Massena Hospital slashes costs

wwny Massena Hospital slashes costs

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - They’re slashing costs at Massena Hospital. But hospital officials say staff cuts should be over and there are new opportunities and new services.

There are 30 less full-time jobs at Massena Memorial hospital in the new year. Unused services are being weeded out.

“We've reduced some of the sort of standby costs of the operating room services. Where we have two very busy ORs at all times - but before we were staffing for four,” said

David Bender, Massena Hospital CEO.

The lightly-used intensive care unit closed. Some of the cost cutting are detailed in documents the hospital filed last year with the state. But Bender says the closures and layoffs are in the past.

“We're here to stay...It will be a consistent level of quality throughout the system. And we're going to be bringing more services, new services into this community,” he said.

The goal now is to both improve and add services. When St. Lawrence Health System bought the financially troubled Massena Hospital it had been losing money for years.

“We've said all along we want a system that serves not 20,000 people in Massena or 40,000 in Canton and Potsdam – but 110,000 in the whole county,” said Bender.

It's not just cost-cutting that's bringing the hospital back. Virtually all employees of Massena Memorial who wanted to stay were rehired – and given raises.

“We think we now have very competitive market-based rates for compensation both salaries and benefits,” said Bender.

St. Lawrence Health System also runs Canton-Potsdam Hospital and Gouverneur Hospital. Doctors with specialties will be able to go where they are needed.

There is a wildcard in this. Last year, this hospital asked the federal government to designate it a critical access hospital. That request was recently denied.

Massena Hospital had been counting on the designation to gain about $3.5 million in annual revenue. The hospital will appeal. But no matter the outcome, Bender said the hospital will soldier on.

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