St. Luke’s Pulling Plug on Cornwall ER

By Mark Gerlach

After pausing a decision to close its Cornwall emergency room, St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital reactivated the closure, which is scheduled to happen next month.

The Cornwall emergency room is now schedule to close on the morning of Jan. 12. The facility averages less than two patients per hour, an announcement said.

To help ameliorate a potential increase in patients at the hospital’s Newburgh emergency room, the hospital plans to increase services there, such as adding valet parking and increasing its “fast track” hours, which “allows for triage of less emergent cases,” the announcement said.

The hospital also plans to add nurses and providers at its Newburgh emergency room, Dr. Scot Hill, hospital chairman and medical director of emergency services, said.

The news comes after the hospital said in September it was pumping the brakes on the closure. The initial closing date was Oct 1. Several elected officials, including emergency services personnel, vocally oppose the closure.

“It’s going to be a burden on us,” Michael Bigg, chief of the New Windsor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said in a previous interview with The Sentinel and Orange County Post. “What are they going to close next?”

The closure will help St. Luke’s “align” with “healthcare reform trends and initiatives,” a July press release said. The state asked hospitals to scale back “unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 25 percent,” and closing the Cornwall emergency room would “result in a $3.2 million improvement on the hospital’s bottom line.”

To read the full article see the Friday, Dec. 16 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.

Local Fire Departments March in Annual Parade

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(photo provided)

Many local fire departments took part in the 2016 Orange County Volunteer Firemen’s Association parade on Sept. 24 in Monroe. The Vails Gate Fire Department, seen here, was represented at the parade. The Vails Gate Fire Department won best overall.

For more photos and coverage see the Friday, Sept. 30 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Primary Day Around The Corner on Sept. 13

Primary elections will be held on Sept. 13. For those outside of the county that day, absentee ballots can be obtained by calling the Board of Elections at 845-360-6500, visiting their website (orangecountygov.com/elections), or in person at their office at 75 Webster Ave. in Goshen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The board’s office will be open for extended absentee balloting on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. until noon.

Here’s what to expect on the ballot:

State Senate challenger Christopher Eachus is solo on the Working Families Party line in Blooming Grove, Chester, Cornwall, New Windsor, City of Newburgh, and the Town of Newburgh, among other locations. Eachus is taking on incumbent Republican state Sen. William Larkin in the general election in November. There will be a write-in space for the Women’s Equality Party for the state senator seat in the same locations.

Robert Freehill and Steven Brockett will be on the ballot for county judge on the Green Party ticket in Blooming Grove, Chester, Cornwall, Hamptonburgh, New Windsor, both the city and town of Newburgh, and elsewhere.

Blooming Grove:

Philip Canterino and James O’Donnell will be on the ballot for the Conservative, Independence (District 2), and Republican (District 2) line for an Orange County Legislator seat.

Cornwall:

Michael O’Connor and Lynn A. Beesecker will vie for the Conservative and Independence lines for town justice.

City of Newburgh: Dorcas Brown, Joseph Fogarty, Yvonne Garriques, and Jason Alfred will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s First Ward, District One. Voters can pick two candidates.

Hilary Rayford, Roxie Royal, Daniella Jones, and Benilda Armstead-Jones will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s First Ward, District Two. Voters can pick two candidates.

Charline Boyle, Mark Carnes, and Zina Woody will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s First Ward, District Three. Voters can pick two candidates.

Jerry Maldonado, Luis Fonseca, and Gay Lee will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s First Ward, District Four. Voters can pick two candidates.

Nancy Colas, Kevindaryan Lujan, Ramona Monteverde, and Nadene Speer will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee in the city’s Second Ward, District Two. Voters can pick two candidates.

Lillian Burgarelli, Jason Muller, Jonathan Jacobson, and William Hernandez will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee in the city’s Third Ward, District One. Voters can pick two candidates.

Judith Kennedy, Mary Phillips, Mary Keller, and William Keller will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s Third Ward, District Two. Voters can pick two candidates.

Owen Fraser, Deborah Danzy, and Tamle Hollins will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s Third Ward, District Three. Voters can pick two candidates.

Regina Angelo, Lori Angelo, Robert Sklarz, and Roberto Orduna will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s Third Ward, District Four. Voters can pick two candidates.

Karen McCarthy, Mary Korchinsky, Jeffrey Gardiner will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s Fourth Ward, District One. Voters can pick two candidates.

Patricia Sofokles, Candace Nicholas, and Lisa Dally will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee for the city’s Fourth Ward, District Two. Voters can pick two candidates.

Cindy Holmes, Anissa Williams, Gabrielle Hill, and Yvondra Sims-Bruce will compete to be a member of the Orange County Democratic Committee in the city’s Fourth Ward, District Four. Voters can pick two candidates.

St. Luke’s Pumps Brakes on Cornwall Emergency Room Closing

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A fleet of ambulances packed into St. Luke’s emergency room parking area in Cornwall. (photo provided)

By Mark Gerlach

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has paused the closing of its emergency room in Cornwall, which was slated to happen in October.

“We will be taking a pause in our application for closure and will continue to operate the emergency department and associated services until questions about the Cornwall campus emergency department transition and access to care are addressed…,” a statement from the hospital said.

The hospital’s statement cited state Sen. William Larkin as a factor in the decision to halt the closing. “St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has always taken the voices of our local leadership and community seriously and in particular Senator Larkin, whose leadership we have relied upon for many years,” the statement said.

Larkin released this statement following the announcement: “I am pleased that St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has decided to pause their application for closure of the Cornwall Emergency Department. I will continue to work to ensure my constituents are provided with appropriate, comprehensive care. I applaud the decision made by the Board of St. Luke’s Cornwall to keep the Emergency Department open during this continued, productive dialogue.”

Hospital representatives, according to the statement, also want to discuss the closing with Rep. Sean Maloney and Assemblyman James Skoufis.

To read the full article see the Friday, Sept. 2 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

DOT Studying Cornwall Intersection For Traffic Light

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The intersection of Route 94 and Jackson Avenue has been the site of several crashes this year. The state Department of Transportation is examining whether a traffic light is needed. (photo by Bob Root)

By Mark Gerlach

The intersection at Route 94 and Jackson Avenue in Cornwall is the site of numerous traffic accidents each year. The state Department of Transportation is now studying the intersection to determine if a traffic light is warranted.

The study will likely take about six months to complete, DOT spokesperson Gina DiSarro said. The average daily traffic on Route 94 in that location in 2014 was about 8,391. The new study will collect recent data, DiSarro said.

“I believe it’s the most dangerous intersection in Cornwall,” Town Supervisor Richard Randazzo said. “We’ve seen a number of accidents over the years.”

The intersection is near Cornwall High School and Salisbury Mills train station. Randazzo called the intersection “busy” and “difficult.”

To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 19 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Emergency Room Closure Stirs Public Indignation

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Area residents, as well as elected officials, voiced concerns about a recent announcement from St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital that its emergency room in Cornwall will close in October. The concerns were stated at an informational meeting held by the hospital at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor on July 25. Seen here is a fleet of ambulances packed into St. Luke’s emergency room parking area in Cornwall. (photo provided)

By Laura Giner Bair

Area residents expressed feelings of disappointment, anger, and distrust this week after St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital announced that its emergency room in Cornwall would be closing in October. However, the closure is necessary for the hospital to comply with healthcare reforms and alleviate debt, according to St. Luke’s.

“It’s going to be a burden on us,” Michael Bigg, chief of the New Windsor Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said about the closing. Bigg is also vice president of the Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance Corps. “What are they going to close next?”

St. Luke’s outlined why they are closing the facility at a meeting held at Anthony’s Pier 9 on July 25. Closing the facility would help the hospital comply with national guidelines that require healthcare providers to coordinate efforts to prevent illness and harness costs, which were set in motion by the Affordable Care Act, and allay financial concerns. The state is requesting that hospitals scale back “unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 25 percent,” a press release from St. Luke’s announcing the closure said.

By closing the emergency room, the hospital can maintain other services at the Cornwall campus, hospital executives said. Closing the Cornwall emergency room would allow St. Luke’s to accomplish its “goal of keeping the Cornwall campus alive,” Joan Cusack-McGuirk, the hospital’s interim president and chief executive officer, said.

The Cornwall facility includes outpatient radiology and laboratory services, a medical office building, radiation oncology, an infusion center, and other services and offices.

“We are in an era of healthcare reform… not react to illness, (but to) prevent illness and protect wellness,” Cusack-McGuirk said.

St. Luke’s is operating with a debt of $65 million incurred prior to 2009, Tom Gibney, senior vice president and chief financial officer at St. Luke’s, said. The hospital was denied two state grants this year totaling $50 million. St. Luke’s is reimbursed less than the full amount of care for approximately 77 percent of its patients, Gibney said. The hospital is reimbursed 88 cents to the dollar for Medicare patients, which make up nearly 50 percent of total patients. Reimbursement for Medicaid patients is 66 cents per dollar.

Mark Gerlach contributed to this report.

To read the full article see the Friday, July 29 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

 

St. Luke’s Emergency Department In Cornwall To Close

By Mark Gerlach 

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital will close its emergency department in Cornwall on Oct. 1, an announcement from the hospital said. The decision was made by the hospital’s board of trustees. The move will “align” St. Luke’s with “healthcare reform trends and initiatives,” a press release from St. Luke’s said.

“As healthcare evolves, we must look at all programs and services to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of our patients in a way that maintains our commitment to quality and is financially sustainable for the entire health system,” Michelle Rider, chair of the SLCH Board of Trustees, said.

New York State is requiring hospitals to cut back on “unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 25 percent,” the announcement from the hospital said. Closing the unit will “result in a $3.2 million improvement on the hospital’s bottom line.”

Some do not agree with the decision, however.

“St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital’s proposal was an affront to the community three years ago and it is an affront now,” a brief statement from Assemblyman James Skoufis, who’s running for reelection, said. “The hospital’s plan to close the Cornwall emergency room will not move forward without a fight.”

“I am disappointed that St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has decided to close its emergency department in Cornwall,” Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus said in a statement. “In the past, when community hospitals have been at risk, New York State has stepped in with emergency aid and assistance… I encourage state officials to work with the state (Department of Health) to deliver emergency aid to St. Luke’s, as has been done elsewhere to save hospital services.”

To read the full article see the Friday, July 22 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

Man Holds Up Cumberland Farms In Beaver Dam Lake

By Mark Gerlach  

A man wearing a green sweatshirt and jeans robbed Cumberland Farms on Route 94 in the Beaver Dam Lake section of Cornwall this week. The suspect, who was not apprehended by police, allegedly had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket and told the cashier he had a gun.

He yelled “open the register you’re being robbed,” Trooper Steven Nevel, state police Troop F public information officer, confirmed citing a police report. The suspect’s mouth was covered by a sweatshirt, police said.

A store employee didn’t see the weapon. The suspect grabbed an undisclosed amount of money from behind the counter, and urged the employee not to call the police. A small amount of money was left in the draw, police said.

The robbery occurred at about 2:08 a.m.

The investigation is ongoing. Those with information about this incident are asked to call state police at 845-344-5300. 

Donald Trump To Make NYMA Stop

By Mark Gerlach

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s helicopter is slated to land at the New York Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson on Sunday, April 17 before he heads to a rally at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, Republican officials confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Trump is expected to arrive around 6 p.m. The NYMA visit isn’t a rally. Trump is expected to land, say a quick hello and then head to Poughkeepsie where he is reportedly set to take the stage around 7 p.m.

Donald Trump’s NYMA stop is said to be a private, invitation-only event, according to Cornwall Police Chief Todd Hazard.

“It’s a brief stop, not a rally,” said Orange County Republican Chairwoman Courtney Greene.

“I’m excited to have presidential candidate Donald Trump stop in Orange County,” Greene said. “It’s an exciting year for the country, and we’re so happy to have New York State be a big part of this election.”

NYMA is Trump’s alma mater. He graduated in 1964, and received an Alumni of Distinction award from the school in 1998. NYMA is located at 78 Academy Ave.

Trump has a “nostalgic feeling” for the area, as well as local ties, Cornwall Republican Chairwoman Jeanne LaBarge said.

“It’s magnificent that he wants to stop by and say ‘hello,'” LaBarge said. “It’s a nice gesture. He definitely feels some connection to this area.”

The New York presidential primary will be held on Tuesday, April 19. Voters must be registered as either a Democrat or Republican in order to vote in their respective party (e.g., registered Democrats can only vote in the Democratic primary). The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Pair Of Decisions Create Divide In Cornwall

By Mark Gerlach

TOWN OF CORNWALL – Two elected officials speculate that a pair of recent decisions passed by the town board are the result of political retaliation on behalf of Supervisor Richard Randazzo; a claim Randazzo, a Democrat, denies.

The town board recently decided to reduce the number of hours for its record clerk Debra Riley, a part-time employee, from about 1,040 hours to 520 annually. The board also removed Maryanne O’Dell, receiver of taxes and town historian, from the post of liaison with the Sands Ring Homestead Museum.

O’Dell, and Town Clerk Renata McGee, object to the decisions and believe they may have been proposed because both women supported Randazzo’s opponent in the November election, Republican Randy Clark. O’Dell and McGee are also Republicans.

Randazzo, however, said the decisions are based solely on saving taxpayer dollars.

“We shouldn’t be spending taxpayers money on jobs, or positions, that aren’t necessary to get the job done,” Randazzo said.

The records clerk position is sometimes funded partially through a grant. No grant was obtained for the job in 2016. The records clerk also works as a backup for other town offices. Riley, who’s salary is set at $14.21 per hour, left an interior design job to work for the town, McGee said. The decision may reflect negatively on McGee if the town clerk’s office isn’t able to handle requests in a timely manner, she said.

For the complete story see the Friday, Jan. 15 edition of The Sentinel.