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Canton-Potsdam Hospital CEO David Acker. Photo: Martha Foley
Canton-Potsdam Hospital CEO David Acker. Photo: Martha Foley

Why there will be fewer hospitals in the North Country

In the latest installment in our series of health care conversations, David Acker. Acker has been president and CEO of Canton Potsdam Hospital for six years.

The hospital has 94 beds, admits about 5,000 patients a year, treats 26,000 people a year at its emergency room, and employs 930 people.

The last two numbers, staff and ER visits, are trending up. And the hospital is soon to open a new urgent care center to meet the rising need for primary care.

Canton Potsdam Hospital is one of a series of smaller hospitals stringing east to west between Plattsburgh to Watertown.

Acker says it's a network that's at a tipping point. There's just not enough money to go around. And he says these smaller hospitals will soon have to collaborate and consolidate care, or they won't survive.

These hospitals now rely on affiliations with large teaching hospitals in Syracuse and Burlington Vermont. Acker says those relationships will become "more meaningful and deeper as time goes on."

So what do the little hospitals need from the bigger medical centers? Acker says a lot of it comes down to money.  Go to full article
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh)

Owens: rural America losing clout in farm policy

Lawmakers and agricultural leaders are searching for a way forward after the Farm Bill went down in flames in the House last week.

Many Republicans bristled at the nearly $100 billion a year price tag. About 80 percent of that is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP -- better known as Food Stamps. Some Democrats voted no to protest of cuts to that program. In the end, the farm bill went down by a significant margin, even though GOP House Speaker John Boehner voted for it.

It's unclear if the House will take up the Senate's version - which passed earlier this month - or seek to extend the 2008 farm bill for another year.  Go to full article
Concord grape vines covered with blossoms this week. Photo by Martha Foley

It's the season: farmers' markets, strawberries, and blossoms

July is just around the corner, and we can hope the last frost of the season is behind us.

Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says farmers' markets are open across the region. Each county extension office has a map of local markets, farm stands, and other sources. She tells Martha Foley there lots of local produce available already, and that strawberries are truly in season.

And, it's been a lush month or so, with plants producing lots of foliage and blossoms. Martha talks about being surprised by the fragrance of Concord grapes, and Amy explains how root systems develop in wetter weather.  Go to full article