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‘Potential buyer’ in place for Lakeshore

This week’s Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council meeting is likely to provide an answer regarding the future of the Lakeshore Hospital in Irving.

In a phone conversation with the OBSERVER over the weekend, state Sen. George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay) said he is continuing his efforts to keep the facility in operation. He even noted he has spoken with a “potential buyer” for the campus.

But this week’s rescheduled advisory council meeting, which was canceled on Thursday due to lack of quorum, is important in moving that possibility forward. Borrello said the buyer, who he would not identify, would need some assurance from the Office of Mental Health it could continue to offer state funding to keep the facility viable moving forward for the future.

As of this weekend, both the Lakeshore emergency room and behavioral health unit remained open. The Brooks-TLC Hospital System Inc. board of directors announced in early December it hoped to have the facility closed by Jan. 1.

While the hospital-shuttering plan was approved by the state Health Department, the Office of Mental Health has not signed off on the closure. “Per (state Office of Mental Health) regulations, TLC is not permitted to close its inpatient psychiatric unit without prior approval from the commissioner,” said James C. Plastiras, spokesman for the state Office of Mental Health, last week. “Regardless of any formal decision on the plan, (the office) will continue working with the hospital to ensure their compliance with all (Office of Mental Health) regulations.”

Brooks-TLC Hospital System Inc. ran a deficit in 2019 of $20 million at both the Dunkirk and Irving locations. New York state continues to subsidize the operations.

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