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E.J. Noble Hospital is now Gouverneur Hospital

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GOUVERNEUR — E.J. Noble Hospital officially became Gouverneur Hospital on New Year’s Day.

“It will be a seamless transition,” said Rebecca J. Faber, the spokeswoman for St. Lawrence Health System, the parent organization of both Gouverneur Hospital and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam.

The reorganization of E.J. Noble was seen as a way to rescue what was a financially unstable institution with quality-of-care issues and turn it into a sustainable way of providing health care to the community.

“Patient care will not be interrupted. Patients should notice no change,” Ms. Faber said. “The difference people will experience will be in the new hospital’s and system’s focus on quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness.”

All of the jobs and medical services that E.J. Noble offered were to continue Wednesday, although some E.J. Noble employees opted not to continue working for Gouverneur Hospital, Ms. Faber said.

E.J. Noble planned an employee-only ceremony Tuesday to mark the occasion, with employees contributing to a time capsule. The items were to include employee badges, cards from patients and pictures of babies born at E.J. Noble and physicians who worked there.

“It will be the employees’ choice,” Ms. Faber said. “When it’s opened years from now, people will know what the hospital was all about.”

Larger items or those that have special significance to the public, including the E.J. Noble sign, are being donated to the Gouverneur Museum.

Last month, Supreme Court Justice David R. Demarest approved a plan that allowed Gouverneur Hospital, a newly created nonprofit organization, to purchase the assets of E.J. Noble and its affiliate, Kinney Nursing Home.

The arrangement is the genesis of a more comprehensive health-care system meant to improve medical care in St. Lawrence County in a financially solvent manner. The deal required a complicated financing plan — including help from the state Department of Health and creditors — to dispose of E.J. Noble’s massive debt and operating losses.

The change represents much more than a name change, Ms. Faber said.

“There is just a tremendous amount of work that has to be done to make sure patient care is seamless,” she said. “It is a whole new organization.”

Gouverneur Hospital is leasing space to the nursing home, which has the same board but is governed by a separate organization. The long-term future of the nursing home remains in flux as an analysis of its operations is conducted.

“There has been no decision,” Ms. Faber said.

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