BUFFALO – A Dunkirk hospital has received support from the state that could lead to long-term stability for residents in the North County.
The organizations announced the arrangements Friday after the state awarded a $57 million grant to help with restructuring the smaller hospitals, both of which have struggled financially in recent years.
Brooks Memorial will terminate its affiliation agreement with UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa., to partner with Kaleida Health, while TLC Health Network, the parent of Lake Shore Health Care Center, will make the affiliation official once it emerges from bankruptcy, officials said.
The Brooks board approved the decision to terminate its management and employee lease agreements with UPMC Hamot at a recent meeting. The Kaleida Health board approved the affiliations last month.
Brooks currently is a 65-bed facility, while Lake Shore Health Care is a 25-bed facility. Like other smaller hospitals in more rural areas, they have experienced difficulties as a result of declining and aging populations, problems recruiting physicians, and updating facilities and equipment.
In a statement, State Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean), said that saving Brooks and Lake Shore from closing has been a long and difficult endeavor, one that now has been won.
The grant came from the state’s Essential Healthcare Provider Support Program, which was created to help financially stressed healthcare organizations with debt retirement, capital projects and other reorganization initiatives.
Representatives at the two hospitals and Kaleida Health said they have yet to flesh out in detail how the affiliation will work, but plan to do so now that an agreement has been reached.