services.
The hospital could no longer afford to subsidize the school, given financial pressures, he said.
Hanchett would not disclose the amount of the subsidy.
“It wasn’t huge,” he said, “but we have to look at everything these days.”
At one point, most of the students graduating from the program took jobs in the hospital.
“It acted as sort of recruitment for us,” Hanchett said.
But in recent years, typically only about one graduate stayed at the hospital.
Changing educational protocol was another factor. There was pressure on the hospital to upgrade the school into a degree program, Hanchett said.
Three jobs in the hospital’s radiology school were eliminated as a result of the closure, but there were no direct layoffs, said Darlene Raynsford, a hospital spokeswoman.
One employee resigned voluntarily before the school closed, and the hospital’s Human Resources department was working to find “appropriate matches for the skill sets” for the other two employees within the hospital, she said.
Gross said the arrangement with Glens Falls Hospital will enable Southern Vermont College to nearly double the amount of incoming students in its radiology program.
Students will take classroom training at the college in Bennington and clinical training at hospitals in Vermont and Glens Falls.
“By adding new sites, we create additional opportunities,” she said.
In 2012, the college was able to place 100 percent of its radiologic science program graduates in jobs, according to a press release.