IRVING - After the Lake Erie Regional Health System announced its decision Tuesday to close the Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, politicians have responded to the public's reaction to the closing of one of the community's main hospitals.
A letter sent to community members on Wednesday from Christopher Lanski, the hospital board's chairman, stated that the facility is losing millions of dollars due in part to declining patient volumes, declining reimbursement rates, increased government mandates and unrealized benefits of consolidation efforts related to the Berger Commission (New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century).
Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean), Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C-Chautauqua), Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda) and County Executive Greg Edwards have expressed their concerns.
OBSERVER File Photo
Lake Shore Health Care Center is scheduled to close Jan. 31.
In a press release to the OBSERVER, Young said, "Closing the hospital leaves the people of the region without nearby emergency room access and vital hospital services."
She added, "It also has a profound impact on the lives of those who are losing their jobs. Many families will be affected and it is a huge blow to the local economy."
Assemblyman Goodell said he was shocked to hear the news.
"Just a few months ago we were celebrating the opening of Lake Shore's new emergency room," he said.
In the press release, Young and Goodell both state they want to work to find solutions.
Goodell said, "Working with the State Health Department and Lake Shore management, we need to explore every possible option to maintain high quality health care, employment, and all the other benefits of both the nursing home and the hospital."
The Lake Shore Health Care Center provides several services such as home health, emergency services, diagnostic imaging and cardiac rehabilitation.
Assemblyman Giglio said, "It is imperative that the community be fully informed by hospital management of exactly how they will propose to fulfill the healthcare needs of the region."
Giglio also said he will work with Young, Goodell and community members "to ensure that the hospital system is meeting its obligation to provide essential hospital services to the region."
In a phone interview, Greg Edwards said, "We should all roll up our sleeves to help save this medical provider," and added, "Their board of directors deserves a lot of credit for making these important analysis decisions that no one would want to make."
He finished, "I will do anything to help them in any way I can."