Hall said it is a relief to know the Lake Placid hospital is close by when transporting a patient clinging to life.
Lake Placid is about 18 miles from Keene Valley; Adirondack Medical Center is about 29 miles — another 15 minutes or so each way for ambulance trips.
Ambulance crews cannot transport patients to urgent-care clinics.
Keene Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jody Whitney agreed with Hall, suggesting the loss of the hospital would hamper local emergency-response systems.
“They’re (ambulance squads) going to be out of service longer,” he said.
Dowidowicz said mutual-aid agreements could address the change by shifting resources and response plans.
“We are working with emergency medical services in the (affected) communities to make sure you are getting what you need,” the doctor said.
Other Keene residents asked how the influx of summer guests and second-home owners would impact hours of operation at an urgent-care center.
Dowidowicz said the new facility, if built, would staff much the same as the hospital and remain open for 12 or 18 hours a day.
Hours of operation would likely be extended during busy athletic events, such as Ironman or Whiteface ski races, he said, and during the busy summer tourism season.
Others asked if additional cuts would be made to Adirondack Health, which runs Mountain Health Center in Keene.
McGuire said they are looking at 40 areas of medical-service provision, mostly for revenue-enhancing opportunities.
“The bigger picture (is) we don’t want to limit services. The strategy is on the outpatient side,” she said.
There is no plan to close the Health Center in Keene, she said.
“We are committed to maintaining our services here. We’d like to expand it.”
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