Updated 10/01/2012 06:19 PM
State closes EJ Noble Hospital
EJ Noble Hospital in Gouverneur is no longer accepting patients. The State Department of Health closed the facility on Friday. Our Barry Wygel has the story on how many jobs might be at risk and what the future of the hospital might be.
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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. -- On Friday, officials at EJ Noble Hospital in Gouverneur received word that their lab would have to be closed. The New York State Department of Health cited ongoing issues that pose a risk to patient safety. This also forced the closure of the acute care center and the emergency room. The first priority would be to relocate the existing patients.
"I immediately contacted the area administrators. Canton-Potsdam, Claxton-Hepburn and Samaritan, as far as setting up a system where we could safely discharge the 18 patients we had on the acute care side of the house," said Charles Canole, CEO of E.J. Noble Hospital.
Details came out over the weekend, that with the closure, some jobs may be at risk.
"First, the hospital is here to serve the greater community. But I'm also well aware that there is 240 good jobs. When I say good jobs, I'm talking about the financial aspect of those, with benefits, and a very, very important segment of the economy of Gouverneur," said Ronald Paul McDougall, Mayor of Gouverneur.
"It does, unfortunately and tragically, have an impact on about 70 of our employees," added Canole.
Those 70 employees are currently being told to not come to work. They are also not being paid and the future of their jobs is in limbo.
"Best case scenario, we must get a plan of correction as soon as possible," said Canole.
Once the state approves a corrective action plan, the lab and hospital can reopen, but that can take weeks or even longer.
"Well, I'd like to open it in the next five minutes, but that's probably not feasible or not going to happen, but in the not too distant future. Could be 10 days, couple weeks," said McDougall.
"And hopefully there's an acceptable plan and most probably within a couple weeks we can reopen," said Canole.
But these are, at best case, guesses. No one really knows when or if this problem can be solved.
The Kinney Nursing home is still open and no changes are planned there. The state is urging people with emergency needs to go to either Canton-Potsdam Hospital or Samaritan Hospital in Watertown.