Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 6, 2014

Despite announcement saying it will stay open, concerns linger for Newfane hospital

Niagara Gazette — Eastern Niagara Hospital is not planning on closing its Newfane site, but officials are looking at a restructuring of services to help the hospital deal with economic challenges.

In a statement, Eastern Niagara Hospital officials said, ENH is dealing with a number of fiscal issues. And a significant reduction in volume for some service areas isn’t helping.

“The hospital is not planning on closing its Newfane site. Rather, the hospital’s focus is to restructure services to meet current needs and utilization of services as well as to increase the emphasis on outpatient and primary care. Currently, the hospital is evaluating how best to array the services among its various sites so as to meet the actual needs of the community and allow ENH to remain viable for the future,” the statement reads.

But no decisions have been made, ENH said, as “substantial data is under review and a great deal of factors must be considered.”

The statement comes a week after a group of town supervisors sent a letter to ENH officials asking them to consider all options — including collaboration with other health care providers — before making any decisions about the Newfane hospital site. The supervisors expressed concerns over the fate of emergency services at Newfane in particular.

On Wednesday, state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, sent a similar letter in which he urged ENH management to look into possible arrangements with other hospital groups in hopes of saving inpatient services at Newfane. In the letter, Maziarz said he is in frequent contact with Kaleida, Catholic Health and others, so he would be willing to facilitate meetings with ENH.

ENH hasn’t answered the supervisors group’s letter, said Somerset Supervisor Daniel M. Engert. 

Eastern Niagara, as a whole, said it has experienced declines of over 15 percent in inpatient care over the past couple of years, according to the statement. Declining inpatient volume is something most hospitals in New York have been experiencing, due to technological advances, new drugs, changing patterns of care and governmental policies, and the rise of high deductible plans, ENH said.

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