If I were a resident of Lake Placid or the surrounding communities, I would be very, very upset with the closing of the emergency room in Lake Placid; therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thoughts/suggestions/questions.
First: President Obama is presently offering 5 percent of his salary - why doesn't the CEO of our hospital do the same thing from her six-digit salary? I wish her no ill will; however, if, late at night, she or her spouse becomes extremely ill, they would have to make the long trip to the Saranac Lake ER and might regret the decision that the Lake Placid ER has been closed.
Second: I would like to see a separation of the monies between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake ERs. I do not believe the Lake Placid ER operates at a loss. I believe the loss comes from Saranac Lake - i.e.: patients who do not pay due to no health insurance, uncollected revenues because the person(s) can't be found, and buying nursing homes that were already operating at a loss when they were purchased. Purchasing of these nursing homes was not a very sound decision, and the CEO and the board should be made accountable for this decision. (Any other CEO and board member would have been replaced long before this after purchasing a business that operates as a loss.)
Third: There was mention made that Lake Placid doesn't have a CT scanner; therefore, the patients have to be transferred to Saranac Lake. Why not? Let's have a fundraiser and get one!
Fourth: Why not outsource the dialysis unit? Is this profitable?
Fifth: I believe with shutting down Lake Placid, the excellent service I personally receive from the Saranac Lake ER will be greatly affected. About every three months, I suffer from kidney stones and, due to the immense amount of pain, have to go to the ER for IV and pain medicine. There will be an increase in the amount of patients, and the wait for IV and medicine will be longer.
Sixth: Also, I believe urgent care will not provide the same level of care. Urgent care has one provider and one nurse. The ER has one provider and two nurses. In urgent care, the hours are limited, where ER Is 24/7/365. Also, in urgent care, with one nurse, what will happen if this nurse has to be away from the patient for a short time (to take care of another one) and the patient has chest pains? Is this negligence on the nurse's part for stepping away from the original patient?
Seventh: I understand the statement was made, the hospital would downsize without layoffs. How is this possible? Nobody can possibly believe that statement.
Eighth: I further understand another statement was made "the way the news came out initially, would not have been my choice." Doesn't the CEO understand this is a small community and when staff members are made aware of changes (good or bad), the news spreads like wildfire? "Open" and "honest" communication should have been implemented!
Ninth: My cancer doctor (during my radiation sessions) stated one time to me: The Saranac Lake hospital is going down the tubes and will be out of business in 10 years or less. To my way of thinking, the doctor wasn't too far off. Soon, we'll all be headed to Malone, Plattsburgh or Elizabethtown, or even greater distances.
Tenth: I believe the reimbursement from insurance companies for ER patients is higher than that of urgent-care patients. Isn't this a loss of revenue?
Eleventh: From personal experience, I know that after a long time, on the same job in management, a person tends to wear out and their motivation becomes stagnant. Just maybe it's time for management personnel to retire/change?
Last: I believe their new motto should change to "Excellent health care NOT close to home," as the decision to close has already been cast in stone - just wait for the dust to settle. No media coverage, petitions or letters are going to change the final outcome!
Ruth Snickles lives in Bloomingdale.