TICONDEROGA — A dentist who lost his job in recent cutbacks at Inter-Lakes Health is opening his own practice with members of his staff who were also discharged.
Dr. Larry Cepelak was at work at the Inter-Lakes Dental Clinic on Feb. 13 when hospital officials entered and told him he and three of his associates were laid off.
“I was completing prescriptions to the lab when we were interrupted,” he said in a recent interview with the Press-Republican. “I was unable to complete those cases I was prescribing.”
He said someone had called their patients for the day and canceled their appointments.
“We had no warning about what was going on. We were told it (the cancellations) was because of the weather.”
Inter-Lakes cut 13 people that day, along with reducing another 10 jobs to part time and eliminating 10 unfilled positions at the complex, which also includes Moses-Ludington Hospital and Heritage Commons nursing home.
Along with Cepelak, the health-care provider cut a dental hygienist, dental assistant and receptionist in the Dental Clinic.
“We were dismissed and escorted from the hospital with no warning or severance,” he said.
The Dental Clinic’s sole remaining dentist, Dr. Mark Moss, is now handling all of the practice’s patients.
Cepelak said he was able to provide vital services at the Inter-Lakes Dental Clinic.
“I knew that a large part of my job would be to provide care for the underserved pool of dental patients with no insurance or Medicaid or Fidelis coverage,” he wrote in a narrative about his experiences at Inter-Lakes.
“What I didn’t realize was that it was such a huge population. Two thousand new patients in one year. Three thousand new patients in two years and a total population of more than seven thousand patients in five years.