Major changes are coming soon for health care in the Greater Rochester Area. Lakeside Health System in Brockport is closing its emergency department and inpatient hospital. Low volume and revenue are reasons for the closures.
Since 1932, those in the far western portions of Monroe County and residents in eastern Orleans county have counted on Lakeside Health System for emergency services and hospital care. Hospital administrators announced a plan to end those services by spring.
"I'm really shocked by this. I just don't know what to say. This is a terrible thing. I just hope some way can be found to keep the hospital open," said Bob Nowatchik, Hamlin.
Money is the main reason for the closings. The hospital only serves an average of 22 patients per week in the 61-bed facility.
Administrators say maintaining the hospital, emergency department and 24 hour imaging and laboratory services have contributed to significant losses over the last few years.
"You're talking about millions, I would say. Twenty million, I guess. When you're talking about all four of those services, easily that number," said Jim Cummings, Lakeside Interim CEO.
Hospital leaders believe closing the emergency department and inpatient facility will help stabilize Lakeside financially, allowing it to meet the community's long term health care needs.
The plan is to transform Lakeside into an outpatient diagnostic and treatment center. That would include an urgent care facility, ambulatory surgical center, an outpatient pharmacy and imaging services. They would be provided through an affiliation with the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"How does closing the ER benefit the community? In obvious ways, it does not. The big way it benefits the community is financially. The cost of medical care when you look at the entire community, not just Brockport, not just eastern Orleans County, you have to look at the cost of the system," said Dr. David Newman, Lakeside Board Member.
Administrators say maintaining the cost of the ER and hospital alone were just too much for the system.
Business owners in the village of Brockport believe the closing will have an affect on the local economy.
"We send a lot of flowers over there, we have a cooler over there and a lot of our customers are from there, so it will definitely impact us," said Don Short, florist.
If the New York State Department of Health accepts Lakeside's transformational business plan, the hospital and emergency department could close it's doors within two months.