Feedback: North Country Children's Clinic Will Stay Open
Thanks to a $200,000 loan from Samaritan Medical Center, the North Country Children's Clinic will stay open.
Clinic officials announced earlier this week that the facility will close Friday due to a lack of operating funds.
State Department of Health officials were in discussions with the clinic, Samaritan Medical Center and others to try to find a way to keep the clinic open.
The Department of Health released details of the agreement late Thursday afternoon.
SMC agreed to loan the clinic $200,000 to keep the agency open through the end of the month.
SMC is supervising the operation for at least 180 days while the clinic restructures.
According to SMC spokeswoman Krista Kittle, the hospital has no plans to be a long-term operator for the clinic.
"We worked together over the last few days, urgently, to find a way to keep the clinic open, to get us to avoid closure on Friday, keep the doors open, the services as they are and buy ourselves some time over the next month to come up with a long-term viable business plan," said Kittle.
The clinic's executive director Daniel Wasneechak said employees were given the good news before the close of business Thursday.
The announcement means all of the clinic's programs, school-based clinics and the Women, Infants, Children program will continue uninterrupted.
Both state senator Patty Ritchie and assembly representative Addie Russell were participating in the talks Thursday, along with a staffer from the office of Congressman Bill Owens.
"We're very lucky to have both the clinic and the hospital and it's very admirable that they are both able to come together in order to better serve the community and I applaud both of them for that," said Russell (D. - 116th District).
Russell said the Department of Health will also loan the clinic an undisclosed amount of money after the end of the month and during the restructuring.
During the meetings, the DOH said the following determinations were made:
- The clinic's board voted unanimously to request the Department of Health appoint a temporary operator to assume operations of the clinic. The temporary operator's primary responsibility will be to work with SMC and DOH to address the significant financial difficulties facing the clinic and implement a plan to ensure its continued operation and provision of services to residents in the community.
- At the request of DOH, SMC has agreed to serve as temporary operator; formal establishment of this temporary operator arrangement is in process.
- SMC agreed to provide the clinic with a loan of up to $200,000 to sustain operations through the next month. DOH, SMC and the clinic will work together to develop a long-term, sustainable solution that meets the needs of the community.
Friday, March 6, 2015, Watertown, NY
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