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Meeting Thursday to discuss Massena hospital privatization

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MASSENA — A consultants’ report suggesting that Massena Memorial Hospital should privatize will be discussed during an informational meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday at Massena Town Hall.

Hospital CEO Charles F. Fahd II will present the report during the meeting of the Town Council and the hospital Board of Managers, and there will be time for questions and answers. Other information sessions will be held during the next four weeks, according to Tina R. Corcoran, senior director of public relations and strategic planning for the hospital.

Representatives from Civil Service Employees Association Local 887 plan to attend the meeting to share their concerns about plans to privatize the hospital.

“Hopefully people will understand it’s not the best way to go,” CSEA spokesman Mark M. Kotzin said.

The recommendation was made by Freed Maxick Healthcare, consultants hired by the Board of Managers to study the possible conversion of the municipally owned hospital to a private, not-for-profit facility.

Freed Maxick representatives, in reviewing a draft of the report, said during a February meeting of the Board of Managers that the hospital would be bankrupt by 2017 if it maintained the status quo. In order to keep the hospital operational, the town of Massena would have to cover the projected deficit by raising $3.2 million per year in taxes, the report stated.

Under the not-for-profit scenario, the current state retirement pension expense would be replaced with a 403(b) defined contribution plan based on a percentage of salary.

CSEA representatives said the public should have an opportunity to review the report before the Massena Town Council makes a final decision on the hospital’s status. The report is available on the hospital’s website, www.massenahospital.org, under “Latest News.”

“The public has a right to filter this with a fine-toothed comb. There’s a heavy decision to be made here and it shouldn’t be made lightly,” Mr. Kotzin said.

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