Local officials in southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, as well as the Seneca Nation, are grappling with the effects of closing Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving. In announcing the decision, TLC Health Network said rising losses at the acute care hospital is the reason.
TLC said it is dealing with a $7 million deficit this year. At the end of the month, Lake Shore will close leaving up to 141 full-time and 60 part-time workers without jobs, while other elements of the health network will stay open. TLC said it will try to place those workers in one of its surviving operations.
State Sen. George Borrello lives not far from the hospital. The former Chautauqua County Executive said the facility has been in trouble for a while.
"A lot of this has to do with reimbursement that continues to decline. I know that they have talked about trying to increase them, but the burdens are still there," Borrello said. "There's a tremendous amount of red tape and regulation that makes it more and more difficult for anybody in health care, including full-service hospitals, to survive in New York State. So, once again, these are self-inflicted wounds and something like the closing of Lake Shore Hospital is another example."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked about the closing during a visit to Buffalo Tuesday.
"I don't know the facility and their specific finances," he said, "but if they were losing money on a constant basis and they were just not economically sustainable, then that is a problem."
The Seneca Nation said the closing means health care on its rural Cattaraugus Territory will be even more difficult, because Senecas will have to travel farther.