An Eastern Niagara Hospital spokesperson said the facility will continue to provide "it's full array of services" after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Hospital Spokeswoman Carolyn Moore said Thursday afternoon that the hospital will continue to operate its city hospital location and the outpatient site on South Transit Road as it works through the Chapter 11 reorganization processes, but the impatient child and adolescent psychiatric services Transitions Unit, which consists of about 20 employees, will be closed.
A community forum Hospital CEO Anne McCaffrey will be held in the coming weeks, but the date has not been determined yet.
"This filing and reorganization of debt is necessary. The hospital has always met payroll, but it cannot overcome a number of the financial burdens that were incurred over the past ten years. Through much analysis over the past year, it has been determined that ENH cannot get to break even with service line closures alone; therefore, Chapter 11 reorganization is necessary," Hospital CEO Anne McCaffrey, who was appointed a year ago, said. “It is imperative that the community understand that the hospital will continue to offer essential hospital services. We have a responsibility to the community and the organization to be sustainable well into the future. The Hospital needs to restructure its debt and cease providing services that are no longer financially viable. It is unfortunate, yet like many other businesses, the decision to restructure cannot be avoided.”
Regarding the Transitions Unit, Moore said it is no longer "financially viable."
"Volume has been inconsistent and the unit is losing approximately $800,000 per year. Many steps were taken to secure additional funding to maintain this service, but it is no longer sustainable and is impacting the fiscal health of the entire organization," Moore said.
Moore observed that prior debt and loan covenant obligations that were committed to years ago are negatively impacting the hospital, and the cash flow is insufficient and the debt must be reorganized.
Cuts in reimbursements are a challenge that is faced by all healthcare providers.
D. Michael Slate, MD, ENH's medical director, emphasized that the medical staff will ensure high-quality patient care remains a top priority.
"We are committed to this facility and will be working diligently with the ENH administration to maintain the highest standards of care. In the past six months we have made great strides to enhance care in multiple areas," he said.
McCaffrey said the hospital cannot continue operating without filing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"We must take this opportunity to address the legacy debt obligations that have escalated over the past six years. ENH currently employs a very dedicated, talented and committed team of professionals. By taking this step and implementing our sustainable model of services, our team can strive to lead us into the future and preserve the 400 jobs we have today," she said.
ENH's deficit was last reported at $10 million in August.
ENH had already made significant changes to try to ensure its future survival, including shutting down its maternity unit and the Newfane facility, relocating the Reflections Chemical Dependency Program back to Lockport, moving the billing and accounting department back into the hospital.
So far, 94 jobs have been cut from the hospital, as a result of the various closings and changes, and with the future closures it will be 114 employees impacted this year.