Massena Supervisor, Hospital, Spar Over Firing

Massena Supervisor, Hospital, Spar Over Firing

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Massena Memorial Hospital's board of managers is threatening to sue the town of Massena over the firing of incoming board chairwoman Susan Bellor. And the town's supervisor is defending the move.

The hospital is losing money, a reported $1 million a month some months, and town supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy said Bellor was thwarting talks between her board and the town board, which owns the hospital.

“We're not able to move ahead. We're still in the same boat we were before," O'Shaughnessy said Monday.

O'Shaughnessy remains opposed to the hospital negotiating a merger with Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Crouse Hospital in Syracuse. He says those hospitals may not be the best merger partners.

“As a supervisor, I'm very concerned we keep this hospital open. And that it stays viable," he said.

O'Shaughnessy says the hospital didn't do a valid search. The hospital board contends it evaluated “numerous proposals" for affiliations and mergers.

A hospital spokeswoman said Monday that Bellor's removal was not legitimate because it lacked due process.

A letter from the hospital's law firm to the town cautions "“Please consider this letter formal written notice that termination or removal of a member of the Board of Managers without proper cause (misconduct) would have no legal basis or effect and will be legally challenged immediately.”

The hospital has struggled for several years to find some way out of its financial problems, including a change in status from being town-owned to a private, not-for-profit, and affiliation with other hospitals.

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