Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 16, 2014

Newfane hospital inpatient unit to shut down Oct. 13

Niagara Gazette — A letter sent to employees of Eastern Niagara Hospital-Newfane on Wednesday announced that the Newfane site's inpatient and surgical services will shut down on Oct. 13.

The letter also informed employees that they may lose their jobs due to their positions being eliminated or through being "bumped" by employees with more seniority. The hospital sent letters to all of the employees at ENH-Newfane, CEO Clare Haar said.

"It's a process," she said. "We have to notify all of the employees at Newfane."

The hospital will be eliminating 60 positions when the change goes into effect in October, ENH Director of Community Relations Carolyn Moore said Wednesday afternoon. 

Employees impacted by the planned layoffs will be laid off during a 14-day period beginning on Oct. 13, the letter said.

"You are receiving this notice because, due to your position being eliminated or due to others' bumping rights, your employment may be terminated at some time during the 14 day period commencing on October 13, 2014," the letter said. 

According to the letter, employees in jobs that aren't eliminated by the planned closing of services at the hospital may be laid off through "bumping rights" as set out in the "relevant provisions in the applicable collective bargaining agreement."

"We don't know who will bump who," Haar said. "We can't predict that."

Along with inpatient and surgical services, the intensive care unit, dietary services, pharmacy, medical records and respiratory therapy will also be closing. The closed departments at Newfane will be consolidated at ENH-Lockport. 

Some outpatient services like dialysis, blood drawing, physical and occupational therapy and most radiological services will be kept going, as well as the 24-hour emergency room. The plan to keep the emergency room is a point of contention with community members who say it can't fully operate as an emergency room without inpatient and surgical services. 

The hospital has drawn scrutiny from community activists, residents and elected officials since announcing the restructuring plan on July 2, who contend that the hospital's board and administration did not do enough to keep the hospital fully operational in Newfane. 

Contact reporter Michael Canfield at 439-9222, ext. 6246, or follow him on Twitter @MikeCanfield36.

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