BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

City hospital quietly avoiding questions

“What are the reasons that the current building, or perhaps parts of it, could not be reconditioned for use ... ’’

In August, 2015, I expressed my opinion in this newspaper for Brooks Memorial Hospital to engage the Dunkirk-Fredonia area about the future of our beloved care center. I concluded my remarks “to please help us to help you by providing a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Almost another two years have now passed without any annual reports and limited public discourse to the community. If it is necessary to build a new facility, community support will be essential — both financially and through utilization.

What will be the service mix, location and perhaps, most importantly, a viable business plan to provide financial stability? What are the reasons that the current building, or perhaps parts of it, could not be reconditioned for use over the next 20 years?

The outpatient wing of the current facility was engineered to support upper levels. It also has access to an elevator shaft to accommodate this future need. And to leave the current site with nothing more than a “For Sale” sign seems, to me, irresponsible at best.

I volunteered as a board member under an administrator that always put forth the requirement of balancing quality care with the reality that if we have no financial margin our mission as a critical care center would be in jeopardy.

He left the organization with $17 million in the bank and a balanced budget. Yes, times have changed in health-care reimbursement and utilization, but as I commented two years ago “Openness … will help us all realize that you are making the best possible decisions to keep building a healthy community, just like those before us did.”

Richard S. Johnson is past chairman, from 1999 to 2004, at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk.

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