To the editor:
I am writing this letter to address several questions and concerns that I have in regard to the closure of Lake Placid's 24-hour emergency services.
Why would Adirondack Health not focus more on the areas that are losing money, such as Uihlein and Mercy nursing homes and the dialysis units, as other area hospitals have done successfully? Why would Adirondack Medical Center discontinue a service that is solvent with the potential of improvement? With closure of services, of course, monies would be saved, but in all of the articles that I have read I have not seen anywhere that Lake Placid's ER is losing revenue. (Editor's note: Adirondack Health CEO Chandler Ralph told the Enterprise the Lake Placid emergency department lost about $500,000 last year.) Therefore, perhaps with little investment, community support services could actually be improved upon. The purchase of a CT scan would be a great addition to the Lake Placid site.
Another question is the numbers that I have seen posted in the papers. It is my understanding that when a patient presents to the Lake Placid site and they require admission to the hospital, they become a Saranac Lake statistic as if they never went to the Lake Placid site. If this is the case, the numbers cannot be accurate as to the Lake Placid ER population, as many are admitted through the Lake Placid ER.
This is a community unique among all others with the Olympic Training Center, year-round, world-class sporting events and many private schools that house young athletes, not to mention the thousands of tourists that come through Lake Placid. They depend on 24-hour emergency services in Lake Placid for their injuries in a professional, timely manner. Very often the ER in Saranac Lake is full and a patient can wait in the ER for four to eight hours for a bed. The closing of the Lake Placid site will only compound the problem. What about Wilmington EMS and Whiteface Mountain? Will they decide to go the direction of Saranac Lake, or will they go to CVPH in Plattsburgh? Talk about loss of revenue.
I have read that a 12-hour urgent care may be an option at the Lake Placid site. My understanding is that urgent cares in this area do not employ RNs; if this would be the case with Adirondack Medical Center, then treatment would be very limited. This brings me to the loss of jobs, especially for RNs; haven't we already been hit hard enough in an economy such as this?
My concerns are many. With this letter I reach out to the people of Lake Placid village, the town of North Elba, Wilmington, Jay and AuSable Forks, all of whom have visited the Lake Placid ER because of the location and professionalism. Please consider this very seriously; do not support the closure of Lake Placid's 24-hour emergency services, as once this is discontinued, I feel that the Department of Health would be very reluctant to ever give it back.
This is our unique community hospital; let us work hard to keep the doors open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please show your support and come to the town meeting in May regarding this issue.
Patty Rascoe, RN