MASSENA - While she now lives in DeKalb Junction, Rebecca Matthews grew up in Massena and was born in Massena Memorial Hospital.
Ms. Matthews is a junior at Hermon-Dekalb School, who recently spoke to the town board expressing her concerns about the proposed privatization of Massena Memorial Hospital.
Its not only important to this town, but the county in general, she said.
Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he realizes not everyone is in support of privatizing the hospital, but he noted a private hospital is better than no hospital at all.
In an ideal world we would love to keep the hospital public, Mr. Gray said, adding that even if the hospital stays public for now, privatization is bound to happen at some point.
In my opinion, I dont think its going to stay public long-term, he said.
Councilman Albert C. Nicola said ultimately the decision is one that will be made jointly by three entities.
When a decision is ready to be made it will be coming from three entities, he said, referring to the hospital board, town board and state Department of Health.
Councilman Charles A. Chuck Raiti also pointed out that the decision is being driven, in large part, by the hospitals finances.
Unless their funding sources change and more money comes to the hospital, theyve got about two years, he said.
Following the meeting, Ms. Matthews, said she decided to attend the meeting after a class shes taking through SUNY Canton helped to pique her interest in the subject.
I would just like to thank the Massena Town Board for listening to me and answering my questions during the public comment period at the last town meeting on Oct. 16, 2013, she wrote in a letter thanking board members for their attentiveness. It requires us to become politically engaged through a topic we are interested in. Since I have grown up in Massena, I have had an interest in Massena Memorial Hospital over whether or not it will become a private entity.
Looking back at his high school years, Mr. Nicola said it is unlikely that he would have been speaking at a town board meeting, Youre a brave young girl, he said.