Press-Republican

Tuesday

May 6, 2014

Lake Placid Hospital moving to part-time hours

Will switch to 15-hour days starting June 16, open longer for busy events

SARANAC LAKE — Adirondack Health’s Lake Placid Hospital Emergency Department will move to part-time hours.

It will be open for 15 hours a day instead of 24, starting June 16.

But the hours will ramp back up during busy Lake Placid events, such as Ironman and other sports competitions, including horse shows.

Adirondack Health CEO and President Chandler Ralph made the announcement Monday from her office at Adirondack Medical Center.

The 15-hour day was developed after assessing community input and financial analysis, she said, indicating that medical and critical-care nursing staff are willing and able to remain flexible for days when the ER is open for 24 hours.

Choosing dates and events for added ER coverage will be coordinated with Lake Placid officials and event organizers.

HOURS STUDIED

Adirondack Health has looked closely at the numbers of emergency visits during big events. The hours between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. are typically quiet, even during those events.

Dr. Anthony Dowidowicz, medical director of emergency services for Adirondack Health, said they first looked at a 12-hour day, but the fiscal impact between that option and 15 hours was not very different in terms of cost.

And the 15-hour option, he said, “provides more coverage to the community.”

QUALITY OF CARE

He said Adirondack Health will be able to maintain its standard of care despite the reduced hours.

The additional 9 miles for transport to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake does not present a threat to life-saving measures, he said.

Dowidowicz explained that modern ambulance and emergency-medical-technician care means that critical care often begins in the ambulance, coordinating response with hospitals during transport.

SAVINGS MEASURED

Cost savings could make a big difference for Adirondack Health.

Ralph estimates that the health-care consortium will save about $800,000 with the shortened Emergency Department hours in Lake Placid.

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