The future of Lakeshore Hospital in Irving continues to hang in the balance. Earlier this year, hospital leaders announced the facility would close in early 2014 because of financial troubles, unless a new buyer came forward. As WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, Rep. Tom Reed says intense efforts continue to keep the hospital operating.
"Working together, I am confident we can keep that hospital open and serving the needs of the people of Chautauqua County and beyond," said Reed, who represents the 23rd Congressional District.
Reed told reporters Monday he is "very concerned" about the closure of Lakeshore, but explained that a major effort is underway to keep the hospital operating into the new year. Reed noted there are interested parties, but said he could not elaborate.
"Since they are doing their due diligence and going through the process, I hesitate to comment on anything in detail, in public, but just to reassure the public there are a lot of folks in the position to help and that want to help and that are going through the process to be there at the end of the day," said Reed.
The Lake Shore Health Care Center's operator, the TLC Health Network, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, seeking a $3.7 million loan to restructure. The hospital is about $9 million in debt. Reed said for the short term, some federal assistance could be headed to Lakeshore Hospital.
"Just as late as last week, we are aware that they have been waiting for some FEMA funding from the flooding that occurred in Gowanda," said Reed. "We are already mobilized and working to move through the red tape of Washington, D.C."
Some citizens are urging the public to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to let him know they need the hospital to stay open.
If Lakeshore closes, residents would be forced to seek acute care at Brooks Hospital in nearby Dunkirk or travel to hospitals in Buffalo or over the Pennsylvania border to Erie.