Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

July 6, 2014

MAILBAG: Newfane, keep fighting for your hospital

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It has been 3 1/2 months since I first wrote to you, the community of Newfane, regarding the actions of Eastern Niagara Hospital administration and its plans for closing the Newfane site.

Today as we contemplate the announced partial shutdown of our old InterCommunity Memorial Hospital, it’s impossible not to be struck by the plays on words by CEO Clare Haar and the ENH board of directors. Just last week, they pledged through hospital spokesman Carolyn Moore that the site would not be “closed.”

In March, I asked why ICMH was in jeopardy. The responses included many excuses, from lost revenue to lack of patients, lack of physicians, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of these “reasons” point to one issue: Money.

Wait, was it not the community of northeast Niagara County and doctors Walter Altbach, John Argue and Mabel Carmer-Hill who, back in 1952, voiced their concerns to the public about the need for another hospital closer to lake and recommended that the region establish its own community hospital? Their emphasis wasn’t on money, it was on patient care and the needs of the community. It was the community that came together and funded the facility — not the government and not Clare Haar.

Since the news broke about ENH-Newfane being in jeopardy, at no time has ENH administration mentioned the needs of the community.

ICMH was a strong, viable, community supported and funded health care leader in 1998. Lockport Memorial was in trouble and on the brink of closing. ICMH, for whom Clare Haar worked, came up with a solution to merge the two facilities, and with the blessing of the ICMH board of directors, began negotiating and bringing the facilities to a merger. In short, Haar saved Lockport with ICMH money and never looked back at Newfane. Now the Newfane hospital is in trouble, thanks to her decisions, and Lockport hospital could care less.

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