By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — MORIAH — In a quid-pro-quo deal, Hudson Headwaters Health Network will continue to operate the Moriah Health Center until at least 2022.
The Moriah Town Council approved the eight-year contract extension in exchange for Queensbury-based Hudson Headwaters taking over maintenance at the Health Center building owned by the town.
Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said maintenance and utility costs are about $20,000 annually at the Health Center.
“Due to budget constraints, we asked Hudson Headwaters Health Network to take over the bills at the Moriah Health Center. They asked that, in return, we extend our contract for the building.”
HELPFUL TO BOTH
The Health Network had a five-year contract that would have expired at the end of this year, and the Town Council voted unanimously to extend it from Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2022.
“They’ve taken over some of the expenses of the building: repairs, fuel and cleaning,” Scozzafava said. “That saved the town a considerable amount of money. To us, that was their commitment. They’re here for the long haul.”
Hudson Headwaters spokesman Howard Nelson said they were looking to have their agreement extended because it helps in recruiting doctors to the area.
“With the agreement in place, the staff knows they will be here for awhile. The extension is a win-win situation.”
Nelson said Moriah Health Center had about 7,500 patient visits in 2012.
“We are able to give care to everyone, regardless if they have insurance or not,” he said. “We have a sliding-fee scale and pharmacy discounts; people need to apply and are helped with the paperwork. This is based on income.
“They also help to get free prescription drugs, and we have a person available to help with this. We offer comprehensive primary care with same-day appointments.”
The Moriah Health Center is located off Plank Road in the Moriah Commerce Park in the hamlet of Mineville. The 4,000-square-foot building was constructed in 2008 at a cost of $1.2 million.
“We wouldn’t have a new Health Center without Hudson Headwaters,” Scozzafava said. “They were a huge player (in getting construction funding).”
Hudson Headwaters took over the operation of the Health Center in 2005, when it was located in the old Republic Steel Hospital in Mineville. That building has since been closed and is for sale.
Hudson operates health centers all over the North Country, including ones in Ticonderoga and Schroon Lake.
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