To the editor:
It would appear that the Board of Directors of Adirondack Health is considering closing the emergency room at the Lake Placid hospital. It is not at all clear what their motivation for this closure is, but it is entirely clear to those of use who are served by the ER that such an action would be not only ill-advised but would be harmful to our community.
We can only assume that the ER in Saranac Lake would take over the functions of the present ER. This means that residents of Lake Placid can add 20 minutes from the time that they are afflicted by an emergency to the time that they arrive in the Saranac Lake hospital. Residents of Wilmington, Jay, Upper Jay and Keene will also have an additional 20 minutes added to what is already a very long ride. This, of course, assumes that the weather is good and that there is light traffic on the road; i.e. the plan seems to not consider that our winters slow down traffic and that there is heightened traffic on Route 86 during rush hours. Another thing that the plan seems to ignore is the increase in pressure on the ER in Saranac Lake. For example, are funds to be made available for more beds, more ER physicians and more ambulances? Is new construction needed?
These questions need to be addressed and answered in public prior to considering such a move. It is unclear why no public hearings have been scheduled, given the serious impact on a number of communities. This sort of precipitate action on the part of the board of Adirondack Health does little to make us feel that they are treating this matter in a responsible manner.