GOUVERNEUR The financial position of E.J. Noble Hospital is getting a hefty boost.
The state Health Department is working with the hospital on a $9.3 million Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law grant to support E.J. Nobles restructuring, Health Department spokesman James P. OHare wrote in an email.
Mr. OHare did not provide details of how the money will be used or the timeframe for distribution, but for now, the hospital will receive a HEAL grant infusion of $900,000 that it will use to pay back a loan arranged through the Dormitory Authority.
The money is the third installment of funds pledged by the Health Department to keep E.J. Noble afloat while it changes the way it provides health care, said Rebecca J. Faber, spokeswoman for Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, which has a management agreement with E.J. Noble.
The hospital, already in financial jeopardy, nearly collapsed after the Health Department shut down E.J. Nobles laboratory for deficiencies Sept. 28, then later allowed a partial reopening. With some services sidelined and patient numbers down, the hospital has continued to struggle.
Were grateful to the state, Ms. Faber said. The money is necessary to pursue the plan. Volume is improving, but its not where we want it to be yet.
The agreement among E.J. Noble, Canton-Potsdam Hospital and the state included a focus on primary care which is being pursued in partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country for a federally subsidized clinic that will soon be under construction.
The lab has regained a number of its functions, and an upgraded operating room has reopened for some procedures.
E.J. Noble is also becoming a critical access hospital, which will reduce the number of its inpatient beds which were rarely filled regardless and increase reimbursements from Medicare. Federal approval for the critical access designation came last week.
Its a nice step forward, Ms. Faber said. Theres reason for cautious optimism.
The DeKalb clinic has reopened. The opening of an office for nurse practitioners Rachel I. Raven and Andrew LaFrance was slightly delayed, but is still expected to happen this month.
We have worked hard to help E.J. Noble get back up on its feet, so the area wouldnt be deprived of vital health-care services, state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie said in an email. Now, and moving forward, its imperative that we continue to do everything we can to ensure the hospital remains in place and the health-care needs in the region are met.