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April 10, 2013

ER at AMC Lake Placid may close

LAKE PLACID — Adirondack Health may close Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid, including the Emergency Department.

Instead, an urgent-care clinic and physical-therapy facilities would be established at Uihlein Living Center, a quarter of a mile away, CEO Chandler Ralph told Lake Placid business owners Tuesday. 

Already, Adirondack Health has downsized staffing at the nursing home to accommodate 80 residents, which is its present population, Adirondack Health spokesman Joe Riccio said in a separate interview.

The total 156 beds at Uihlein could be reduced to as few as 60, Ralph said.

Adirondack Health owns and manages both buildings.

“The landscape is changing drastically in health care,” Ralph told business peers at an early morning meeting of the Lake Placid Business Association.

LOST $3M LAST YEAR

The reach for efficiency is driven, in part, by economics.

Ralph provided raw numbers: a 25 percent drop in inpatient hospital stays at Adirondack Medical Center in recent years is exacerbated by a $1.2 million reduction in Medicare funding in January, plus another $500,000 in cuts due to federal sequestration.

Adirondack Health has trimmed 36 jobs across all eight facilities since December 2012.

The hospital lost $3 million last year, Ralph said.

The goal, she said, is to “become more nimble and flexible as a health-care system and to protect the long-term stability of the entire organization. 

“We have a mission and a margin.”

It is an achievement, she said, if the hospital ekes out a 1 percent earnings margin.

“But that’s generally not sustainable in a business environment.”

AMBULANCE CALLS

Judy Shea, a volunteer with the Lake Placid Ambulance Squad, asked Ralph to elucidate on the proposal to shutter the Lake Placid hospital building, which is located at 29 Church St.

If Uihlein were renovated to add an urgent-care center, Adirondack Health would vacate the hospital building.

“What would the afterlife be for the building?” asked Wayne Johnston, owner of Ruthie’s Run on Main Street.

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