Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 19, 2014

Newfane hospital finding public support

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “Change is a constant for health care institutions today. Hospitals can no longer operate in the same manner they did 20 years ago or even 10 years ago,” Moore said. “As the needs of the community and the utilization of services change, the hospital must also reconfigure. It is essential in order to ensure ENH’s long term sustainability in the region.”

Horanburg said ENH should have never bought the Newfane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, which he claimed was losing $700,000 a year. He also questioned why ENH officials would build a $3 million surgical center on South Transit Road in the Town of Lockport, with Newfane facing such hard financial challenges and a surgical center opening just down the street from ENH Lockport on East Avenue.

“In my opinion, this is strictly out of revenge,” Horanburg said.

He also accused Haar of applying for a $7 million state grant about four years ago which, he charged, was supposed to be used to improve the facilities at the Newfane site, such as the maternity ward. However, he said Haar closed the maternity department about six months after the grant came in.

“She basically put $7 million in the garbage,” Horanburg said.

Encouraging the community’s support, Horanburg said the Newfane hospital has twice survived the state health department’s attempts at closure, showing Monday’s crowd a picture of a 1987 meeting of residents in opposition of Albany’s attempt. He said he hoped Saturday’s meeting tops the 5,000 who were there in 1987.

“We are here for a purpose, that hospital we built has to stay here,” Horanburg said.

Bartenstein said there’s belief Saturday’s turnout will top that of the 1987 gathering. Losing the hospital wouldn’t just mean a much longer drive for patients, but it may also affect Niagara County’s ability to draw younger families and newer physicians to the northern and eastern side, Bartenstein said.

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