‘Staffing changes’ coming

The Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, which oversees Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and the TLC Health Network, is refusing to state how many people they are laying off, but did confirm they are making “staffing changes.”

On Tuesday, residents who work at Lake Shore Health Care Center, contacted the OBSERVER, stating they were laid off. Additional residents contacted the OBSERVER Wednesday.

The OBSERVER contacted Scott A. Butler, LERHSNY vice president for marketing and community relations Tuesday, but Butler said he could not speak on the topic directly. He did send an e-mail Tuesday evening which stated that Interim CEO J. Gary Rhodes would be addressing the topic the next day.

On Wednesday, Butler issued the following statement:

“LERHSNY, the parent corporation responsible for governing Brooks Memorial Hospital and the TLC Health Network, was formed in 2008 in response to New York State’s Commission on Health Care Facilities, also known as the Berger Commission. Since 2008, the hospitals have continued to operate independently and have not experienced the efficiencies and cost savings that were expected. At the same time, hospital reimbursements have declined and the cost of providing care to our patients have increased. As a result, the financial positions of both institutions have suffered.

“Today LERHSNY – just like every health care organization – is facing additional challenges as health care reform takes effect and will have to face the reality of:

Increasingly lower government reimbursement;

Insurance companies ratcheting down utilization, forcing efficient care with better outcomes;

Consumer-driven insurance market requiring providers to lower costs

Declining inpatient admissions; increasing observation cases.

“The board of LERHSNY has engaged in a process to combine the resources of our high-quality, but very separate institutions. After a thorough evaluation of services and care provided throughout LERHSNY, the board has identified areas of duplication and opportunities for improved operational efficiency. As such, necessary consolidations will be made and will result in several systemwide changes, including the establishment of staffing levels that match patient volume.

“While a change in workforce is never easy, managing the resources of LERHSNY as effectively as possible ensures we are able to provide the highest level care and treatment now and in the future.

“Thank you for your dedication and continued support.”

No name was on the statement, which Butler said was “our official statement on the matter of staffing changes.” A message left on his phone was not returned.