IRVING, N.Y. (WIVB) - Some are coming forward with claims that those in charge of Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving are trying to drain the facility's assets before it is sold.
Three days ago, the Board of Directors of Lake Shore Hospital asked the State Health Department to make an emergency authorization that would further strip down the medical services Lake Shore offers, even as Chautauqua County residents fight to save the facility and a potential buyer, Tony Borrello, has offered to pay up to $15 million to keep it opened.
The Board of Directors has proposed having Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk take over four clinics that Lake Shore has operated. This could kill the deal now proposed by Borrello to purchase Lake Shore and all its assets.
His attorney, Barry Covert, said, "It's concerning and I have looked into it, and I have made our feelings very clear that part of the good faith negotiations here is that the assets do not change."
News 4 has obtained this letter to the State Health Department asking for emergency authorization to have Brooks Memorial Hospital take over the operations of the four Lake Shore Extension clinics in Gowanda, Forestville, Derby, and Cassadaga.
Many employees at Lake Shore believe there has been an orchestrated move to sell off the hospital's assets thereby requiring people to go to Brooks and onto Hamot Hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania if they need more serious care.
Developer Tony Borrello said, "We're trying to get the hospital not to break it up into five different pieces and sell it to us as a unit so we can keep all the people employed here and make everybody happy, and in the meantime probably save a lot of lives."
Gary Rhodes, Vice President for UPMC Hamot and Interim CEO for the health system that has controlled Lake Shore, would not comment this.
Hamot is also the consulting manager for the health system. There has been a denial, though, that anything has been orchestrated to help Hamot gain financially from Lake Shore's closure.
Now, with all of these rumors swirling, Lake Shore has created its own Board of Directors that will be separate from the health care network that has so far been in charge of the facility.
The old board managed both Brooks in Dunkirk, and Lake Shore in Irving. This new board is now negotiating with a potential buyer of Lake Shore.
"What we have to allow now is for the new board that was just formed in the last 24 hours or so, to now take whatever legal action they need to have full control of the hospital and of the clinics, and therefore, we'll be able to negotiate with them," Covert said.
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