Rallying for ‘important facility’

By ELIZABETH

ACCORDINO

As a former longtime employee of Lake Shore Health Care Center, I’d like to share a few thoughts about what is happening to this important facility.

First to the community: The doors are open. The staff is there every day providing services even during these uncertain times. If you need the ER, lab, x-ray or any other medical procedure, support your local health care facility by using it. Let your voices be heard loudly and frequently.

Write to your legislators, to the New York state Department of Health, and anyone else that help save this vital community asset.

Second: Although it is said you can never go back, sometimes, like the Buffalo Sabres just did recently, you need to “go back to the future” to get things right again.

Lake Shore Health Care Center was a thriving, well-respected health care facility not that long ago. Employees were skilled, dedicated, and supportive. It was a big family disagreements and tough challenges at times but a family nonetheless. Board members and staff alike were a part of the local community.

Most people who came to work at Lake Shore stayed for a long time. Like the people who founded the hospital in the ’60s, their primary concern was meeting the health care needs of the communities they served.

In addition to inpatient beds, an ICU, the ER, and a wide range of ancillary services, expansions came as needs changed: skilled nursing for the elderly, the “nursing home without walls,” employer-sponsored child and adult day care; the medical office building, and inpatient mental health. During all this time the board and administration was ever-vigilant about how these programs would be paid for and whether they could be sustained.

Most of this was accomplished without outside consultants and layers of administrative staff. For 12 years I served as director of development and community relations and director of the Lake Shore Hospital Foundation. Administrative staff meetings consisted of six people. We worked hard as did the Board of Directors who held us accountable.

Were there drastic changes in health care? Yes. Did we struggle with cuts to reimbursement? Absolutely. But finances were managed in a way that cut costs while preserving patient care and services.

The Lake Shore “family” supported numerous special events each year. Besides raising money, they helped bring everyone together board members, physicians, employees, and the community. I’m sure a lot of people think those days are gone forever, but sadly for Lake Shore, it seems that the downhill spiral we’ve seen over the past several years resulted from an internal change in perspective and priorities rather than forces beyond control.

Can Lake Shore be saved? I hope so! I hate to think that the dedication, commitment, and hard work of so many people for so many years will be lost. I commend those trying to save Lake Shore and hope the community will support their efforts.

I have the fondest memories of my years at Lake Shore. Friendships with my former co-workers remain strong to this day. Go back to the values and strengths that made Lake Shore successful then and just maybe, it will work again.

Elizabeth Accordino is a Perrysburg resident.