Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 17, 2014

More than 200 attend meeting on troubled Newfane hospital

(Continued)

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.

Moore said Eastern Niagara Hospital has made significant improvements at the Newfane site. Those improvements include enhancing radiology equipment and technology, investing $3 million in 2010 to renovate the medical and surgical unit and adding the dialysis unit in 2011, "after this service was identified as a medical need in the community," Moore said.

The recent layoffs were in response to decreased inpatient volume and a shift toward outpatient services, according to Moore's statement.

“Change is a constant for health care institutions today. Hospitals can no longer operate in the same manner they did 20 years ago or even 10 years ago," Moore said. "As the needs of the community and the utilization of services change, the hospital must also reconfigure. It is essential in order to ensure ENH’s long term sustainability in the region.”

Horanburg said ENH should have never bought the Newfane Health Facility, which he claimed was losing $700,000 a year.

Horanburg said the Newfane hospital has twice survived the state health department's attempts at closure, showing Monday's crowd a picture of a 1987 meeting of residents in opposition of Albany's attempt. He said he hoped Saturday's meeting tops the 5,000 who were there in 1987.

"We are here for a purpose, that hospital we built has to stay here," Horanburg said.

Eastern Niagara Hospital remains committed to providing access to local care, Moore said.

"It is taking a methodical approach to evaluate all areas so that it can best meet the changing needs of the community and position the hospital for continued success. Specifics have yet to be determined," Moore said. "In order to fulfill its mission of providing care to the residents of eastern Niagara County, ENH must continue to achieve fiscal stability — which can sometimes be a painful process.”

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