Lakeside Hospital may keep emergency department open

Posted at: 02/28/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 11:27 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Some encouraging news from Lakeside Health System CEO. The hospital near Brockport may keep it's emergency department open after all.

Two weeks ago, CEO Jim Cummings told the community the hospital would be transitioning into a urgent care facility with no emergency department. On Thursday, Cummings told a standing room only crowd in Brockport that he will ask the state for permission to keep the emergency department open.

On Thursday, Lakeside CEO Jim Cummings laid out the plan for the hospital as best he could. The hospital is in talks with New York State so some things have not been finalized. But Cummings had a frank discussion with the community about the direction of the hospital and what it will need to do to keep the doors open.

Cummings said, “What I do find comforting living in this community is we will have an emergency room.”

It's perhaps the first bit of good news coming out of Lakeside Health System in weeks. If the state approves, the hospital will keep it's emergency department open. Over the last 4 weeks, Cummings says the staff has looked at all of the options except one.

Cummings said, “When we first began on this journey, we didn't know an emergency dept was possible without an inpatient hospital. That's historically how the state has regulated things.”

Changes in state regulations will now allow a hospital to downsize, and still keep the emergency department open as long as it has a few in-patient beds to support the emergency department. This means essentially Lakeside would stay open, but with about 56 fewer hospital beds.

Cummings said, “So you can't be admitted to Lakeside from your doctors office, but they will let you keep a few beds open to support your emergency dept.”

But despite this good news, some members of the community still don't like what's happening.

Jeff Lipson, Holley resident, said, “How's that fair to the community? We’ve supported the hospital. You've been around for many years, now your closing it on us and its sad, it's disturbing. it's quite frankly disgusting.”

Jeff Lipson says thanks to an exam at Lakeside his cancer was discovered at an early stage, something he fears wouldn't have happened in a bigger, busier hospital.

Carol Tallie agrees. She worries about her son who is developmentally disabled and chronically ill.

Carol Tallie, Brockport resident, said, “I have a real worry as to what is going to happen if were to have to be transported to another. What's important to him is the consistency and the compassion of the staff.”

Cummings says he understands but the reality he says is even a hospital is a business.

Cummings said, “I live in this community. I have the same situation as you if I need to be admitted to the hospital. It'll have to be other than Lakeside. I don't know how you keep any business open where's there’s not enough business to keep it open.”

Lakeside would keep its patient retail pharmacy open. People would be able to get xrays and CT scans. There would be limited lab service. It would keep the Biekirch Care Center open and the emergency department would state open.