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Hospital closure request getting attention Thursday

A meeting later this week could determine the timeline of the pending closure of Lakeshore Hospital in Irving.

As of today, both the emergency room, which received a full renovation within the last five years and the behavioral disorders health unit, which was continuing to treat at least 15 in-patients last week, remain functioning. On Thursday, however, more could change.

According to James C. Plastiras, state Office of Mental Health spokesman, a decision is possible on the next steps. “Brooks-TLC Hospital System has submitted a Comprehensive Prior Approval Request for the closure to the Office of Mental Health. The (Prior Approval Request) is being reviewed by (the Office of Mental Health) and will be considered at the next Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council meeting on January 16.”

State Mental Health officials quickly reached out to the OBSERVER after the weekend article stated that calls and queries were not returned. This newspaper, however, incorrectly reached out to another state office that does not handle these matters.

Lakeshore staff was made aware of Thursday’s meeting by the Service Employees International Union 1199 members, who are expected to be in attendance as well as state Sen. George Borrello. Workers were encouraged to write letters to the commissioners of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports as well as the Office of Mental Health. The union was to forward those communications for the advisory council the meeting.

On Dec. 3, the Brooks-TLC Hospital System announced the closing of the Lakeshore campus in Irving due to the facility being on track to lose nearly $7 million for 2019. Brooks in Dunkirk was in worse shape, as the institution lost more than $13 million last year.

New York state Health Department officials in the fall announced they were helping subsidize operations for both facilities. The $70 million building project for Brooks in Fredonia, however, appears to still be on track.

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