North Country hospital officials say more federal funding needed to survive pandemic

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While the number of coronavirus cases in the North Country are not as high as other areas of New York, health care workers in the region say thempandemic has hurt their hospitals financially.

Many have had to suspend elective surgeries, depriving them of revenue that supports other operations. said it has been detrimental to their revenue.

“That’s more than 60% of the business that we do,” said Adirondack Health CEO and President Sylvia Getman. “And that’s just on the elective surgery side.”

Getman was one of several hospital officials who talked about the situation in a forum Thursday sponsored by the North Country Chamber of Commerce. They all agreed that they need more federal funding to keep operations going in the future.

John Remillard, president of UVM Health Network’s Elizabethtown Community Hospital said their income has shrunk by 5 percent or about $1.5 million – $2 million a month. Michelle Le Beau, president of UVM Health Network’s Champlain Valley Physicians and Alice Hyde hospitals, said id CVPH has received $6.8 million in federal aid, but it’s not enough.

“I believe that by the time we get to the end of September, CVPH will sit at a deficit of about $27 million to $28 million,” she said.

While Remillard said Elizabethtown Community Hospital has received more test kits and have been able to expand their testing capabilities, others say the lack of kits and supplies ahve forced them to implement strict testing guidelines.

However, Getman said she still worries about testing capabilities as the pandemic continues. “We would like nothing more to have unlimited access and really quick instantaneous testing. We are not there yet,” Said Getman.

Although the pandemic has been a challenging time for health care workers in the North Country, many are optimistic and want to thank the community for all the support.

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