Massena Memorial Hospital officials today welcomed a $20 million grant from New York State’s Health Care Facility Transformation Fund, saying the funds will help bolster MMH’s precarious finances and advance ongoing efforts to ensure the people of Massena and the surrounding area can receive high quality health care services for years to come.
“This grant is essential in our efforts to restructure Massena Memorial and put the hospital on a path to financial sustainability. We are grateful to the New York State Health Department for recognizing and bolstering these efforts,” Massena Memorial Hospital CEO David Bender said. “The State has been an invaluable partner – along with the MMH board and the Town of Massena – and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners and all stakeholders to ensure quality health care services for all the people in our region.”
The grant comes from the latest round of awards from the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program, which supports projects that improve patient care through the development of high-quality medical facilities and programs serving the inpatient, primary care, mental health, substance use disorder and long-term care needs of communities throughout the State.
This State’s $20 million Transformation Grant is contingent upon St. Lawrence Health System creating an entirely new non-profit entity that will acquire Massena Memorial’s assets and then operate the hospital in Massena as part of St. Lawrence Health System, in the same way that Canton-Potsdam Hospital and Gouverneur Hospital are run.
On Tuesday, the MMH board, the Massena Town Board and St. Lawrence Health System signed an agreement to convert MMH from a public to a private, non-profit hospital that is part of the St. Lawrence Health System.
“Transformation funds are just that – funds designed to help transform hospitals and other health care facilities to meet the needs of our populations today and into the future, in the ever-changing health care landscape,” MMH Board Chair Loretta Perez said. “The transformation at MMH is underway and very challenging but we are confident we will get there as a community. Much work lies ahead.”
Already, Massena Memorial has applied for conversion to a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), which would mean a net revenue gain of $2.6 million in 2019. An application for CAH status has been approved by New York State and is now pending at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“We’re grateful to and applaud the State for its expedited approval of our CAH application,” Perez said.
The Massena Town Board and the MMH board of directors in May approved a management agreement with St. Lawrence Health System that allowed St. Lawrence to take over day-to-day management of Massena Memorial. St. Lawrence Health System includes Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, NY, and Gouverneur Hospital, Gouverneur, NY.
St. Lawrence Health System also operates extension outpatient facilities in Antwerp, Brasher Falls, Canton, Colton, DeKalb Junction, Edwards, Gouverneur, Massena, Norfolk, and Potsdam. The largest employer in St. Lawrence County, with just over 1,500 employees, St. Lawrence Health System has 160 full-time medical staff members and annual net operating revenues of $225 million.