Chautauqua County Hospital Slated To Close January First

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IRVING – A local hospital is slated to close at the start of the new year.

Officials with the Brooks-TLC Hospital System say the Lakeshore Health Center Campus will close on January 1, 2020 pending patient transfers from the facility.

The closure impacts all services at the campus including outpatient and support services as well as inpatient behavioral health services and chemical dependency services.

The medical groups says the announcement does not affect the Gowanda Urgent Care and Medical Center or TLC chemical dependency clinics in Derby and Cassadaga, which will remain open.

“Despite efforts to reduce expenses and maintain hospital services, the losses being incurred at the TLC Campus continue to rise. Simply put, patient volume is too low to maintain services and cover the cost of operating the campus,” said Christopher Lanski, chair of the Brooks-TLC Hospital System Board of Directors.

Lanski explained that operating losses of more than $6 million annually at TLC have been funded through the New York State Department of Health for the last few years, but such funding cannot be sustained going forward.

Mary LaRowe, president and CEO of Brooks-TLC Hospital System said approximately 141 full time and 60 part time employees at the TLC Campus are affected.

In regards to staff displaced by the closure, she said the hospital system will make every effort to help individuals move into other open positions at Brooks-TLC Hospital System when possible, consistent with the terms and conditions of labor agreements. Those displaced will also be made aware of employment opportunities elsewhere.

LaRowe said no decisions have been made regarding the future use of the TLC Campus.

“Once the campus is closed, a thoughtful process will be initiated to explore future options for the campus,” LaRowe said. “This is a time of great change for rural health providers. Reimbursement and market forces have made it difficult and in some cases, impossible, for rural providers to remain open.”

“Certainly Brooks-TLC Hospital System is not immune to those challenges. In less than a decade, 90 rural hospitals have closed nationally and the pace is quickening,” LaRowe said. “A recently released study from the National Rural Health Care Association indicates that nearly 700 rural hospitals nationally are vulnerable to closure within the next 10 years.”

LaRowe said Medicare and Medicaid, two major sources of payment for the hospitals, do not always cover the full cost of care.

“Couple this with continually decreasing hospital utilization, declining population in our service area, continuing cuts in state and federal reimbursement, claims denials and the challenges in recruiting staff and it’s clear why we can no longer operate in the same way,” LaRowe explained.

Prior to the merger of TLC into Brooks Hospital in early 2018, the TLC enterprise found itself in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court allowed TLC to emerge from bankruptcy assuming the merger and growth projections would reverse the large annual operating losses.

Patients and residents may call 716-363-3313 with questions.


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