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Critical Access Transition FAQ

A message from Rich Duvall, COO of Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Carthage Area Hospital:

Q: Why is Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center transitioning to a Critical Access Hospital?

The plan aims to preserve essential healthcare services in St. Lawrence County. It's a partnership between Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (CHMC) and Carthage Area Hospital (CAH), under the North Star Health Alliance healthcare system. This transition will preserve jobs, preserve services, and honor the pension of our retired employees who served this community.

Q: When is the transition of outpatient services expected to happen? Will my clinic relocate?

The New York State Department of Health has approved the management transition of outpatient services. This significant step involves shifting the management of outpatient services from Ogdensburg, Canton, Madrid, Hammond, and Waddington to Carthage Area Hospital.

Despite this operational change, patients can be reassured:

  • All existing locations will continue to operate as usual.
  • There will be NO interruption and NO reduction in the range of services offered.
  • Your clinic location will remain the SAME.
  • Patients will continue to see their current providers in the SAME location.

Q: Will there be any disruption or change in services at these sites during the transition?

We want to reassure our community that the transition won't disrupt or change the services we provide. The quality and accessibility of care will stay the same. Our commitment is to continue offering excellent healthcare, just as we always have.

Q: Why is this transition necessary?

While it may seem like a considerable effort for minimal visible change, the transition is vital for our healthcare system's long-term sustainability and financial stability. The goal is to preserve jobs, preserve services, and honor our pension commitment. Patients will receive the same quality-driven healthcare in a more financially secure environment. These administrative changes, while less visible, are vital to ensure our hospital remains a trusted healthcare provider for years to come.

Q: What is the second phase of this transition, and what does it mean for me?

The second phase involves transitioning the operation of acute care and emergency services to Carthage Area Hospital management and providing these services under a Critical Access Model. This will happen upon approval from the New York State Department of Health. All services will stay the same; the only change for patients is the billing provider. There are 35 total beds for acute care and observation, as well as 40 beds for behavioral health, for a total of 75 beds on the Ogdensburg campuses.

CHMC is transitioning into a 40-bed behavioral health hospital (28 for adults, 12 for children and adolescents). This facility will be the only provider of acute inpatient mental health services for children and adolescents in the North Country.

The transformation also introduces a standalone 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with a 10-bed observation unit, operating under a new name. While maintaining all existing services, part of the Ogdensburg campus will be managed by Carthage Area Hospital.

Q: Is the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Emergency Room (ER) Closing

Absolutely not! All existing services will remain at the Ogdensburg medical campus, including the ER and all other services currently provided. There will be no disruption or reduction in services.

Q: What will be the new name of the acute care hospital after the transition

We greatly value the input of our community in the renaming process of the acute care and emergency hospital. To help with this, we will be posting a survey on our social media pages to gather suggestions and preferences from community members. This approach ensures the new name reflects both our commitment to healthcare and the spirit of the community we serve.

Q: Will Claxton-Hepburn continue to provide any services post-transition?

Yes. Claxton will continue to provide inpatient adult and child adolescent behavioral health services at the current Ogdensburg hospital campus at 214 King Street, Ogdensburg, New York. Acute care and outpatient services will continue at the same locations under Carthage Area Hospital management.

Q: Why are these changes necessary?

These changes are being implemented to guarantee that we can continue to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our community both in the present and in the future. By adapting our services and structures, we aim to enhance our capacity to provide high-quality care and address the healthcare challenges that may arise over time. This proactive approach is vital to maintain and improve the health and well-being of those we serve.

Q: How will patient care be managed during this transition?

During this transition, our dedicated staff is committed to ensuring that patient care is managed seamlessly and without any interruptions. We have implemented meticulous plans and protocols to maintain the continuity and quality of care that our patients expect and deserve. Our priority is to ensure a smooth transition while upholding the highest standards of healthcare services.

Q: Will there be an ER in Ogdensburg after the transition?

Absolutely! Following the transition, the Ogdensburg medical campus will continue to offer all existing services, including full emergency services. These services will be maintained under the management of the newly named hospital, ensuring continuity of critical healthcare access for the community.

Q: What should patients do if they intend to seek treatment outside of Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center?

From time to time, patients choose to receive health care services at other locations. Patients will need to complete a medical record release form, available by calling the Department of Medical Records at 315-393-3600. Once the form is signed and received, the medical practice will forward the medical records to the new physician.