Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 19, 2014

Public support for Newfane hospital grows

Niagara Gazette —

NEWFANE — The fight is on to save Eastern Niagara Hospital's Newfane facility from a perceived threat of closure.

There's a two-pronged movement in support of the Newfane hospital, led by community members who are using everything from social media to business signs to spread the word. There's even an online petition that's been signed by 156 people as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.

A Facebook group of over 1,400 people has sprung up. Over 200 attended a Monday night meeting where local supervisors and community leaders from Newfane, Cambria, Wilson and Somerset met to discuss how to save the hospital from a feared closing.

And for those who are supporting the hospital, the mission is simple, according to Debbie Bartenstein.

"Our role is to show why this hospital needs to be maintained," she said. "We can't let sentiment get in the way, even though it tugs at the heart strings."

On the government's end, local leaders are looking for a way to preserve the William Street site.

Newfane Supervisor Timothy R. Horanburg called for the rescue of the Newfane hospital, as well as a change in Eastern Niagara Hospital management.

But, Eastern Niagara Hospital officials are saying they have not made a decision to close the Newfane site. The hospital is looking at alternative ways to cut costs, ENH community relations director Carolyn Moore said in a written statement.

"In order to remain viable, it is imperative that the hospital proactively examine opportunities to reshape the organization and utilize its resources in the most efficient manner possible — in accordance with the utilization of services by patients," Moore said. "The hospital is studying a variety of options to reduce expenses, but has made no decisions."

There have been 15 layoffs at both ENH sites, Lockport and Newfane, since Jan. 1, hospital officials said. On Saturday, Horanburg said the layoff total was closer to 21.

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