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Massena town supervisor says ‘Plan C’ may be possible at Massena Memorial Hospital

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MASSENA — Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said when the group he formed to explore the future of Massena Memorial Hospital meets later this month a “Plan C” may actually be presented.

Mr. Gray had challenged the hospital’s administration and unions to come up with a Plan B, which would provide an alternative to privatization, something that has raised the concerns of members of the CSEA and New York State Nurses Association unions.

Mr. Gray said last month the group heard a presentation on a Plan B that would see the employees accept a three-year wage freeze and switch health insurance plans. That plan, like privatization, would save the hospital money up front, but still paints a cloudy picture for the hospital’s future.

According to Mr. Gray, the hospital’s financial analysis used projected numbers for 2014, but now that some actual numbers are available, town officials asked the Buffalo accounting firm Freed Maxick to rerun its numbers for both privatization and Plan B.

“We asked them to go back and rework the numbers for both privatization and Plan B, and using the real numbers neither plan looked good,” Mr. Gray said.

Following the presentation of those reworked numbers, Mr. Gray said union officials said they had additional ideas on ways that the hospital could be saved.

“In the meeting we called last week, the unions said they had some other ideas so we challenged them to come up with a Plan C,” Mr. Gray said.

While a date for the group’s next meeting has not yet been set, Mr. Gray said he expects to meet later this month, at which point town officials will find out whether a Plan C is forthcoming.

After losing just over $2 million in the first six months of the year, and reporting that the hospital was down to its last $3.1 million in operating cash, Mr. Gray said something has to be done sooner rather than later.

“We will see what the numbers look like if the unions present a Plan C,” Mr. Gray said. “I anticipate we’ll be making a decision shortly after that unless further explanation of the numbers is needed.”

Town Councilman Joseph F. Macaulay, who also has been attending the meetings, noted the hospital lost $4 million last year, $2 million the year before that and $1.5 million the year before that.

When the town board met last month, Mr. Macaulay said time is starting to run out.

“As soon as that $3 million is gone you’re looking at closing the doors,” he said. “We need to find a way to keep the hospital open.”

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