Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center announce regional healthcare transformation plan

Hospitals Begin Regulatory Approval Process to Preserve and Expand Quality Care in St. Lawrence County

News release

OGDENSBURG, NY — Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center today announced a strategic plan to continue to ensure patients in St. Lawrence County have access to high quality care now, and for years in the future.

The two healthcare providers submitted a Certificate of Need (CON) to the New York State Department of Health to create a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, with a 10-bed observation unit, and a 10-bed inpatient psychiatric unit at the current Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, while maintaining existing emergency services. A Critical Access Hospital is a federal designation created for rural hospitals to help ensure delivery of quality care while providing greater financial stability through increased reimbursement rates. Carthage Area Hospital has been operating as a Critical Access Hospital since 2014.

Additionally, as part of the strategic plan, and to address a significant need in the region, a re-imagined Claxton-Hepburn will be transformed into a behavioral health hospital to preserve 40 beds of inpatient mental health services that includes a 28-bed adult unit and 12 beds for children and adolescents, making it the only adolescent unit in St. Lawrence County. The transformed Claxton-Hepburn Hospital will be co-located on the same campus as the new Critical Access Hospital.

Richard Duvall, who serves as CEO for both Carthage Area Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, said, “Ensuring a stable healthcare system in St. Lawrence County is not just important for the health of the patients it serves, but also for social and economic vitality for the entire region.”

Restoring financial stability to Claxton-Hepburn ensures no interruption of essential services that patients in St. Lawrence County have relied upon. Specialized cancer care, including the breast health center, cancer screenings, and lung cancer screenings will continue at the Richard Winter Cancer Center, the only cancer program in the region recognized for exceptional, collaborative cancer care by both the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons (CoC) and the American College of Radiology. The board-certified kidney care team will continue to provide Dialysis treatment on site 24-hours a day, 7 days a week at the Dr. Ravinder Agarwal Renal Center. The comprehensive care from the team of doctors and nurses at the Rev. Thomas Patterson Wound Healing Center, a national award winner for clinical excellence, also remains unimpacted.

Carthage Area Hospital, in Carthage, will continue to operate a 25-bed critical access hospital with existing emergency services and extension clinics.

Hospital administrators anticipate the Department of Health’s review of the transformational plan will take several months. Community forums, to be held in Ogdensburg and Carthage, will be announced at a later date.