IRVING, N.Y. (WIVB) - Southern tier lawmakers are livid that the Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving will abruptly be closing its doors, saying they were "blind-sided" by the announcement.
Millions of dollars were spent to upgrade the hospital and multi-care facility only to have it close in a matter of months. And everyone was taken by surprise: the State Health Department, the Lake Shore Hospital staff and patients, and the community.
The announced closing of Lake Shore Hospital and its related long term care and mental health facilities may have violated State Health Department regulations. No required closure plan had been formally submitted, says the state, which had been given one day's notice. Lawmakers were given no notice.
Sen. Catharine Young said, "Very, very disappointed and shocked because I had no advanced notice that they were going to do this."
A Comprehensive Closure Plan must spell out how a smooth transition of services would take place, how each patient would be afforded an appropriate level of care, and how they would have access to the care they need. Access in the rural southern tier is critical, especially for those who have critical needs.
Assemblyman Joseph Giglio said, "Gowanda: Distance especially in the winter, and how to get our citizens of this part of the region the care they need in an appropriate and fast manner."
Then there is the issue of the $1.9 million spent on renovations for the emergency room. Construction began in August of 2012, and has just been completed this month, just as the closing announcement was made. Lawmakers will be meeting with hospital and state officials.
"We will be asking for some financial information to try to figure out how this happened, how they got to this point," Sen. Young said.
A spokesman for Lake Shore Hospital said the money was spent on the emergency room to try and increase the volume of patients coming in, but it just wasn't enough to bring the hospital out of the red. The loss this year is expected to be $7 million.
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