July 27, 2013

Adirondack Health moves to trim ER hours

SARANAC LAKE — Adirondack Health wants to reduce emergency-room services at its Lake Placid hospital to part-time.

The Adirondack Health Board of Directors met Thursday night after a 60-day extension of review for its initial plan to convert the Emergency Department into an urgent-care clinic.

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“Having used the past 60 days to conduct additional research, explore alternative options and following a thoughtful and thorough discussion around the issue, the board has voted to transition to a part-time ER (emergency room) in Lake Placid,” hospital spokesman Joe Riccio said in a statement Friday morning.

“This option is being pursued in conjunction with the State Department of Health to ensure all quality, patient safety and regulatory requirements are held to the high standard set by Adirondack Health and its staff. If approved (through the Department of Health), the part-time ER will operate a minimum of 12 hours per day.”


Adirondack Medical Center at Lake Placid is one facility the health consortium was targeting as part of ongoing financial recovery measures, floating a plan to shut down the emergency room and replace it with a walk-in clinic.

Fiscal studies indicate the hospital lost nearly $500,000 last year.

But members of the Lake Placid community, including nurses, emergency-services personnel, village and town officials and officers of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, expressed concern with any cut to emergency-room services, especially in a community where international competition and major sporting events are held year round.

On Friday, with thousands of athletes and visitors in Lake Placid for Sunday’s Ironman triathlon, Mayor Craig Randall said he was heartened by the Adirondack Health Board’s decision to at least keep the Emergency Department open part-time.

“I think we’re encouraged at the moment. We’ll accept it in the good faith with which this decision was offered,” he said. 

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