Press-Republican

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May 4, 2013

Painful cut discussed in Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID — Some with heavy hearts challenged Adirondack Health’s plans to close the emergency room and the hospital here.

About half of about 120 people gathered Wednesday questioned Adirondack Medical Center/Lake Placid staff, doctors and the board chairman, contesting a consolidation move that they believe would leave a void in health-care access for Lake Placid.

Adirondack Health, with two hospitals 12 miles apart, is looking to close AMC/Lake Placid and its Emergency Department on Church Street, establishing an urgent-care clinic at its Uihlein Campus across the road.

The Uihlein Living Center nursing home at that location would be cut from 156 beds to 80 or 60, leaving room for reuse.

Consolidation, hospital administrators say, would help staunch an ongoing — and growing — loss of revenue.

AMC Lake Placid’s Emergency Department lost $582,192 last year and $465,866 in 2011, Adirondack Health President Chandler Ralph said.

Adirondack Health had a deficit of $1.5 million in 2011, with two-thirds of that stemming from federal Medicaid funding cuts. 

Another $500,000 was cut by sequestration earlier this year.

The heath-care provider, with two hospitals, a dental clinic, four health centers and two nursing homes, lost $3 million in 2012.

CAPITAL FUNDING

The urgent-care center established by Adirondack Health would be open 12 to 16 hours each day and employ the nurses, doctors and physician assistants currently working at the hospital, officials said.

Lisa Keegan, a registered nurse at Adirondack Health, asked how the Uihlein renovations would be financed “if closing the emergency room is only going to give you $900,000 this year?”

Adirondack Health President Chandler Ralph said they would look to the endowment for capital funding to retrofit Uihlein.

“We don’t know how much those renovations are going to cost,” she said.

Adirondack Health Board of Trustees Chair Stan Urban explained that redesign at Uihlein would include partnerships with other agencies, for example, for assisted living services.

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