Officials Confirm: Lee Memorial Receives Proposal From OH

FULTON, NY – Broken this morning by a local television news station, hospital spokespersons on both sides of the issue have confirmed that Oswego Health has submitted a proposal to A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital in an effort to mitigate the Department of Health’s decision to close inpatient and emergency services in Fulton.

NewsChannel 9 ran the report this morning, stating, “The biggest idea involves turning Lee’s ER into a branch of Oswego Health, keeping (emergency services) in Fulton.”

Betsy Copps, head of community relations for A.L. Lee Memorial Hospital, confirmed this afternoon that Lee Memorial did receive a proposal from Oswego Health. She stressed, however, that the hospital would not be discussing details publicly at this time.

“We’ve made a commitment with them not do discuss the details,” Copps said. “As we would for any other facility.

“Somehow information was leaked,” Copps added. “That was unfortunate.”

Nancy Bellow, chair of the Oswego Health Board of Directors, also said she did not know how the information reached the television news station. Bellow added that it is “too premature” to discuss any of the details that were included in the proposal.

Talks between Lee Memorial and Oswego Health started earlier this year when the Berger Commission first recommended closing Lee Memorial’s 67 inpatient beds and converting the hospital to an outpatient/urgent care facility.

Those first efforts were unsuccessful, however, after Lee Memorial’s Options Committee and Oswego Health’s Committee of the Future discussed hiring a joint consultant to discuss the opportunities. Talks stalled when the two sides failed to agree on the criteria for the consultant, officials said.

Bellow said this afternoon, however, that talks between the two groups are likely to resume soon.

“We are probably going to get our two groups together very soon to discuss (the proposal) further,” Bellow said.

Bellow also stressed, however, that any agreements locally would not guarantee approval by the state.

“Whatever we come up with locally would still have to be approved by the Department of Health,” Bellow said. “There is no guarantee that the state would approve a plan. … We can have positive conversations here but the Department of Health has the ultimate authority.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Health directed Lee Memorial to adhere to the original recommendations issued by the Berger Commission.

Copps pointed out that Oswego Health is not the only group that has submitted a proposal to Lee Memorial.

“Part of our strategy is to take a proposal back to the Health Department to see what kind of compromise can be reached with the state,” she said.

“This is a whole new chapter in the effort (to save the hospital),” Copps added.

While she did not identify the facilities directly, Copps said that the hospital is receiving proposals from “regional facilities.” She stressed that no decisions have been made, nor have any actions been taken at this time.

“We will be reviewing the proposals carefully,” Copps added. “Our goal is to preserve access to care in Fulton. We know that changes are going to take place. … But we are going to try to put together the strongest proposal that we can for the state. We will see what shape that takes.”

Copps noted that the hospital is not working under any strict timeline with this process.

“We will share any details as soon as they become available,” she said.


  1. This idea is brilliant! How absolutely SHORT SIGHTED of the state to be more concerned with dollars when we are so close to aging nuclear plants. Even IF the site doesn’t totally melt-down, there is a risk in the future that we might need medical care for a large number of individuals. Does the state actually BELIEVE that health care workers from other areas would arrive to help transport injured to other regional facilities were this to occur?

    I believe our medical staffs will need to take care of the citizens of this area.

    More likely, as our region becomes more and more economically depressed, how are sick people expected to transport themselves to Syracuse for medical care? At this time it is often a financial hardship to even drive regularly to North Medical Center, let alone parking and gas to say, Upstate or St. Joe’s.

    We have enough people in our county to justify keeping these two health facilities. There aren’t THAT many beds!

    If no one else remembers this, I remember a time when ‘flu’ had people in the halls of Oswego Hospital, as the rooms were full. ISN’T there are fear of pandemic? Where will we put them if this occurs, outdoors???

  2. didn’t they try this a few yrs ago? merger for a better health care system that went know where.
    Seneca health care center was all we got.

  3. I live between the two cities and travel into Syracuse to work at a healthcare facilty. I have had several occasions to utilize both of these hospitals. I cannot say anything bad about either. Frankly, what makes your stay “in a hospital” successful depends upon your doctor/surgeon and the end result. Hospitals today are meant to greet, treat and discharge patients ASAP under DOH/ DRG regulations.
    A paper merger might be a good idea with a 10 year plan to build a new bigger facility at Seneca Hill meeting the long term needs of the up and coming Baby Boomers. Existing facilities could continue as urgent care after the fact as a replacement for the loss of family physicians in the region. ( An impending disaster sure to come.)
    A merger of this nature would keep revenue local
    as well as jobs. Jobs that provide taxes and shopping revenue to both cities and our county.
    Every person who travels into Syracuse eventually stops to shop in Onondaga County on their way home. All lost revenue/taxes:a no-win situation.
    People should give support to the Administration and workers at A L Lee Memorial during this most difficult of times. Without a hospital/emergency room, Fulton has little to offer to entice new companys or physicians to set up shop in their community.
    These hospitals belong to the county residents in need of quality healthcare.
    You never miss what you have until it is gone…forever!!
    Navigation to and Parking is expensive and difficult at the Syracuse hospitals.

  4. we definately need Fulton Hospital . It is a point where they use ,to stabilaze trauma patients .there would be a lot more deaths if it wasn’t for this facility. .The heart attack patients would never make it to Syracuse or Oswego.This facility is centrally located for all the villages and towns atound us . .The roads and the weather have a lot to with every decision. We would lose our Doctors and then there would be no hospital if this hospital has to downsize’
    please keep Fulton Hospital the way it is . A lot of money has gone into it to make it the beautiful needed facility it is ,not just for Fulton but every surrounding towns and villages
    thank you

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