Hospital cheers Stefanik’s support of funding bill

Rep. Elise Stefanik answers questions from studio audience during a community forum in May at Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh. (Press-Republican photo — Kayla Breen)

SARANAC LAKE — North Country U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has co-sponsored new, bipartisan legislation that would ensure permanent funding for Medicare-dependent, low-volume hospitals such as the one here.

The Rural Hospital Access Act would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to make permanent the extension of the Medicare-dependent hospital program and the increased payments under the Medicare low-volume hospital program.

Stefanik said the funding is especially important to senior citizens.

Medicare is the main means of payment for a significant percentage of the patients at small, rural hospitals such as Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, owned by Adirondack Health. Spokesman Matt Scollin said Wednesday that the Adirondack Health specifically asked Stefanik to support the Rural Hospital Access Act.

“We are counting on her to do everything in her power to see that the bill becomes law,” said Scollin, who previously worked in Stefanik’s Glens Falls office for two years, and before that for her Democratic predecessor, Bill Owens.

Scollin pointed to how a one-year impact analysis conducted by the Healthcare Association of New York State said the extension of the program would aid Adirondack Health with $1.2 million.

“This funding is critical to ensure we can continue to robustly serve our patients,” Scollin said.

Other hospitals in Stefanik’s northern New York district that would benefit from the legislation include Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, Elizabethtown Community Hospital, Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home in Gloversville, Little Falls Hospital, Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay, Carthage Area Hospital, Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, Gouverneur Hospital, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Clifton-Fine Hospital in Star Lake, Massena Memorial Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg.

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