Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving is now expected to close Jan. 14, more than two weeks earlier than previously planned, according to a union representing more than 200 TLC employees.
SEIU 1199 said TLC Health Network, which operates the hospital, notified the union of the revised date. It was previously announced the hospital would close Jan. 31. “TLC is moving rapidly to shut down operations with no regard for the welfare of the workers, many of whom have dedicated their lives to providing quality health care to this community,” said Todd Hobler, a union vice president, in a statement. A TLC representative did not return calls to comment on Tuesday. The impending closing of Lake Shore Health Care Center has spurred efforts to find a way to keep the Chautauqua County facility operating, to protect jobs and provide health care services in the immediate area, rather than forcing residents to travel farther for emergency medical care.
In October, the Lake Erie Regional Health System announced its plan to close the Irving facility on Jan. 31, saying the hospital faced a $7 million loss for 2013. So far, efforts to sell Lake Shore Health Care Center have not panned out. A group headed by Anthony Borrello, owner of TPS Petroleum Products, a family-owned business in Silver Creek, made an offer to buy the hospital, but Lake Shore Regional Health System has said offers received to date were insufficient.
Hobler said TLC has said it “will be filing for bankruptcy at any time,” but such a filing had not occurred as of Tuesday. The union has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against TLC, claiming TLC has failed to bargain in good faith over terms of the closing. Such cases typically take an extended period of time to resolve.
Lake Erie Regional Health System was formed in 2008 as a parent organization for TLC Health Network and Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. In October, an independent TLC Health Network board was created to operate the Irving hospital, seen as a way to improve the hospital’s chances of being sold and avert a shutdown. But the power to authorize a sale of the hospital still rests with the Lake Erie Regional Health System’s board.