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Staff assails ‘crisis’ at Lakeshore

Lakeshore Hospital’s future path may be known after a Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council this morning. In the meantime, some staff and members of the Service Employees International Union 1199 are voicing a critical tone about the employee downsizing that has already taken place.

In an e-mail to the OBSERVER, some workers tied to the health-care facility noted Wednesday the Brooks-TLC Hospital System Inc. management is claiming it does not have enough staff for the coming weeks. Managers also told the union and staff “they have called everyone,” including those who have been laid off.

One employee connected to Lakeshore blamed the administration for creating this dilemma.

“Through changing closure dates, rumors and poor communication, (management has) created an internal disaster — an attempt to close the hospital through supposed short staffing,” said M.J. Sanderson in a letter on Page A4 today. “This crisis of their own making is now meant to provide the excuse they need to close the hospital even without state Office of Mental Health’s approval.”

Today’s state Office of Mental Health advisory council meeting is to take place at 10 a.m. Last week, state Sen. George Borrello indicated there is a “potential buyer” in place for the Irving facility but he also noted they are waiting to hear if the state Office of Mental Health will provide aid if something does come to fruition.

As of this week, both the emergency room and the behavioral health unit remain open.

James C. Plastiras, spokesman for the state Office of Mental Health, said the hospital is not permitted to close its inpatient psychiatric unit without prior approval from the commissioner.

Brooks-TLC had hoped to have the campus completely closed by Jan. 1 when it made the surprising announcement on Dec. 3. In 2019, both Lakeshore and Brooks ran a combined $20 million deficit.

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