Update: E.J. Noble Open, But Struggling
E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur is again open, but struggling to stay afloat financially.
The state Department of Health allowed E.J. Noble to reopen nearly two weeks ago, after closing the hospital because of problems with its laboratory.
The latest setback? The state Attorney General's office is opposing E.J. Noble's effort to use some 'trust funds' donated to the hospital to pay operating expenses. The hospital would use the trust funds as collateral or as a 'line of credit.'
"It is absolutely pivotal on our survival to be able to use for operational purposes the endowment money, so we may survive this dry period that has occured because we did not provide any services 30, 60 days ago when we were closed," said hospital board president Tim Monroe.
A spokesman for the Attorney General wouldn't comment specifically on E.J. Noble, but said the Attorney General "has a duty to ensure that restricted gifts are protected and serve the stated intent of the donor."
Court documents show the trust funds were willed to the hospital to provide health care to the community.
State supreme court judge David Demarest will rule on the hospital's request.
The hospital finished last year with a nearly $700,000 deficit, and even though the hospital is once again open its blood bank remains closed, which severely limits the kinds of patients it can admit, and the money the hospital can make.
"We're not moving to the brink of bancrupty, but certainly we're providiing almost weekly cash flow projections to the New York State Department of Health so they're aware of where we stand."
Because of the facility's continuing struggles, the majority of 70 workers who were laid off when the hospital was closed in September remain off the job, though some are being called back on an 'as needed' basis.
Saturday, December 7, 2013, Watertown, NY
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