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Massena Hospital officials want to see financial study of conversion to not-for-profit

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MASSENA — Massena Memorial Hospital officials say they want to assess the financial impact before deciding whether to turn the municipal hospital into a nonprofit organization.

Meanwhile, they say there is nothing that legally would prevent such a move.

“My understanding based on a meeting with the legal consultants is right now there are no legal impediments” to a change in corporate structure, hospital board of managers member Darrell P. Paquin said Monday night.

But, he noted, the legal opinion “is only part of it.”

The second part, Mr. Paquin told board members, is “does it make sense financially?”

Board members agreed in July to retain the law firm Hancock Estabrook, LLP, Syracuse, at a cost not to exceed $100,000 to explore transitioning from a municipal hospital to a private, not-for-profit facility.

In November, they agreed to enter into a contract with the financial analysis consultanting firm FreedMaxick Healthcare at a cost of up to $32,000 for a financial study for the hospital. CEO Charles F. Fahd II said last month that board members had determined they needed not only legal advice about becoming a 501(c)(3) organization, but also a financial analysis to see how such a move would affect the hospital.

The consultants are looking at the hospital’s audited financial statements as well as the employee benefit plans currently in place.

So far, board President Andrew T. Spanburgh said, they had not received any information they could share with board members.

“We have no information on our investigation,” Mr. Spanburgh said, noting the financial analysts have received their information, “but we don’t have anything back. There’s nothing really to report.”

Mr. Fahd said he has been told FreedMaxick Healthcare’s financial study will take six to eight weeks.

Mr. Spanburgh said that when they receive information back from the legal study, it would be shared with entities such as the hospital board, the Town Council and state officials, who he said “hold the keys to the building.”

“We have several pieces put together. We would like to see a financial picture of the hospital first,” he said.

Information would also be shared with the public, according to Mr. Fahd.

“I think both our attorneys and our financial consultants are of the mindset there needs to be, for lack of a better term, some public meeting, whether it’s a town board meeting or a special meeting,” he said.

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