The proposed closing of Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving by January 2014 has many people in the Southtowns wondering what will happen to them in an emergency.
“I want to know if the village is going to do anything about the closing of the Lake Shore hospital,” Jean Galfo said at the Angola Village Board meeting Monday. “Do you know that 40 percent of the clientele at that hospital come from the surrounding areas? What will we do if they close?”
The Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, which was formed in 2008 through the merger of Brooks Memorial Hospital and TLC Health Network (including Lake Shore Health Care Center), held a special board of directors meeting Oct. 15 and decided that with a projected loss of an additional $7 million at Lake Shore by the end of the year, they would close the facility by next January. The Lake Erie Health System Network claims it has continued to lose money at Lake Shore for years.
According to Angola Fire Chief Chuck Carlson, if the hospital is closed, this could have serious ramifications for residents.
“Right now we can take someone to get excellent emergency care at Lake Shore in 10 minutes or less,” Carlson said. “If they close that facility down, the closest hospitals will be South Buffalo, Springville and Dunkirk, all at least 25 minutes, if not more, away. This could be a critical difference.”
“We need to get the state politicians to help us keep the hospital open,” Trustee William Houston said. “The state has a vested interest in this hospital too.”
The board agreed to send letters of support to keep the hospital open and would speak to State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, at its meeting at the end of the month, as well as contacting Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.
In other news, the board learned that Angola will host its first “Got Pills?” drug drop-off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Village Hall, 41 Commercial St. Anyone can drop off unwanted prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as well as syringes, inhalers, patches, liquids, ointments, etc.
“This is the first time we have been involved in this countywide program,” Evans Police Chief Ernest Masullo said. “We had to work things out logistically with the Halloween Parade, which will kick off at 3 p.m. that day, but we got it all worked out.”
According to Masullo, people can drive up to the Village Hall parking lot, drop off the drugs in a bucket, and no questions will be asked.