Catholic Health officials announced Tuesday they are bringing a “hospital of the future” to Lockport.
The new state-of-the-art facility — being called Lockport Memorial — will be centrally located in Lockport at a site yet determined. It will preserve local health care for more than 80,000 residents in the surrounding community. Catholic Health will begin looking at several land options in Lockport and plans to begin construction in 2021 with an opening date in 2023, according to Catholic Health President & CEO Mark A. Sullivan.
“We are ensuring sustainable, accessible, high quality healthcare in Eastern Niagara County, while building a hospital of the future that will serve area residents for years to come,” he said. “… This agreement is about neighbors taking care of neighbors, preserving health care jobs in the community, and supporting the dedicated staff who have provided high quality care under difficult circumstances.”
Over the next two years, inpatient care, emergency services and diagnostic imaging will remain at Eastern Niagara’s East Avenue campus until the new hospital opens. The hospital’s Ambulatory Surgery Center, Imaging Services and Urgent Care Clinic at 5875 S. Transit Road will also continue to operate as Catholic Health looks to expand community-based care in Eastern Niagara County.
The future of the Eastern Niagara Hospital campus will be determined through the bankruptcy process, Catholic Health officials said. They described the current ENH building as over-sized and inefficient for the volume of patients it serves and the way health care is delivered today.
The community requires a smaller, better equipped, state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the current healthcare needs of individuals and families in the City and Town of Lockport and beyond, officials said.
The majority of Eastern Niagara Hospital’s 450 employees will remain employed at the hospital and the Ambulatory Care Center/Lockport Imaging Center on South Transit Road while the new hospital is built. Catholic Health will begin exploring employment opportunities that may be available at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and throughout Catholic Health for any ENH employees affected by these changes, working closely with their union representatives, where applicable.
“Due to changing trends, Eastern Niagara Hospital is taking a proactive approach, working with Catholic Health to find a solution that best serves the Lockport community,” Sullivan continued. “Together, along with Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston, we are building a health care model that will strengthen services across the Niagara region. Through this partnership, Lockport residents will be able to receive needed care at Eastern Niagara Hospital, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, the Eastern Niagara Regional Surgery Center and a new multi-specialty practice, and ultimately at the new Lockport Memorial Hospital once it opens.”
Last November, Eastern Niagara Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Faced with ongoing losses, the hospital’s board made the unanimous decision to be proactive and approve the agreement with Catholic Health.
“This plan will require the approval of the United States Bankruptcy Court,” said Eastern Niagara Hospital President Anne McCaffrey. “We will be working over the next several days to discuss the program in detail with the constituents in the bankruptcy process. We hope that once they are fully briefed, they will join us in asking Chief Bankruptcy Judge Bucki for approval of this plan.”
Added Robert M. Greene, chairman of the Catholic Health Board of Directors, “Catholic Health already has a significant presence in Niagara County with Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and has invested more than $30 million in the region over the past five years. This new partnership with Eastern Niagara Hospital is building upon that commitment. The members of the Catholic Health board who reside in Niagara County were instrumental in discerning our approach and are very enthusiastic that a solution is in the works.”