LOCKPORT, N.Y. — After cutting jobs and under-utilized programs last year, many questions remain about the future of Eastern Niagara Hospital.
In a year that saw it cut services, jobs, and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Eastern Niagara Hospital held a community forum in Lockport Tuesday taking questions ahead of time through email.
"We've had to make some very difficult, heart-wrenching decisions, but they were done based on detailed analysis, and really done to help us right the ship, so to speak," said Ann Briody Petock, chair of the ENH Board of Directors.
At the beginning of 2019, Eastern Niagara Hospital had seven locations. Today, there are three.
“How confident are you that you'll be able to retain all the employees that you have now?" Asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"I'm pretty confident," said hospital President and CEO Anne McCaffrey. "We're working really hard towards the changes to make us a sustainable hospital, and we're working hard every day to get there, so I think we've got a solid plan in front of us and working hard to achieve that."
McCaffrey left her job as Lockport's mayor to become the hospital's CEO in 2018.
"When you took on this role, did you know that you would have your work cut out for you like this?" Asked Dudzik.
"I didn't know that it would be quite like this, but we have a really incredibly resilient community, and it's a privilege to run the hospital and make sure that we're doing the best we can for this community," said McCaffrey.
She says the question she got the most was - are they building a new emergency room? Tuesday, she announced there is one coming. You're probably wondering how a hospital with financial issues can afford a multimillion-dollar ER. The answer – grants. The grants will come from the state and community foundations.
“Our emergency department is outdated, and it's really critical for us to have private treatment rooms where people can get served quickly and treated quickly, and that we have more space to treat more people," says McCaffrey.
The groundbreaking will likely happen this spring.