More funding has been released for the financially strapped Lake Shore Health Care Center and TLC Network in Irving.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency has heeded his call to release $805,490 in already approved reimbursements owed to the TLC Health Network from two of the three outstanding project worksheets.
Schumer said the funds will help keep Lake Shore Health Care Center open until a buyer can be found and make it a more attractive commodity. The TLC Health Network is currently navigating Chapter 11 bankruptcy and struggling to keep Lake Shore up and running, as it quickly draws down on remaining available funds.
The funding comes days after TLC was allowed to continue to operate by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Buffalo. The court may decide on Monday regarding the health clinics in Gowanda and Forestville. If a buyer is not found, Brooks Memorial Hospital may lease those locations.
Schumer has identified three outstanding project worksheets, where the hospital system has already spent the funds and FEMA has agreed the costs are reimbursable, but that FEMA has yet to reimburse for TLC.
On Friday, Schumer secured the release of the majority of the funds for two of those three project worksheets, totaling $805,490 and said FEMA is committed to releasing the remaining soon.
The money is currently at the New York state Emergency Management Office and can flow to the TLC Health Network immediately.
"(The) news that FEMA is releasing over $800,000 in reimbursements to TLC is critical to Lake Shore Hospital and should give them more time to keep the hospital running while they search for a long-term buyer," Schumer said. "Lake Shore Hospital provides an essential service for a small community, and I am doing everything I can to help them transition to new ownership, and reestablish stable finances.
"The FEMA reimbursements are a great first step - and they can be used immediately - but we will hold their feet to the fire to release the remaining funds."
"After a number of years FEMA has approved the release of over $800,000 to TLC Health Network - thanks in large part to the intervention of Senator Schumer. These funds will help us meet outstanding obligations and keep the Lake Shore facility operational as we move through this difficult time. We greatly appreciate the help and support of Senator Schumer and the entire community during this process," said John Galati, interim CEO of TLC Health Network.
"This is fantastic news for Lake Shore, and I salute Senator Schumer's tenacity in getting FEMA to finally release these much-needed funds. All levels of government have been working together to save the hospital, and progress continues to be made. Lives depend on having Lake Shore operating, and we are grateful to Senator Schumer for all he is doing. Hopefully, we will have a positive result in the very near future," said state Senator Catharine Young.
Schumer said this would be a shot in the arm for the struggling Lake Shore Hospital, since the money can be spent on operating costs right away. Schumer also highlighted Lake Shore's value to the local community, both in the services they provide, and the number they employ.
The TLC Health Network, which owns Lake Shore Health Center in Irving, had announced plans to close Lake Shore hospital in October due to sustained losses. While they anticipated running out of operating funds as recently as Jan. 14, through the efforts of Senator Young and the entire state delegation, a bridge loan from New York State and other short-term financing was secured to keep the hospital open.
The longer Lake Shore remains open, Schumer explained, the greater the chances will be that TLC will reach a deal with potential buyers, who have the finances to keep Lake Shore open for the long term.