News Release January 13, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Krista A. Kittle (315) 785-4504

SMC AND NORTH COUNTRY FAMILY HEALTH CENTER ANNOUNCE PLAN TO STRENGTHEN AND SUSTAIN OPERATIONS OF COMMUNITY AGENCY
Watertown, New York ----- When Samaritan Medical Center was appointed Temporary Operator of the

North Country Family Health Center in October, the ultimate goal was to assist the agency to stabilize operations to ensure its long-term viability to continue to serve the community. Since then, the NYS Department of Health, SMC and the North Country Family Health Center have worked in close collaboration to develop a plan to help make the organization stronger than ever. Based on a work plan that was submitted to the Department of Health, SMC and the North Country Family Health Center has outlined the priority focus areas, as well as changes in processes and structure, that will result in a stronger, more sustainable future. Improve Revenue – Outsourcing billing, reduce no-show rates, certify as a Level III Patient Centered Medical Home (currently a Level II) and increase provider capacity for seeing patients. Reduce Expenses – Restructure and consolidate operations, including non-filling of seven currently vacant positions and one expected retirement this Spring; layoff of five employees, three occurred in December as part of the billing transition, and two management positions effective 1/13/14. Loan/Grant Opportunities – In order to support some of the initiatives outlined in the work plan, funding has been secured, including $100,000 from NNY Community Foundation and $32,500 from the New York State Health Foundation. A $100,000 funding request is currently pending. Financial Obligations/Debt – Refinance NCFHC mortgage; two short-term loans to Community Bank and Watertown Trust were paid in November; payback short-term loan from Samaritan Medical Center. Vendor Relations – Address delinquent vendor payable balances. Information Technology – Optimize functionality of electronic medical record and improve data collection to monitor and improve efficiency and productivity. Federally Qualified Health Center – Reapply for FQHC designation and funding; open Lowville dental/medical site, continue to serve homeless Board Development – Collaborate with community leaders to expand and enhance Board of Directors and develop Board education opportunities As a result of the plan outlined above, the North Country Family Health Center is expected to end 2014 with a near break-even budget and positive cash flow in order to continue its operations without any interruption in services to patients. ###

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