Press-Republican

Local News

May 16, 2013

Vote set on AMC/Lake Placid closure

(Continued)

KEENE —

Adirondack Health has shed 36 jobs since December 2012.

The fiscal recovery plan, McGuire said, beyond consolidation, is also adjusting to increase revenue by adding weekend services.

Officials from Adirondack Health have held several public meetings in the past month, gathering input for a final recovery action plan that looks to close the Lake Placid hospital.

LESS DEMAND

In Keene, McGuire was joined by Philip Edie, assistant vice president of Physician Network Services, and Dr. Anthony “A.J.” Dowidowicz, Adirondack Health’s emergency medical director.

Dowidowicz described how services have adjusted for critical care.

AMC/Lake Placid’s emergency room is not seeing the same demand it did 22 years ago when the hospital merged with Saranac Lake’s Medical Center, he said.

“The acuity level has changed,” he said. “People going there (Lake Placid) aren’t as sick as they used to be. People know that when you are really sick, you go to Saranac Lake or elsewhere.”

People who need medical care are “self-selecting,” he said, a fact that is driving the plan to close Lake Placid’s Emergency Department.

Of 65 medical doctors and specialists affiliated with Adirondack Health, Dowidowicz said, “the vast majority endorsed this plan,” finding, in many cases, delay from a stopover in Lake Placid could prove detrimental to immediate treatment.

'DIFFICULT TO SWALLOW’

Rusty Hall, chief of the Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department, is an emergency medical technician with more than 30 years as a volunteer first-responder.

He said he has traveled with critically ill patients to Lake Placid on occasion.

“The loss of the Lake Placid emergency room will be difficult to swallow,” he said, outlining the challenges for volunteers, who are taking on more and more responsibility for critical medical care.

“A lot of the volunteerism is overlooked with regard to your opinions and statistics.”

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