NORWICH – Faced with a projected annual loss of half a million dollars, Chenango Memorial Hospital made the decision late last week to close all four of its school-based health centers in Chenango County.
Effective at the end of the current school year, the decision affects the Norwich, Oxford, Bainbridge-Guilford and Unadilla Valley school districts, where Chenango Memorial has operated the primary care service centers for 15 years.
Speaking on behalf of the hospital’s board of directors, CMH President and CEO Dr. Drake Lamen said, “While they recognize how convenient these services have been over the past 15 years for students and their parents, board members also realize that the projected annual loss of $500,000 for this program is not sustainable for the hospital.”
Dr. Lamen added, “This difficult action by the board strengthens our ability to sustain essential healthcare services for all members of the community.”
School superintendents were notified last week, and parents of the more than 3,000 students enrolled across the county were told of the decision in a letter that went out Friday.
Historically, the School Based programs covered expenses roughly half and half from program revenues and state grants. In the past few years, Dr. Lamen said, expenses have grown such that in 2011 over one-third of program expenses are now unfunded, largely due to state staffing mandates, increasing salaries, and administrative reporting requirements.