Children's Clinic Has 'Cash Flow' Problems, Seeks Help
The North Country Family Health Center had trouble making payroll this week and is exploring "financial options" with its bank and local business development groups.
The Family Health Center is widely known as the North Country Children's Clinic and is in the process of changing its name, as it starts to serve more adults. The Center provides medical and dental care to the working poor.
A meeting will be held, perhaps as soon as next week, involving the Center, the Watertown Trust, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and Community Bank.
"It's safe to say we do have some financial difficulties at this point with our cash flow," Dan Wasneechak, the Center's new executive director, told 7 News Thursday.
Wasneechak said starting several new programs since 2012 has been expensive, which contributed to the cash flow problem.
The programs include an adult health care clinic which opened in Watertown last fall, a program to serve homeless people in Jefferson County that's starting this fall, and plans for a program in Lewis County.
The organization also did not get some donations it was expecting, and federal and state reimbursements came in slower than expected.
Wasneechak said grant money allowed the organization to cover this week's payroll.
"We have also reached out to our bank and the Local Development Corporations to explore financial options that could include a short term loan or line of credit when state and/or federal funding is delayed..." Wasneechak said in a statement earlier Thursday.
Don Alexander, head of the Jefferson County IDA, confirmed a meeting is being organized for next week. Alexander said the IDA is "very concerned" because of the "valuable services" the Center provides.
Wasneechak said costs are going up and profit margins shrinking because of changes in government rules and in the reimbursement the Center receives for providing medical care.
Wasneechak said the Center is looking for ways to operate more efficiently.
"We do have to look at some long term fixes to handle this in the future," Wasneechak told 7 News.
"We have to see more patients," he said, which was one of the reasons the organization became a "federally qualified health care center," and thus able to be reimbursed for taking care of adults.
Sunday, August 28, 2016, Watertown, NY
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