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In The Adirondacks

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Notes from the North Country

Hours may be reduced at Lake Placid medical facility

Adirondack Health is discussing the possibility of scaling back its Lake Placid emergency room to save money.

The branch of Saranac Lake-based Adirondack Medical Center is now open 24 hours a day, but could be scaled back to a 12-hour-a-day urgent care operation.

The board of Adirondack Health, which runs both facilities, is discussing the service reduction as an option for reducing deficits, but the New York State Nurses Association has called for delay, saying the move would impact local residents as well as "tens of thousands" of visitors each year. It is the closest emergency room to the popular High Peaks, where hikers get hurt every year.

In a March 8 memo to Adirondack Health medical staff, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Broderick outlined reasons to convert the Lake Placid ER into what he called a "daytime outpatient urgent clinic."
The memo, as reported by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, says the Lake Placid emergency department provides "a valuable daytime service to the residents and visitors of the Lake Placid region" but sees few patients during the overnight hours.

"The reason that this is coming up now is being driven by finances," Broderick wrote, according to the Enterprise.

He said many on the medical staff believe the around-the-clock emergency department isn't medically necessary, though it is a service to the community.

"I want to be able to go to the community leaders and members of the community in Lake Placid and tell them that we, the medical staff of Adirondack Health, do not believe the conversion of the (Lake Placid Emergency Department) to a daytime outpatient urgent clinic providing the same services, staffed by the same nursing and medical staff will endanger the medical well-being of the Lake Placid and surrounding communities," Broderick wrote.

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