The First Sunday article "Saving Children's Hospital" was an excellent analysis of all the varying issues associated with this critically important decision. While I am identified by some as an outright opponent of the move, I would like to clarify my position.
I have stated that Kaleida should meet all the requirements it has said it will meet and answer several remaining questions regarding the financing, medical necessity and economic impact of the move. I have also stated that I believe it will be nearly impossible to answer all of the questions and allay all of the fears, but I will not close the door on that possibility.
My chief concern, and it is a concern of many doctors, is that care will suffer. I am not a doctor, but I am a parent. When a group of doctors lays out all of the potential problems associated with moving Children's, it will take more than the assurances of "health care professionals" to gain my support. A real commitment must be made, not just for the first few months or few years of a new hospital, but forever. Down the road, as the health care industry faces continuing strains, the pressures to cut services will be extraordinary and facilitated by the expedience of consolidation.
Promises and handshakes are all well and good, and I have no doubt of their genuineness, but what happens when those who have made promises to this community are gone?
As a legislator in a state with a ballooning debt and a struggling economy, my second concern is the cost of the project. The fact that there have been no financial plans published by those supporting the move makes me believe that the funding has not yet been identified. Obviously the discussion can hardly go forward until we know who is paying for what and how much they are paying.
Finally, as a resident of the Elmwood village area, I will insist on a viable reuse, either for the facility or the land, that injects the same level of economic development that Children's offers.
A recent study I had commissioned stated very plainly that one-third of the businesses in the vicinity of Children's would close should it be moved. There must be a plan to address this issue, and neighbors, the local business community and government leaders must buy into this plan and agree to aggressively implement it.
Assemblyman, 144th District