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Schumer touts renewal of assistance program for rural hospitals

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LOWVILLE — U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer on Friday touted renewal of a federal program that provides $2.86 million annually to six north country hospitals.

“I am here to bring some very, very good news,” Mr. Schumer, D-N.Y., told employees and supporters of Lewis County General Hospital gathered in the North State Street hospital’s lobby. “We’re going to ensure that the doctor is in for Lewis County residents for years to come.”

The low-volume hospital program, which provides roughly $753,000 per year to the hospital here, expired on Sept. 30, he said.

However, through a bi-partisan effort with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mr. Schumer said a one-year renewal of the program, retroactive to the expiration date, was included in last-minute legislation passed to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

The program, designed to assist smaller facilities with relatively low patient volumes, provides funding to 18 hospitals throughout the state, including six in the tri-county area, according to information provided by the senator’s staff.

Projected annual benefits to other area hospitals are as follows: $583,000 to Carthage Area Hospital, $550,000 to E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur, $437,000 to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, $395,000 to Massena Memorial Hospital and $138,000 to Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam.

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