ALBANY The New York State Association of Counties met with Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward (R,I,C Willsboro) on June 25 to discuss the need for addressing the shortage of primary care physicians in the Adirondack Region. The Adirondack Region is a microcosm of the healthcare crisis facing rural America. For the past year, NYSAC has been working with government leaders, health experts and community activists focused on developing solutions to a looming crisis of primary care access in the Adirondack region, said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. The health care landscape in the Adirondack Mountain Region includes only one full-service hospital in a land area covering more than six million acres with 130,000 full-time residents, 200,000 seasonal residents and nearly 10 million annual tourists. Because there is only one hospital, our communities depend upon several small hospital facilities aptly designated critical access, a scattering of privately practicing physicians, and a number of free-standing clinics, our community health centers, said John Rugge, president of the Hudson Headwater Health Network, who also attended the meeting. Rugge added, The crisis is rooted in the general under-funding of primary care compounded by the failure of payers to recognize the added costs of providing care in rural settings. According to Acquario, todays meetings addressed the health care challenges facing the Adirondacks including the lack of physicians, low reimbursement for health care services and difficulty competing with urban areas across the country when recruiting primary care physicians. Quality health care is an essential element to the quality of life for all of us who live in the Adirondacks. I am pleased to be working to develop strategies for addressing our primary care shortage and I am committed to fostering solutions that will provide our communities with viable health care options close to home, said Sayward, a lifelong resident of the Adirondack North Country. Sayward applauded the work of Glens Falls Hospital and CVPH (Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital), two hospitals that operate just outside of the Adirondack Park, but serve the needs of thousands of residents of the greater Adirondack community. NYSAC is planning to convene meetings with these and other state officials and health care experts throughout the summer and fall. What we learn here in the Adirondacks can help us solve similar primary care challenges in other areas of the state, said Acquario. Our counties need champions and we appreciate the tireless efforts of Assemblywoman Sayward when it comes to protecting the quality of life in our Adirondack counties. The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSACs mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.