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An independent board has been created to operate Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, a step described as giving the Chautauqua County hospital a better chance of being sold and averting a shutdown.

Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York said Thursday that it will create a separate TLC Health Network Board to operate the hospital.

The new, three-member board can make financial decisions and run the hospital with its own CEO and chief financial officer. But it would not have the power to approve a sale – that authority still rests with Lake Shore Regional Health System’s board.

Creating the independent TLC board also separates the operations of Lake Shore and its affiliated clinics from Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk.

The administrative change “allows Brooks to operate without the liabilities Lake Shore brought to the system,” the health system board’s chairman, Christopher Lanski, said in a statement.

Lanski added that separating the two hospitals’ operations allows the health system to “maintain the strength of Brooks during this transition, retaining the Dunkirk-Fredonia community’s faith, as well as patient and physician loyalty.”

Lake Erie Regional Health System was formed in 2008 as a parent organization for Brooks Memorial and TLC Health Network.

The Irving hospital is facing a $7 million loss this year. In mid-October, Lake Erie Regional Health System announced plans to close the facility Jan. 31. That has spurred efforts to keep the facility open, with the prospect of losing 460 jobs and residents traveling farther for emergency medical care.

A group headed by Anthony Borrello, owner of TPS Petroleum Products, a family-owned business in Silver Creek, has made an offer to buy the hospital. But the Lake Erie Regional Health System this week said offers that it has received so far have been insufficient and that efforts to find a buyer continue.

The health system says there is interest in the Irving hospital from operators of long-term care and home health services.

While it has been reported that Borrello’s group has offered to buy the hospital for $11 million to $15 million, documents obtained by The Buffalo News specify that the offer was for $11 million.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com