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Massena hospital officials continue to hold information sessions on facility’s future

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MASSENA - Massena Memorial Hospital officials are continuing to travel around the community, giving a presentation on why they need to switch from a municipal hospital to a not-for-profit facility.

The most recent presentations were held for members of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce Tuesday and Wednesday at the chamber offices, and Chief Executive Officer Charles F. Fahd II said they’ll be meeting with other groups and businesses throughout the month. The chamber sessions only drew a handful of people.

Mr. Fahd has already talked with the Massena Rotary Club, and he is scheduled to speak with the Massena Senior Citizens on Wednesday and the Massena Memorial Hospital Auxiliary on May 21. He is also scheduled to give three presentations at Alcoa from May 20 to 22, bringing the total number of community presentations to nine.

“If organizations want us to come, we’re happy to do that to share information with them. We’d like to get out” and make the presentation, said Tina R. Corcoran, hospital senior director of public relations and strategic planning.

For those who are unable to attend any of Mr. Fahd’s presentations, Massena Memorial Hospital has set up a “micro-site” at www.futureofmmh.org. Visitors to the site can download Mr. Fahd’s presentation and a fact sheet, both in a PDF format, as well as submit questions and comments. There is also a page with frequently asked questions.

Mr. Fahd said they would continue to make the presentations as they move forward with exploring a “plan B” at the direction of the Massena Town Council last week following a meeting attended by Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, Councilman John F. Macaulay, members of the hospital board’s Finance Committee, Mr. Fahd and representatives from the Civil Service Employees Association and New York State Nurses Association, the unions representing hospital employees.

Mr. Gray said last week that they have told hospital officials, rather than focusing only on privatization, to find a different plan that will save the hospital $8 million over the next three years. That, Mr. Gray said, would be the amount of money that would be needed to “keep the hospital solvent and municipal.”

He said it is likely the alternative proposal will include wage freezes and a change in health insurance benefits, something Mr. Fahd said union representatives are discussing with their boards.

That, however, does not mean that privatization is off the table, Mr. Gray said.

Mr. Fahd said Wednesday that they were working to get the information requested by the town board.

“We’re following up on the suggestion for a plan B. We’re certainly in the process of getting the data,” he said, noting they were working with Freed Maxick Healthcare to get that information.

Freed Maxick Healthcare had been hired by the hospital’s Board of Managers to assist them with the study toward possible privatization.

“As soon as we get the data, have it checked and feel comfortable with it, we’ll release it to the town,” Mr. Fahd said.

In the meantime, he said, they would continue to make presentations around the community, but while adding in information about the town’s request for a plan B.

Anyone who is interested in setting up a presentation can contact Ms. Corcoran at 769-4305.

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