;

Despite Funding To Oswego, Lee Continues Efforts Toward Partnership

FULTON, NY – An A. L. Lee Memorial Hospital official says that despite the state’s announcement that Oswego Hospital will receive a sizeable grant to make improvements to several of its departments, the goal of keeping Lee Memorial up and running has not changed.

This past week, New York State announced that Oswego Hospital was awarded $14.4 million in HEAL NY (Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers) funding. The money was designated to help the hospital move its laboratory department, double the size of its radiology department and make sizeable renovations in its emergency department, among other improvements.

Richard Abbott, chairman of the Lee Memorial Hospital board of directors, said he was surprised when he learned of the grant but stressed that it does not change Lee Memorial‘s direction.

Three days before the June 30 deadline to eliminate its 67 in-patient beds, Lee Memorial learned that it was granted a one-year extension to meet criteria outlined by the Berger Commission and the State Health Department. The extension was granted to allow the Fulton hospital to pursue an affiliation with another hospital.

“Nothing has changed with respect to Lee Memorial and the Department of Health,”  Abbott said. “We are still in contact with St. Joseph’s and Crouse. We haven’t been rejected by either hospital.

“It doesn’t change our approach or strategy,” Abbott added. “We will still try to reach a partnership agreement to keep our services going. That’s what we intend to do.”

Abbott said Lee is waiting to hear back on a couple of discussion items that have exchanged with both Crouse and St. Joseph’s hospitals.

“We expect to get answers back on those discussion points without a week or so,” he said

While he declined to say what the discussion points are or with whom, Abbott said that Lee is next to initiate contact with one of the two hospitals. He said the other hospital “has the ball” on another conversation.

Regardless of Lee’s activities, Abbott said he was surprised to see Oswego receive a grant for so much money. Governor David A. Paterson announced that $280 million in grants were being awarded under HEAL NY to fund health care restructuring projects throughout New York State. The program authorizes the State to appropriate or bond up to $1 billion for projects that support the mandates of the Commission on Health Care Financing in the 21st Century (Berger Commission).

“The whole idea of Berger was to save money,” Abbott said. “Then the state comes out with this announcement that they are going to spend millions of dollars on Oswego alone.”

Abbott pointed out that Lee would be in line to receive money from the state if it made the transition to a diagnostic/outpatient treatment facility, as well.

“It is a little mind-boggling,” he said. “They created the Berger Commission under the pretense of trying to save money.”

Abbott noted that the majority of Lee Memorial’s options committee and hospital executive director Dennis Casey met with State Senator Darrel Aubertine this past week.

“We talked to the senator about our need for support from the state when we reach a partnership agreement,” Abbott said. “He has been very responsive to that all along. … He has assured us that as we move forward, he will do what he can to help us continue to operate.”

“The senator remains committed to working with Lee Memorial to keep its doors open, the health care services in tact and the jobs in place,” Aubertine spokesperson Drew Mangione confirmed. “The senator has made it a priority to  maintain contact with the hospital, its board members and its staff and to do whatever he can to help out.”

2 Comments

  1. The writing is on the wall. Lee will die a slow death, Oswego COUNTY needs a health system. Lee partnering with a out of county hospital will hurt that for years to come.

    The sad part is this is all about few ego’s in Fulton getting bent. .Aubertine is just playing to get votes. When Nov. comes he will be back in Albany or gone. Then you find out no money is left for Lee. Look at the shape the state is in. Move ahead and join with Oswego.

    PS very jobs will be lost. in the county as a whole The main cuts are to the admin. Most other jobs will be kept or ransfered. The facts are every hospital needs more nurses and doctors.

  2. IF THE EMERGENCY ROOM AT A.L.LEE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL CLOSES, PEOPLE WILL DIE. YOU CANNOT JUST LOOK AT A MAP AND SAY THAT OSWEGO IS 12 MILES AWAY AND THE SYRACUSE HOSPITALS ARE ABOUT 35 MILES AWAY. WHAT ABOUT WINTER ? WHAT ABOUT SNOW SQUALLS AND ZERO VISABILITY ? I HAVE BEEN IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AT A. L. LEE AND HAVE SEEN IT VERY BUSY. ALL OF THE OTHER HOSPITALS IN THE AREA WERE FULL. LEE WAS THE ONLY HOSPITAL ABLE TO ACCEPT EMERGENCY ROOM PATIENTS. IT WOULD BE A TRAGIC MISTAKE TO CLOSE A. L. LEE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. IT NEEDS TO MERGE WITH ANOTHER HOSPITAL ASAP.

Comments are closed.