New York hospital seeks critical access status to stay afloat

Massena (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital's board voted unanimously to apply for Critical Access Hospital designation as financial problems mount, according to NPR affiliate NCPR.

The vote, which took place April 8, is aimed at retrieving federal assistance to manage the taxpayer-owned hospital's roughly $15 million of debt. Over the past three years, admissions and revenues have declined at Massena Memorial. While this has caused financial instability, hospital leadership thinks it will allow the hospital to apply for CAH status.

Pat Facteau, Massena Memorial's interim CEO, told NCPR the move would bring in more than $3 million to the hospital. "That's additional reimbursement of $3.5 million based upon where we were in 2018, so that's $3.5 million to our bottom line. It's basically cash," he said.

Massena Memorial did not qualify for the CAH designation three to four years ago, which requires hospitals to have a maximum of 25 beds, have an average length of stay of four or fewer days, and provide 24/7 emergency care services.

While Massena Memorial has 50 beds — double what the CAH program requires — Mr. Facteau said that because the hospital is only averaging 17 patients a day, he thinks Massena Memorial will qualify for the program. He expects the process to take six to eight months, according to NCPR.

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