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Major Adirondack Park employer expands in Saranac Lake

One of the biggest employers in the Adirondack Park is looking to expand. A public hearing will be held tonight in Saranac Lake on Adirondack Medical Center's plan to build a two-story, 9,000-square-foot medical office building to treat patients with chronic wounds.

The $2.7 million project is the latest in a series of building upgrades for AMC over the last 10 years. Chris Knight reports.  Go to full article
NY Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines (Source:  Brian Mann)
NY Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines (Source: Brian Mann)

In North Country healthcare crisis, a push for reform, Part I

Earlier this month, we reported on a new pilot program aimed at reforming healthcare in the North Country. A consortium of hospitals, doctors and state officials hope to make medical care better and more affordable by focusing on primary and preventative care. More details of the "Adirondack Medical Home" pilot project were unveiled at a press conference yesterday in Plattsburgh. In this first of a two-part report, Brian Mann looks at some of the problems that these reforms are meant to fix.  Go to full article

State Medicaid cuts threaten Lake Placid nursing home

The Glens Falls Post-Star is reporting this morning that Governor Paterson could unveil a new rural healthcare initiative in the Adirondack Park today as part of his State of the State address. But the Governor is also expected to push for nearly a billion dollars in cuts to Medicaid reimbursements for hospitals and nursing homes statewide. That plan would cost the Uihlein nursing and rehabilitation facility in Lake Placid roughly a quarter million dollars in state aid. As Brian Mann reports, the nursing home's operators say that could force them to close their doors for good.  Go to full article

Doctor shortage in North Country complicated by Albany budget crisis

New York's Health Commissioner toured the North Country this week, talking about the doctor shortage that continues to plague the region's hospitals and clinics. A new program is being launched next summer, designed to train new doctors to work in rural areas. But as Brian Mann reports, healthcare experts say that won't be enough.  Go to full article

Nursing homes & home health services face budget cuts

The Spitzer administration is proposing a major boost to state funding for doctors in under-served areas. That could help the North Country attract more physicians. But critics say the Governor's spending plan also strips millions of dollars from nursing homes and home healthcare programs that are already struggling. As Brian Mann reports, local leaders say the budget could mean some facilities closing their doors.  Go to full article
Doctors, businesses, politicians gather in Lake George
Doctors, businesses, politicians gather in Lake George

Experts say doctor shortage threatens North Country

Governor Eliot Spitzer says he'll hold a public hearing on health care next week at the Glens Falls Civic Center. According to the Department of Health, the gathering on Wednesday will be the first of a series of statewide hearings meant to focus attention on expanding insurance coverage and improving the health care system. Governor Spitzer and Health Commissioner Richard Daines will both attend. Health experts in the North Country say they hope to focus attention on this region's desperate doctor shortage. Some of the region's best physicians and administrators held their own summit yesterday in Lake George. They warned that the North Country's network of quality health care is beginning to unravel. Brian Mann reports.  Go to full article

Group sees looming doctor shortage in North Country

What happens if you have health insurance, you have the money to pay for a doctor visit, but you can't find a doctor? Experts say that's a real possibility in northern New York, if current trends continue. The number of primary care physicians, the doctors who provide the most basic and the most essential care, is dwindling fast in rural America. As Brian Mann reports, a group of health care administrators, doctors and government are meeting this morning in Lake George to try to find ways to recruit and keep doctors in the North Country.

Program Note: Tomorrow during regional news, Brian will have a complete report, including a conversation with Dr. Barbara Starfield from Johns Hopkins University. She's an international authority on primary medical care in underserved areas who summers in the Adirondacks.  Go to full article

Hooking up the uninsured

In the Adirondacks, a coalition of health care providers, insurance companies, businesses and government agencies is working to help more locals find insurance coverage. Over the last five years, they've cut the number of uninsured in the Tri-Lakes area by 25%. But as Brian Mann reports, leaders of the effort say the goal is universal coverage.

NOTE: For more information about healthcare options in the Tri-Lakes area, call 518-891-2725.  Go to full article
AMC CEO Chandler Ralph (Source:  Brim Healthcare)
AMC CEO Chandler Ralph (Source: Brim Healthcare)

Hospital chief: Spitzer health budget is a "dodged bullet"

One of the fiercest debates in Albany this year was the clash over healthcare spending. An overall plan from a commission created during the Pataki administration will close some hospitals. Governor Spitzer, a Democrat, tried to push through deep cuts in Medicaid. The Republican-controlled state Senate restored most of that money. On Friday, we spoke with Dr. John Rugge, CEO of the Hudson Headwaters Healthcare Network and a member of Spitzer's healthcare advisory panel. Rugge says he thinks the Governor's plan to decentralize the health care system will improve medical care in New York state, and the budget was a first step. But Chandler Ralph, CEO of Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, says Spitzer's plan failed to distinguish between wealthy downstate hospitals and more isolated, rural hospitals upstate. Ralph spoke with Brian Mann. NOTE: AMC has facilities in Keene, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and Wilmington.  Go to full article
Avian flu has made headlines globally (Source:  Nature Magazine
Avian flu has made headlines globally (Source: Nature Magazine

Influenza a Global Risk: One Town Plans Ahead

Avian influenza is still extremely rare. Fewer than a hundred people have died worldwide. But many scientists worry that the risk of a deadly influenza strain spreading among humans has been growing. A full-blown pandemic could quickly overwhelm America's medical infrastructure, especially in rural areas. In Saranac Lake, an informal group of scientists, county health officials, and hospital workers began meeting last fall. As Brian Mann reports, they say an avian flu outbreak will require a community response that goes well beyond the hospital door. This report first aired in October 2005.  Go to full article

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