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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, right, shakes hands with a woman outside Adirondack Health's new Wound and Hyperbaric Center in Saranac Lake, which he toured on Friday. Photo: Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, right, shakes hands with a woman outside Adirondack Health's new Wound and Hyperbaric Center in Saranac Lake, which he toured on Friday. Photo: Chris Knight, Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Schumer tours new wound treatment center in Saranac Lake

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U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer made a swing through the North Country Friday, stopping in Saranac Lake, Ticonderoga and Indian Lake. While in Saranac Lake, the senator toured the newest of several facilities operated by Adirondack Health. Sen. Schumer pushed for legislation to extend a Medicare program that supports rural hospitals.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Standing outside Adirondack Health’s new Wound and Hyperbaric Treatment Center, Schumer said the Low Volume Hospital Program is set to expire on Sept. 30. If it does, he said the Saranac Lake hospital would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicare payments: “Basically it would put our health care providers in a sling as they try to treat patients,” Schumer said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to cut off this program.”

Adirondack Health CEO Chandler Ralph said the hospital would lose an estimated $760,000 in the 2013 fiscal year if the program is not renewed: “I think rural hospitals like ours cannot take that large of a hit without having to look at other services we might have to discontinue in order to make up for that loss.”

Schumer, a Democrat, has sponsored legislation with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa that would extend payments to hospitals enrolled in the program for an additional year, but the bill has been held up by gridlock in Washington.

Nevertheless, Schumer said he’s optimistic the legislation will get passed before the program expires: “I think there’s a very good chance it will be re-enacted,” he said. “The fact that we have bipartisan leadership on this bill, Senator Grassley and myself, makes a big difference.”

Schumer also visited the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga on Friday, and stopped in Indian Lake.

 

 

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