Separation gives TLC freedom

IRVING – Freedom from TLC Health Network’s previous parent company, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, may give Lake Shore Health Center more options to remain open.

In a statement released Wednesday, TLC officials expressed positive views on LERHSNY Board of Director’s decision to sever ties.

“It is our understanding that the Board of LERHSNY voted on Monday to withdraw as the active parent of TLC Health Network. The board and administration of TLC are in complete agreement with this decision and consider it a necessary component of ensuring TLC’s growth and emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” the statement said.

TLC Board Chair Timothy Cooper said this decision will help both hospitals take steps toward the future.

“We are pleased with this decision and believe it will assist both organizations as we each go forward with new initiatives to benefit our respective communities,” he said.

The statement continued to outline some of those steps.

“Though the process of separating from LERHSNY will take some time to finalize, this announcement should allow us to take some necessary first steps toward long-term viability. Among our first priorities will be the withdrawal of closure plans, a deeper exploration of interests from other entities that have indicated a desire to partner with TLC, and the ratification of several new TLC Board members who we believe will be instrumental in guiding our future success,” the statement concluded.

Scott Butler, TLC’s divisional director for business development, explained these steps were previously out of the TLC board’s control.

“We have tried to withdraw the closure plans in the past, but LERHSNY, as our corporate parent, overruled our requests to the Department of Health. Now, we will have the authority to make this request ourselves – still pending DOH approval of course,” he explained. “LERHSNY Board also had control over any new partnership agreements or contracts and who was approved to serve on the TLC Board. With this announcement, they will withdraw those reserve powers as well.”

Lake Shore Interim CEO John Galati said this separation will give the two hospitals the ability to address their own priorities.

“This is positive for both our organizations, since we each have various priorities that need our full attention. We will work together for a smooth transition, as this is just one more step in moving forward to assure TLC’s continued success. I personally want to thank the board, medical staff, all managers, employees, staff, volunteers and the community for their continued support and commitment as we move in a new direction for the common good,” he said.

Butler also commended Lake Shore’s staff.

“I have to applaud all of the people at TLC who have been so diligent in continuing to provide quality care and putting our patients first during this challenging time. I would also like to express my sincere confidence in the leadership abilities of TLC’s board, administrative team and managers to guide the organization toward a prosperous future,” he added.

TLC declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2013 and filed a closure plan with the department of health. Closure has been avoided, but no offers for a sale have yet been accepted. TLC’s next bankruptcy hearing is June 23 in Buffalo.