Dental facility still open as officials await state decision on closure plan
LAKE PLACID — Adirondack Health plans to continue operating its Lake Placid dental practice for at least the rest of this week as the hospital waits for a determination on its proposed closure plan for the facility, which is under review by the state Department of Health.
Though the hospital had aimed for a May 1 closure of its dental care facility on Old Barn Road, state DOH Public Information Officer Monica Pomeroy said on Tuesday that the department is still reviewing the hospital’s proposed closure plan for the facility, which was submitted on Feb. 1. The proposed closure plan for Adirondack Health’s emergency room at the Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center, submitted this past October, is also still under review by the state DOH.
The department’s continued review of the dental facility closure plan has left the facility’s staff and patients questioning how long they’ll be able to offer and receive care there. Last week, dental care facility staff said they were informing patients that Friday, April 28 would likely be their last day of operations as Adirondack Health “pushed” for a May 1 closure. As the state’s review of the closure plan lingers on, operations are moving forward on a seemingly day-to-day basis. Matt Scollin, the director of communications for Adirondack Health, said on Tuesday that the hospital plans to keep the facility open for at least the rest of the week as it waits for the state DOH to make a decision on the proposed closure plan.
The hospital can’t implement its proposed closure plans for its facilities without first receiving written approval from the state DOH, according to the department’s guidelines on closure plans.
The hospital sent letters to the dental care facility’s patients in late February and early March notifying them of the potential closure. In an email to the Enterprise, Scollin cited financial “stressors” and staffing issues as the hospital’s reasons for closure, saying that the dental practice typically adds $350,000 to hospital deficits each year. Scollin placed the hospital’s 2022 deficits at around $10 million this past October. The hospital has been searching for a new dental hygienist to work at the facility for the last three years.
The dental care facility has around 2,000 active patients. It’s unclear whether or not staff at the facility are still accepting new appointments or, if the closure plan is approved, when operations at the facility might stop altogether. Dental care facility staff on Wednesday deferred comment to Scollin, who did not respond to further questions from the Enterprise by press time.