Morning Read: Fort Drum-Watertown healthcare system faces budget hurdle

Fort Drum has one of the most innovative healthcare systems of any base operated by the US Army.  Rather than concentrate all its medical facilities on-base, Fort Drum has partnered with hospitals, clinics and care providers in the community.

The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that key funding for the project — roughly $500,000 — is on the line in Washington DC.

North country lawmakers will find out this week if the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization receives a boost of federal funds or is left looking to other sources to survive.

A House-Senate conference committee will decide whether to support the FDRHPO through an annual bill outlining defense programs. The prospects may be dim, said a Senate aide who works with the Armed Services Committee’s Democratic majority.

At stake is $500,000 for the organization, a network of local hospitals that helps fill in the gaps created by a lack of a hospital on Fort Drum. The program’s operating budget has been supported by federal earmarks since its creation several years ago, although grants and other funding constitute a big piece of its overall finances.

If the funding isn’t secured, it could have wide-reaching implications not just for military personnel and their families, but for the wider healthcare system in the Watertown area.  Read the full article here.

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2 Comments on “Morning Read: Fort Drum-Watertown healthcare system faces budget hurdle”

  1. Why do I get the feeling that this will be another case of most of the state’s money going to Long Island, Westchester and NYC with the rest of the state (except maybe the capital district) getting stiffed as usual?

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  2. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    Why can’t the Army continue to fund FDRHPO directly with its federal appropriation? Or, better yet, provide funds to build a hospital on base? And I’m not talking about an earmark, but money in their initial federal appropriation? The same thing is occurring with regard to the recent housing “crisis.”

    Drum is getting nearly half a billion this year alone to build new infrastructure on Drum but none of that money, or additional money, can be spared to build housing for the troops themselves? Instead, the Army and its proxy organizations push the responsibility onto civilian agencies and taxing jurisdictions (Watertown High, the City of Watertown, Jeff County) all at tremendous expense to the tax payers of the local communities. A billion dollar plus installation with no hospital or enough housing? It makes no sense.

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