State fails to see need for 2 ERs in southern Saratoga County

There isn’t enough “community need” for two local hospitals to open full-service emergency rooms in
PHOTOGRAPHER:

There isn’t enough “community need” for two local hospitals to open full-service emergency rooms in the Clifton Park-Halfmoon area or even enough for one in Malta proposed by a third hospital, state officials said Wednesday.

But state officials said they are still willing to consider the proposals again if the hospitals involved can come up with more information to support their cases.

Ellis Medicine in Schenectady and Seton Health in Troy both announced plans in recent months to open multimillion-dollar, full-service emergency rooms in the Northway Exit 9/Route 146 area of Clifton Park.

Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the state Department of Health, said officials met with representatives of both hospitals individually and informed them that they haven’t proved to the state that the planned emergency rooms are needed in southern Saratoga County.

State officials also met with Saratoga Hospital representatives and told them that their plans for an emergency room on Route 67 near Northway Exit 12 in Malta did not show the community need necessary for such a medical facility.

Officials from Ellis Medicine and Seton Health said Wednesday they were disappointed in the state’s findings. Saratoga Hospital officials said they had no comment on the development.

Both hospitals angling for the Clifton Park facilities offered population data as part of their rationale for opening the new emergency departments.

“We are disappointed but not discouraged,” said Donna Evans, an Ellis Medicine spokeswoman.

“While the state Department of Health’s assessment is not what we had hoped for, Ellis Medicine is evaluating our options to more effectively serve patients in our area,” Evans said. “We will continue our ongoing efforts to better meet the health care needs of our service area, which includes southern Saratoga County,” she said.

Hammond said all the data the Health Department has about the three emergency room projects in Saratoga County show that the need is not there.

“They have to provide us additional information,” Hammond said.

However, the state has not yet denied the hospitals’ applications for the new emergency rooms, he said.

“They can submit more data,” Hammond said.

Pamela Rehak of Seton Health/St. Mary’s Hospital said Seton Health is also evaluating its options after learning from the state that there wasn’t a need for the new facilities.

She said the hospital’s options are to withdraw the application, revise its plans or attempt to “force” its application and seek required approval from the state Hospital Review and Planning Council.

For more than 20 years, Seton Health has had a major presence in Clifton Park, Rehak said. The services include an urgent care center, family practice center, a diagnostic imaging center and a medical laboratory. Many of the medical services are located at Seton Health’s Family Health Center on Tallow Wood Drive off Route 146.

Clifton Park Supervisor Philip Barrett called the news from the Health Department “disappointing.”

“We had an opportunity here for the residents of Clifton Park and southern Saratoga County to have the ability to access enhanced health care services,” Barrett said. “Yet, the state’s answer is no. It’s very disappointing.

“We are not going to give up the fight,” Barrett said. He said the Town Board will continue to work with health care providers that are willing to make capital investments in the town.

Barrett said it wasn’t as if the health care providers were asking for a new hospital. The applications were for 12-bed, full-service, free-standing emergency departments, he said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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