Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 21, 2014

Debatable diagnosis

Some cite reasons for ENH-Newfane closure concern, officials say concern based on incorrect statements

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — There are a lot of people concerned over the possible closure of Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane, but those concerns are based on incorrect statements, ENH officials said Thursday.

At a meeting Monday and through social media, Newfane residents and hospital supporters have expressed that worry. Facebook groups and both written and online petitions have sprung up in an effort to stave off closure.

There’s been a series of events, including at least 15 layoffs since Jan. 1 and the cutting of services, that suggests to supporters that the Newfane hospital is in trouble.

But, ENH officials have said no decision has been made to close the Newfane hospital. Instead, ENH has said it has to make adjustments in staffing and look at everything to help weather the financial challenges it faces.

Residents and hospital supporters will have a chance to speak further at a public meeting to be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Miller Hose Volunteer Fire Co. hall, 6161 McKee St. Signs of support are springing up everywhere in Newfane while T-shirts are being sold at Town Hall.

That same concern about Newfane reached the legislative chambers at the Niagara County Court House this week.

The Niagara County Legislature approved a resolution Tuesday encouraging ENH and CEO Clare Haar to “a long term effort to study the needs of the entire community... and that is oriented toward preserving services at both sites.”

County lawmakers also want ENH to hold off on “any actions that are likely to result in the closure or diminishment of the mission of the Newfane site” until that study is done. The resolution said dialogue should continue between ENH and elected leaders, while county officials stand by to assist.

In a statement released Thursday, ENH officials responded to a number of general statements made by those who believe the hospital is on the fast track to closure. 

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