Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 2, 2014

ENH Newfane closing inpatient unit

Niagara Gazette — In an effort to keep some services viable at Eastern Niagara Hospital-Newfane, the hospital will be eliminating inpatient care and surgical services over the coming months.

The eliminated services will be consolidated at ENH-Lockport. Outpatient services, including dialysis services, blood drawing, physical and occupational therapy and most radiology services will continue at the Newfane site. The 24-hour emergency room will also stay open. 

The move comes after a meeting of the hospital's board Tuesday evening, said ENH-Newfane CEO Clare A. Haar. Several factors played into the decision to downsize the hospital, she said. 

"We looked at the trends of what's going on in healthcare, and essentially what is impacting everything is the decline in patient admissions," she said. "That's been going on for years, but the trend is accelerating."

Billing changes, specifically to Medicare, have also impacted the hospital's bottom line, Haar said. As of last October, a hospital stay has to involve "two midnights," or it is billed as an observation instead of an admission, she said. Hospitals receive more money for admissions than they do for observations.

"Observation pays us substantially less than a typical admission," she said. 

With the decline in hospitalizations, the hospital has more room than is needed for the community the hospital serves, Haar said. 

"That led to the decision to consolidate inpatient care at one site," she said, adding that all hospitals in New York state are grappling with the current trends in healthcare. "It's the perfect storm. It's the overall shift to outpatient services. It's the overall decline in inpatient work."

ENH lost $1.7 million over the first five months of 2014, Haar said.

"This is our effort to restore the fiscal stability by consolidating our inpatient and surgery at one site," she said. 

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