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Questions surround hospital panel

The OBSERVER recently reported on the latest development in the planning process for a new hospital in the Dunkirk-Fredonia areas, the appointment of a new “commission.” According to an article in the July 30-31 issue, state funding for the new building project has stalled since earlier plans submitted were deemed “unacceptable” by the state.

State Sen. George Borrello, state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell and Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel “have put together a commission of area residents who have a background in health care to look over the Brooks and Kaleida Health proposal as well as its finances.

This committee would also be tasked with modifying a proposal that would then go back to the state,” the article stated.

The news article names four newly appointed individuals but are these all the members? Are there representatives from Brooks’ parent company?

Since hospital board transparency has been a recurring theme throughout this nearly decade-long transition, how much access to information will the public expect from this “commission?”

How much interaction will this commission have with the individuals who submitted the initial proposal to the state? How will the Commission interact with the current hospital board?

What is its legal responsibilities? Does it have access to private fiscal information of these health care institutions? What exactly is a “commission?” Is this its only task? If it’s writing a plan for our future, will the commission host public hearings about it? Will it be working on the Brooks Hospital Re-Use Plan, too?

Does the commission have a budget of any kind and where does that money come from? And, finally, what’s the time line for this commission’s work? Is it self-imposed or has it been set by the state?

Thank you all for considering what’s best for our future.

Kimberly Maben is a Fredonia resident.

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