IRVING, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving now has a specific closing date, but many are questioning the reasons for the hospital's closure.
The sign on the door reads, "As of January 31st, Lake Shore Health Care Center and Conewango Valley Medical Center will be closed to extreme financial pressures." But some think the shutdown is already beginning, like a former employee who didn't want to be identified.
The former employee said, "The nurses were being sent home from the dayshift and the second shift was being called and told don't bother to come in and now the Med-Surg unit is empty."
Lake Erie Regional Health spokesman Scott Butler says they staff to volume at Lake Shore Health Care Center and the reason nurses were told to stay home is because volume is low. Butler said Friday's directive had nothing to do with any upcoming closure, but the former employee disputes that.
"There was volume this morning. Why discharge everyone, especially when they're talking about closing this place down? It seems pretty funny," the former employee stated.
Tersea Rosati says a neurologist who has rented a front building for 10 years has been ordered to vacate, while Lake Erie Health continues to upgrade.
"The most disturbing thing to me is the lack of communication," Rosati said. "For instance, purchasing equipment under the Lake Shore Hospital budget and then shipping it to Brooks Memorial, doing $1.9 million in renovations at the hospital, and who benefits? Brooks Hospital, because once this hospital closes, the equipment will be shipped to Brooks."
Many of these moves are done under the direction of UPMC Health, which operates Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. Some have claimed UPMC Health is trying to monopolize health care on the southern tier.
Butler says Lake Shore Hospital will close in late January under a worst case scenario, but adds there are still efforts to save it.
Senator Cathy Young is preparing to meet with the hospital's board and State Health Department sometime soon.
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