Accusations Fly At Massena Hospital Meeting

Accusations Fly At Massena Hospital Meeting

Posted: Updated: Jan 22, 2019 07:43 AM

Divisions continue over the future of Massena Memorial Hospital.

It came spilling out at an emotion-filled meeting of the hospital's board of managers Monday night. 

People spoke up for their hospital, their jobs and their community. There were some efforts at bridge building between Massena Memorial and the town of Massena, which currently owns the hospital.

What institution Massena Memorial will join forces with is the center of controversy as it moves from a publicly owned hospital to a private, nonprofit one.

"Our hope, and from the 3 o'clock meeting I hope, is that after today, this is not being fought out in the public and in the media,” hospital CEO Chuck Gijanto said.

But there were also accusations traded. Massena Memorial board chairwoman Susan Bellor read a comparison calling an offer from Canton-Potsdam hospital “predatory.”

“Crouse model supports local involvement in governance," she said. "CPH indicated 'takeover' in their presentation.”

Town supervisor Steve O'Shaughnessy questioned how the board came to those conclusions. He said the town board has never received any detailed information.

“Why isn't Canton-Potsdam the best?" O'Shaughnessy asked. "Why is Crouse the best?”

The hospital board announced in December it would pursue affiliation with Crouse and Claxton-Hepburn. The town board said it was blindsided by that move and accusations have flown since.

“This is not what is going to get Massena off the ground,” O'Shaughnessy said.

There were a number of doctors, nurses and staff at Monday night's meeting. All of them said they want to see this hospital continue to serve the community.

But even there the divisions were sharp. Bellor asked the town board to sign the hospital over to a private entity so affiliation could move forward. They didn't respond. 

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