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Healthy plan in action for Placid

January 18, 2019
Editorial , Lake Placid News

Rehabilitation patients are already getting physical therapy at Adirondack Health's new Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center. Next week, the attractive new fitness center and pool will open to anyone in the general public willing to pay for a membership. The emergency department, medical imaging and a private sports medicine practice will move over sometime not too long after that, and the hospital-like portion will follow after a recently required external stairway is built.

We got a tour of it Monday, Jan. 14, and while we are no experts, everything looked good to us. It seems sensibly designed and isn't overly fancy on the surface - aside from its amazing array of new workout machines. Yet hidden inside the walls and ceilings, its IT infrastructure will support high-tech health equipment and its state-of-the-art air-circulation system will guard against the spread of infection.

It's even more impressive considering that this $20 million facility was built at the same time as a new surgical wing at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, and largely with local money. Sure, there were some government grants, but the Future of Care Campaign exceeded its $12 million goal to raise around $16 million, and Adirondack Health's savings over many years went a long way as well. That builds trust in our local health care provider.

Article Photos

Pool at Adirondack Health’s Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

The combination of fitness center with an outpatient hospital is a example of where the health care industry is going, and we're all for it. The more people can stay healthy, the less expensive care they will need. If Adirondack Health was selfish and shortsighted, it would fear this trend as taking business away, but really, preventative care makes the entire U.S. health care and insurance system more sustainable and affordable. It's good for the Tri-Lakes community that Adirondack Health takes this approach.

It is especially appropriate that it does so in Lake Placid, a village known for athletics: Olympic sports, Ironman triathlons, gigantic lacrosse tournaments and more. Also, Lake Placid is due, since it has one of the Tri-Lakes oldest health facilities still in use, the former Placid Memorial Hospital that is now AMC-Lake Placid. The new facility is a big step up.

Down the road, we're sure locals would love Adirondack Health to add comparable fitness spaces at its Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake facilities.

It should open the door for more people to start healthy patterns of regular exercise. Physical therapy patients, for instance, will have an easy path to gym membership as they complete their rehabilitation - reaching people who might not otherwise shop around for gyms.

On that note, while the membership prices for this fitness center are a little bit higher than some other local gyms, they're reasonable considering that this one has a pool.

The new-car whiff will wear off this facility soon enough. It will get broken in as locals and visitors frequent it. It remains to be seen how everything will turn out, but based on what we saw Monday, we wouldn't be surprised to see it still in daily use many, many decades from now.

Adirondack Health CEO Sylvia Getman said she looks forward to a future when doctors can write prescriptions for exercise. That's a good vision to work toward.



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