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Cortland/Ithaca

Rural hospitals get help with Medicare costs

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Rural hospitals get help with Medicare costs
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Beginning with the new year, smaller hospitals across New York won't have to worry about high Medicare costs. That's the message Senator Charles Schumer brought to Upstate New York on Friday. He began his tour in the Southern Tier and YNN's Katie Husband tells us what this continued aid means to area hospitals.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- "I'm thrilled to be here with some great news that will ensure that the doctor is in," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

Now that rural hospitals across the region don't have to get hit with heavy Medicare costs. Senator Schumer announced two programs have been extended, saving those hospitals some big money.

"The equipment that we buy at our smaller hospitals cost the same amount of money as larger university settings and so we struggle with that to make sure that we can provide that kind of equipment and technology and therefore, patient care," said Shirley Magana, Corning Hospital, president.

Had the low-volume and Medicare dependent programs expired, St. Joseph's Hospital in Elmira would have lost over $1.6 million and nearby Corning Hospital would've lost over $800,000.

Hospital officials in the Twin Tier region say with this aid, they can continue providing services to their communities.

"Without that we would've had to make some changes. Changes that none of us want to do, whether it relates to some of our staffing, whether it relates to equipment that we purchase or even services that we offer," said Magana.

"When we have to look at reducing expenses, we immediately have to think about what can we do to reduce personnel which always translates to reducing services," said Fred Farley, St. Joseph's Hospital and Arnot Ogden Medical Center, president.

But now after Schumer's good news, hospital officials remain optimistic about their future.

"We are in the process of actually distributing services between St. Joseph's Hospital and Arnot Ogden Medical Center and, so I just recently, within the last couple of weeks we just opened up a new rehabilitation services department here," said Farley.

Ensuring that the money saved will be put to good use helping the community.

The programs have both been extended for one additional year.

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