Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake announces layoffs

Adirondack Health CEO Chandler Ralph called the reductions in staff and work hours “discouraging” (PHOTO: AMC)

One of the North Country’s largest employers says it will cut 18 full time employees and cut the hours of another 15 full- and part-time staff.

The move at Adirondack Health follows on the heels of lay-off and cutbacks at other medical facilities around the North Country.

It represents a painful loss of high-wage, high-benefit jobs.

In a statement, CEO Chandler Ralph blamed the cutbacks on Medicaid losses and on declining in-patient numbers at Adirondack Health Facilities.

Ralph says the organization faced a $1.2 million dollar “reduction of revenue” in 2013.

“While these revenue reductions are certainly discouraging, this is not the first time we have faced a challenge of this magnitude,” said Chandler Ralph, President & CEO of Adirondack Health. “Our experience has taught us we have the resources and talent to develop new and innovative solutions to continue providing high quality healthcare to the residents and visitors of our region.”

The move comes as nurses at Adirondack Health distributed a letter urging the organization to delay a vote on proposed downsizing or elimination of emergency room services at a satellite hospital in Lake Placid.

The Board of Directors of Adirondack Medical Center must delay a planned vote this evening to close or convert the hospital’s emergency department to a 12-hour urgent care center without the opportunity for public comment.

AMC did not offer the community an opportunity to provide input on this crucial matter, which will limit access to vital emergency medical services.

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17 Comments on “Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake announces layoffs”

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  1. Jim Bullard says:

    No emergency care in Saranac Lake? How close is the next ER?

  2. Brian Mann says:

    Emergency care will continue in Saranac Lake, but may end in Lake Placid. The vote comes tonight.

    –Brian, NCPR

  3. Mervel says:

    I wonder how even lower reimbursement rates scheduled to kick in next year will impact rural health care and health care access in the North Country? This sounds disturbingly like the situation our public schools are in.

  4. Peter says:

    I suppose it would be asking to much to find out how much of a pay cut the non-medical management staff have taken in the face of this dire situation… Just curious, especially in light of the recent Time Magazine article focusing on our country’s health care clustermess.

  5. mervel says:

    Well the thing is health care administrators are in high demand, doctors are in high demand, so markets that can pay will attract people. I don’t think taking pay cuts to these administrators would make any difference at all. What we need is larger medicare and medicaid reimbursement rates combined with a lower cost structure overall. Yes that may mean that administrators will make less, but in this case you could cut her salary in half and it would not make a dent in these numbers.

  6. mervel says:

    If the state and federal government does not support our schools making it impossible to operate them and does not support hospitals, I think the message is; leave. I keep seeing all of this research showing how rural life in general is bad for the environment we drive to much, we don’t live in concentrated areas, we harm the environment. I wonder if this is a starve them out strategy?

  7. Ken Hall says:

    Is this not just the vaunted free enterprise, capitalistic economic system doing what is does best? No? Oh, I forgot this only applies to the “others”; just continue to push for smaller government taxes for the obscenely wealthy that “trickle down effect” will fix everything.

  8. mervel says:

    Actually this would play into your plans Ken. The best thing for the Adirondacks is for people to leave, to remove the human stain, to remove the human parasites who are ruining the planet. One way to get people to leave is to remove schools and hospitals, I can’t imagine you would be against that? I mean the basic problem in the park is people, too many people, they need to go.

  9. mervel says:

    Very little of what is happening at Adirondack health has to do with the free enterprise system. It is actually due to the very specific decisions of the loving wonderful government to cut Medicare and medicaid reimbursement rates, so you can’t lay this on the market you can lay it on government decision makers however. Which is even worse as it is intentional.

  10. Ken Hall says:

    Mervel, are you telling me that capitalism is not supporting Adirondack Health? Is it really we dastardly liberal free spending big government folks who are supporting Adirondack Health? What is the US coming to???? So if medicare and medicade are decimated, as the small government no social welfare conservatives claim to want, what happens to so called free enterprises such as Adirondack Health?

  11. Mervel says:

    Sure Ken, I am telling you that health care in the US today is largely a government run system, particularly in places where a good portion of the people are using Medicare and Medicaid to pay their bills like in the North Country. Thus when the government decides to cut those rates they pay to the hospitals this is what happens they are the biggest single player in US health care today.

    The reason that Adirondack health is in trouble is directly related to government actions. Does that mean the free market would be any better? I doubt it I am not making that point, all I am saying is that the free market has little to do with this current situation.

  12. Ken Hall says:

    Mervel, I agree free market is not working for Adirondack Health; however you are dodging my pointed question as to what happens to the majority of the “free market capitalist” health care businesses if medicare and medicade as decimated even further as the tea party/republicans/conservatives want?

    Free market capitalism as practiced in the US and most so called developed nations means that those in business want the freedom to sell their products/services for the highest profit they possibly can and to have the “GOVERNMENT” restrict all competition from encroaching upon their lucrative operations. Why do you think we have the idiotically complex tax laws that we have?

  13. Paul says:

    Ken, many doctors are already refusing to take medicare anyway so you may get an opportunity to see what happens.

  14. Walker says:

    Well maybe. I have had no trouble with Medicare in Saranac Lake, and googling around, it looks like two thirds of doctors are still accepting it. I would guess that it is mostly doctors in bigger cities who are turning patients away because they have higher costs generally, and no problem keeping their waiting rooms full.

  15. mervel says:

    Walker doctors are leaving the North Country. It is why we have a per-capita rate of doctors per population less than the state average, which is pretty astounding given how few people live here. This is a real issue about our future, more than the schools problem. Without health care people can’t live here, they won’t live here.

    As far as the free market goes Ken, who knows? The health care market shouldn’t be totally a free market system, it really can’t be in my opinion. However right now we have the worst of all worlds, a quasi governmental system that lets big corporations and specialists get very wealthy.

    You could implement some free market ideas, starting with expanding the number of doctors in the US. Right now the number is controlled by the AMA monopoly with the sole intent of keeping prices high.

  16. Walker says:

    Mervel, after poking around the link above, I can see why it looks at lot worse from where you’re sitting– St. Lawrence County has one of the worst doctor/patient ratios in the state, while Franklin is about average. But when you say we presently have the worst of all worlds with our quasi governmental system, ask yourself how many doctors you think the North Country would have today if we had a 100% private health system.

    I agree that the chief problem is the AMA monopoly– an especially egregious example of the power of lobbying.

  17. Mervel says:

    Walker I honestly don’t know? My guess is with no other changes to the system, meaning not large increases in the number of doctors in the US and no change in what it really costs to run a hospital, the answer would be close to zero. Although I don’t understand why St. Lawrence County has 4 hospitals?

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