LAKE PLACID - The state Olympic Regional Development Authority has come down on the side of keeping the emergency room at this community's hospital.
In a letter dated Monday and signed by Chairman Pat Barrett, the authority opposed the proposed ER closure and urged Adirondack Health President and CEO Chandler Ralph "to look at all other measures to make this facility both effective and efficient." ORDA released the letter to the media Tuesday.
"ORDA operates competitive and recreational venues and feels that closure of the Lake Placid Emergency Room would have a negative impact on guests, athletes in training and competitors," Barrett's letter said. "Additionally, it is felt that future bids for conventions and gatherings will be affected by the potential closure of this facility.
ORDA shared this letter Tuesday in a press release, urging Adirondack Health not to convert its Lake Placid emergency department into an urgent-care facility.
"ORDA relies heavily on the volunteer services of those associated with the EMS system within Essex County and feels additional burden will be placed on this already heavily burdened volunteer group and their associated communities especially at our Whiteface facility located in the Town of Wilmington."
Adirondack Health's board is expected to decide Thursday whether to move forward with a controversial cost-cutting proposal to convert the 24/7 ER at its Lake Placid hospital to a 12-hour urgent care center. Administrators and doctors support the plan, saying the health network must cut millions in costs and that, of all the options, this would have little impact on quality of care. Many Lake Placid residents bitterly oppose it, however, saying it would threaten their safety.
Adirondack Health officials received angry blowback at two general public meetings they held on the subject in Lake Placid. They've also met with numerous local groups.
Asked about ORDA's statement, Adirondack Health spokesman Joe Riccio said, "With the Adirondack Health board meeting Thursday night, any comment would be premature at this time."