To the editor:
While the people of Lake Placid may have no say in the decision to close the Lake Placid emergency room, we are certainly entitled to ask questions and voice personal opinions.
The merger of the two hospitals was intended to be for the financial stability of BOTH hospitals. Lake Placid brought much to the merger, including a $5 million trust and an income-producing building. We also entered into the agreement, assuming that integrity was forefront in the plans for the future of both hospitals.
We have watched, through the years, as additional stories were added, upgrades, equipment, new departments, expansions, new buildings - all on the Saranac Lake campus. Just as people began to question the lack of investment in our hospital, Adirondack Health made the unbelievable decision to purchase nursing homes and destroy all financial stability for the merged hospitals.
The highly trained and caring staff at the Lake Placid emergency room have saved many lives through the years. Unfortunately, the accounting department for Adirondack Health does not credit their hard work and dedication to their community. Because the patients are forwarded to Saranac Lake for admission, Adirondack Health credits the Saranac Lake Adirondack Medical Center for the lives saved and the monies collected.
There are multiple offices housed in the Lake Placid hospital. I highly doubt that they have been there for free during all these years. How much of the rent from these offices has been used for upgrades and new equipment for Lake Placid? My guess would be ZERO. In my opinion, the push to open an urgent care, which is not needed, in the Lake Placid building is simply a ploy to retain the rents. The spokespeople for Adirondack Health have repeatedly mentioned that they intend to build onto the Uihlein campus to house all the offices presently in the Lake Placid location. Amazing! They don't have the money to purchase a CT scan machine to upgrade care in the Lake Placid hospital, but they fully intend to spend millions to expand at Uihlein.
Neither Lake Placid nor the surrounding towns can afford the expansion of our emergency services that would be necessary if the Lake Placid Emergency Department is closed. The surrounding communities have made it clear that they are obligated by law to transport to the nearest emergency center. For those communities, it will be Elizabethtown Community Hospital. Perhaps it is time for our community to enter into negotiations with Elizabethtown Community Hospital and CVPH to retain our emergency department.
There is resounding support in Lake Placid to retain this service. The additional admissions at Elizabethtown and CVPH from our emergency department may prove very attractive to those hospitals.
The residents of Lake Placid had a right to expect a return for all the money we have invested in the merger with Adirondack Health. Unfortunately, it appears that it is time for us to cut our losses and sever the relationship with Adirondack Health. It is time to look forward to a merger with a hospital that will consider us a partner in health care and respect our community.
Marcia T. Walton