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Gray: MMH grant is good news, but doesn’t really change anything

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MASSENA - This week’s announcement that Massena Memorial Hospital will be receiving a $4.2 million grant from the federal government’s Interim Access Assurance Fund comes at a good time for the hospital, but Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said the announcement is not enough to prevent possible privatization or other changes at the hospital.

“Obviously the timing is very good,” Mr. Gray said. “It has been a tough financial year for the hospital and this will definitely help to fill some holes in their budget.”

MMH spokesperson Tina R. Corcoran, who called the grant “a shot in the arm,” said the $4.2 million amount is actually the same as what the hospital expects to pay in pension costs this year.

While the grant will undoubtedly help to make up for the hospital’s year to date loss of more $2 million, Mr. Gray said it’s his understanding this is a one-time allocation.

“I don’t know all the details, but it’s my understanding this is a one-time thing,” he said, adding he’s not expecting the grant to delay the on-going privatization talks.

“I don’t know if this will slow things down,” he said. “It may keep the wolf from the front door for another day, but I don’t think it will slow things down dramatically.”

Mr. Gray who met in executive session with hospital officials on Wednesday, said the committee he has formed including hospital board members, hospital administrators and union representatives will meet later this month to continue discussing options for the hospital’s future.

Mr. Gray called the grant “good news,” but added, “I don’t think this will be a long-term solution. I doubt it will change the course of where we are headed.”

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