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AMC sends group to Albany

SARANAC LAKE - A contingency of Adirondack Medical Center representatives traveled to Albany Tuesday, Jan. 27 to meet with their elected leaders concerning Gov. David Paterson's proposed cuts to health care funding.

The AMC group consisted of key members of the leadership team from both the hospital and nursing homes, board of trustees, community relations, and a student from the New Vision program. At stake is $3.5 billion in cuts to health care state wide, which if enacted would have a dramatic impact on the programs and services offered by medical centers and nursing homes.

The problem is more critical in the Tri-Lakes region with similar budget cuts looming for correctional facilities and education. Given the challenging economic climate, it is all the more important for residents of the Tri-Lakes region to have immediate access to much needed health and human services - especially for those who lack the means to access care when they need it most.

On Tuesday morning, the AMC representatives met with Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, followed by a meeting later that day with Senator Elizabeth "Betty" Little. Both Assemblywoman Sayward and Senator Little have been staunch advocates for AMC in the past and vowed to continue that support moving forward.

"We are very fortunate to have not only Teresa and Betty, but Assemblywoman Janet Duprey also representing AMC and the interests of the North Country in the state legislature," said Joe Riccio, Communications Manager for AMC.

In addition to meeting with their local representatives, the AMC group had the opportunity to hear remarks from key leaders in the Assembly and Senate, who vowed to do their best to protect key health care services, but at the same time acknowledged the difficult financial times ahead.

"While many of the leaders in the legislature spoke of shared sacrifice in these difficult times, they failed to recognize that health care is being asked to make the greatest sacrifice in terms of budget cuts," said Riccio.

One thing that the state lawmakers did agree upon is that Medicaid dollars released from the federal government as part of a stimulus package would be directed to Medicaid services on the state level.

Members of the public can contact their lawmakers regarding the governor's proposed health care cuts by logging on to www.helpyourhospital.org or www.helpyournursinghome.org. Both websites show the budget impact on hospitals and nursing homes, as well as the means to send letters via e-mail to your state representative.

For more information or assistance contacting your legislator, contact the AMC Community Relations Office at 897-2341.

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