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December 8, 2012

Adirondack Health cuts 17 jobs

(Continued)

SARANAC LAKE —

‘FAR WORSE’

The prognosis for health-care providers is not good, despite the ever-rising cost of health insurance.

“It’s likely to not stop. It’s likely to get far worse,” Van Slyke said.

“Right now, down in Washington, we’re looking at tens of billions of dollars of proposed new cuts to Medicare, primarily.”

What does that mean?

“It means hospitals have learned to do more with less. But I think we’ve crossed a threshold where hospitals will have to do less with less,” Van Slyke said.

“The brave new world of health-care reform has a downside: layoffs of health-care staff and layoffs at businesses that support heath-care providers — every health-care job lost generates a second indirect loss of a second job in supporting business.”

‘VERY SCARY TIME’

In an interview Friday, Ralph said she sees the same freight train coming.

“The cuts looming are so huge that they really would undermine the changes we are making to deliver services,” she said.

“You don’t change health care by simply cutting payments to providers. You reduce the cost of health care by changing how it is delivered to our patients. And we are doing that with the Medical Home Demonstration Project. We call every patient when they are discharged from this hospital and check in: Have you made your follow-up appointment? Are you taking your medicine? 

“That is to avoid return visits. That’s how we change health-care delivery — and it is a whole lot different than cutting reimbursement payments.”

 She could not say where all the money made from rising health-insurance premiums is going.

“It isn’t going to the doctors. It isn’t going to the hospitals,” she said. “That is a good question.

“I think it is a very scary time.”

Email Kim Smith Dedam: kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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