I am writing this letter in response to the recent articles that have been published regarding the current status of Brooks Memorial Hospital.
As a lifelong Dunkirk resident and former employee of the hospital, I would like to voice my support of the hospital workers and my concern with recent actions of the current administration.
It is my recollection that many of the recent changes at Brooks were the result of a New York state task force that was charged to find efficiencies in the current health care system; that resulted in the merger of some facilities, the loss of specific services in other locations, and the closure of still others.
The concept was that these changes would result in less costly services while maintaining the range of services (regionally) that we had come to expect in western New York.
What I have noted, as an outsider to the system, is that the results that were promised are not coming to fruition. Some health care services that were available locally in the recent past now require travel to Buffalo or Erie, and our once profitable local hospital is now losing millions of dollars annually.
Rather than blaming the current long-term employees of the facility for “demanding” a modest raise and wanting to retain their well-deserved paid time off, I would suggest that the current administration look at all of the factors that have led to the current situation.
Reimbursement rates and changes in the ways that health care is doing business may be contributing factors, but it seems unlikely that the sharp turnaround in operating results happened, by coincidence, when the administrative changes of recent years occurred.
Perhaps some credence should be given to the anonymous letter dropped off by a hospital employee (who fears repercussions), that speaks of long-term employees being fired without merit and new administrators, who don’t know this community, walking the halls of our local hospital.
Let’s not assume that our hospital employees are being “unreasonable” and “irresponsible” until we know the whole story.
It seems like the current administration – as well as the New York state task force – have contributed to, if not caused, the current situation.
Katie Knaak is a Dunkirk resident.