New York hospital millions in debt hands over operations

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, N.Y., is avoiding possible bankruptcy, service cuts and restructuring through a partnership with Carthage (N.Y.) Area Hospital, according to a 7 News report.

Carthage Area Hospital will operate the majority of medical services at Claxton-Hepburn, according to a strategic plan unveiled June 13. The hospitals share a CEO, Rich Duvall, and will work closely to avoid more drastic measures while paying off debt.

Claxton-Hepburn is an estimated $30 million to $50 million in debt, primarily from pension costs and "faulty billing practices," according to the report. The hospital laid off 41 people last year when it outsourced the billing department, but Mr. Duvall doesn't anticipate additional layoffs this year.

Claxton-Hepburn will run the hospital's inpatient mental health facility and behavioral health services, while Carthage operates the emergency department, wound care facility, cancer center and more.

The facility Claxton-Hepburn leased will become a critical access hospital, cutting beds from 87 to 25. Mr. Duvall told News 7 the average daily census at the facility over the last decade has been between 25 and 30 patients.

Mr. Duvall also said Claxton-Hepburn will rebrand with input from the community on its new name.

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