By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- Massena Memorial Hospital released updated financial projections days before its leaders, including administration and unions, and the Town Council are to meet to further discuss potential alternatives to privatizing the hospital.
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The updated predictions are based on the first months of 2014, whereas the old estimates were based on numbers through December 2013.
MMH officials earlier in the year estimated losing $1,312,000 by year’s end.They now plan on going $3,005,000 in the red.
The document also includes questions and answers MMH public relations director Tina Corcoran says summarizes discussions between MMH’s discussions about privatization with Massena community members.
The 3:30 p.m. July 22 meeting will be closed-door, Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said, because no governing body will have a quorum. That means they are not legally obligated to announce their convention or admit citizen spectators.
Gray said the public is restricted because he believes people will speak more freely without worry that their comments will be published.
"The discussion is very frank and direct and not very pretty," Gray said. "I think people are more comfortable having these discussions behind closed doors."
Councilman John Macaulay said MMH union representatives are to come back with a "plan C" to privatization, but no one yet knows what it may entail.
"I'm not sure what they're going to come up with," Macaulay said. "They need to have an accounting analysis of it so we'll have something to make a decision from."
The meeting could be the last of a series Gray began holding starting in May. He wanted the hospital administration and union to come up with what he called "plan B," meaning keeping MMH a municipal institution, but making big enough cuts moving forward to stave off bankruptcy.
MMH is looking at privatizing because, according to a study by FreedMaxick CPAs, they will go broke by 2017. The hospital saw an overall $3,310,000 net loss from operations in 2013 and ended the year with $4,986,000 cash on-hand, which is a $1,855,000 reduction from the previous year.