Schumer visits Adirondack Medical Center

— U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer toured Adirondack Medical center’s new Wound Care Center and pushed legislation that would extend a Medicare payment program that is critical to rural hospitals across upstate New York Aug. 31.

The Low Volume Hospital Program impacts 24 hospitals across New York State, and provides Medicare support to hospitals that are very important to rural communities, though they do not necessarily serve a high volume of patients. This program is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2012, and the legislation Schumer introduced with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would extend these programs for one additional year, which is critical for Adirondack Medical Center to continue to provide top-notch health care.

“Rural hospitals like Adirondack Medical Center are the lifeblood of rural economies throughout upstate New York, and they deserve our support,” Schumer said. “Efficiently supporting our rural hospitals and their patients allows medical facilities in the North Country to continue providing high quality health services, and is pivotal for our community and our economy.”

Schumer was joined by Chandler Ralph, CEO of Adirondack Medical Center, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, Mayor of Saranac Lake Clyde Rabideau, and Franklin County Manager Thomas Leitz in his push for legislation that would extend the additional payments for low volume hospitals for one year. There are approximately 24 hospitals in New York that qualify for the Low Volume Hospital Program.

Schumer toured Adirondack Medical Center’s new Wound Care Center, which focuses on treating chronic wounds and advanced conditions, like diabetic wounds of the lower extremities, pressure ulcers, soft-tissue radiation injuries, necrotizing infections and compromised skin grafts, and flaps. The center treats patients who have previously been unresponsive to other therapies.

Low volume hospitals are those that are critical to the community, but may not serve a high volume of patients. Since 1988, the Medicare program has recognized that these hospitals need additional support so that they can continue to provide high quality care to rural communities. A low-volume hospital is defined as one that is more than 15 road miles from another comparable hospital and has less than 1,600 Medicare discharges are year.

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