Approval Needed To Seal EJ Noble Deal

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Community leaders are saying the signed agreement between EJ Noble and Canton-Potsdam Hospital is a critical component to the Gouverneur hospital's recovery.
 
"It's been a long road back and this is one building block that's back," said Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall.
                                                       
But whether the management contract will be allowed to proceed hinges on approval from the National Automatic Sprinkler Pension Fund.

That's because the nearly $11 million in bonds in a complex financing package used to pay for the hospital's latest expansion project, including a new physicians office building, were guaranteed by the pension fund.
 
"They're the folks that lent us the money, the mortgage, for the construction of the new addition and I like at them as the owners," said Tim Monroe, chair of the EJ Noble Hospital Board.                                                   
 
That means, essentially, should the hospital go under, the pension fund, which serves hundreds of thousands of retirees, would also be affected.                                                          
                                                                   
"That is a union pension fund that stands behind that," said McDougall.
 
Meanwhile, Hartland Asset Management investment advisor Lee Smith would only tell us the management agreement between the two hospitals is undergoing a thorough review.

"Hopefully we can help create a smooth transition," said Smith.
 
The state Health Department closed EJ Noble's laboratory in September over serious deficiencies, which resulted in a loss of other essential services.

Even though the state allowed the lab to resume limited operation in October, the hospital's blood bank remains closed and the state hasn't allowed the hospital to resume most surgeries or reopen its maternity ward.

Even if the management contract with Canton-Potsdam Hospital is approved, EJ Noble still plans to continue its laboratory service agreement with Watertown's Samaritan Medical Center.
 
While Canton-Potsdam Hospital officials declined any comment on the deal with EJ Noble citing a confidentiality agreement, the Gouvernneur hospital's board is meeting soon to discuss its financial status and ways to generate more revenue, whether it be through state grants or loans or emergency funds for restructuring.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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