Regional health care under the knife

Chandler Ralph, President and CEO of Adirondack Health.

Chandler Ralph, President and CEO of Adirondack Health. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— “These are some of the most horrific cuts I have seen in 40 years in health care.”

She pointed out that 280 lost jobs through layoffs throughout the North Country is a huge loss, and she is frightened about what health systems will be able to do moving forward.

“These cuts threaten our mission and could devastate the ability in the future for us to reach out to our communities.

At Elizabethtown Community Hospital, said Jane Hooper, services such as chemotherapy and cardiac rehabilitation could be in jeopardy.

“Elizabethtown Community Hospital is facing cuts of more than $400,000,” said Rod Boula, administrator and CEO. “That’s two percent of its gross revenues per year; and $4 million over the 10 years. This will have a tremendous negative impact on the availability of primary care services to our rural communities.”

Simply put, said Dan Ashline-Beaudet, president of SEIU, one of two employee unions at CVPH, the cuts “are going to be awful for the care of our patients.”

Mundy admitted that the nation cannot afford to sustain the rate of growth in what is being spent on health care, and providers must determine how to deliver greater value and better outcomes while expending fewer resources to produce desired results.

“However, if the extreme cuts to reimbursement being discussed in Washington, D.C. do occur, the process is going to be incredibly painful and l the more challenging,” Mundy said. “When we receive significantly less money than it costs to provide services, something has to give.”

Some of the solutions officials suggested included coordinated care approaches for patients with chronic illnesses, medical malpractice reform, restructuring Medicare and Medicaid, encouraging healthy lifestyles and thoughtful discussions on end-of-life care.

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