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River Hospital working with Upstate Medical University to bolster emergency department

River Hospital
River Hospital is partnering with Upstate Medical University thanks to a grant.

Beginning in August, River Hospital in Alexandria Bay will partner with Syracuse's Upstate Medical University to bolster the Thousand Islands' hospital's services.

The goal is to bring more physicians to work in River Hospital's emergency department, according to chief executive officer Ben Moore. He says the hospital is receiving about $1.4 million in state and federal funding this year to bring in between six and nine additional physicians.

"Emergency-trained physicians, actually these are physicians who train other physicians, so it's really kind of a double bonus for us, they'll be staffing our E.D. [emergency department] through a schedule," Moore said. "We have our own staff as well, but they'll be mixed in with our staffing. They will also do shifts where they are supervising our physician assistants in our emergency department."

Moore adds that the additional staff will have a positive impact on the hospital's ability to operate.

"Overall, it will certainly increase our bench strength, as far as having physicians available for emergency room staffing," Moore explained. "It will bring additional resources to us, as far as the academic expertise. Part of what we're doing with them as well, is Upstate will be available to us, not only when these physicians are here, but at all times to help in any way they could with any kind of emergency care situation."

The three-year grant has to be approved in the second and third years, and funding to the hospital would decrease over that time so it can transition to paying for the program itself.

Moore says the grant will also help River Hospital continue to recruit physicians to its facility, which like other rural upstate hospitals, has had a difficult time bringing in talent.