Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 17, 2014

More than 200 attend meeting on troubled Newfane hospital

NEWFANE — Town Supervisor Timothy R. Horanburg isn't just calling for the rescue of the Newfane hospital, he's calling for a change in Eastern Niagara Hospital management.

In front of a crowd of more than 200 people Monday night at town hall, Horanburg read a letter he wrote to Niagara County residents explaining the situation with the Eastern Niagara Hospital's Newfane site. Formerly known as Inter-Community Memorial Hospital, the facility is feared by many to be teetering toward closure.

Eastern Niagara CEO Clare Haar has made some "horrible, irresponsible financial decisions," Horanburg charged.

"There needs to be a change in management and we need it now," he said. "Make the board of directors wake up and do the right thing."

Monday's meeting was designed to get local leaders, fire companies and emergency personnel together to talk about how best to proceed. Horanburg said residents will have a chance to speak at a public meeting to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Miller Hose Volunteer Fire Co. hall, 6161 McKee St.

That didn't stop people from attending the Monday meeting, however. Residents packed a meeting room, some with signs proclaiming support for the hospital. Flyers appeared on some vehicles parked near town hall on Main Street, while some local businesses put out signs in support of saving the hospital.

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."

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