Lewis County Hospital Could Have New Owner To Help With Red Ink
Lewis County General Hospital owes its owner, Lewis County, over $5 million and the red ink is piling up by the month.
And that's eating up the county's cash reserves.
"The bleeding's gotta stop," said Jack Bush, chair of the country legislature.
The county plans to create a local development corporation (LDC) to take over the hospital.
An LDC could issue long-term financing of the hospital's debt.
"The local development corporation can incur debt which would not really belong to the county right now, but the county would be liable to pay for it as time goes on," Bush said.
Putting the hospital in the hands of an LDC wouldn't solve any of its fundamental problems, but it would give the hospital some badly needed breathing space.
"It's a temporary fix to give the hospital time to hopefully turn things around," Bush said/
Like most hospitals, this one's struggling with lower reimbursement rates. As a municipal hospital, it also faces skyrocketing payments to the state retirement system.
Local residents are hoping it pulls through.
"We're blessed to have it," said the Rev. Daniel Chapin of Croghan, "very fortunate, very lucky to have it in this whole region."
"It's the main medical facility for this part of Lewis County, all of Lewis County, actually," said Eric Townsend of Lowville.
The IDC may be created Tuesday, at the county legislature's next meeting.