Brockport’s Lakeside Hospital is converting to an outpatient and urgent care facility.
Lakeside Health System is working with state Department of Health officials on a plan to wind down its acute care facilities acting CEO James Cummings said Thursday.
“We plan to close our 61 inpatient beds and our Emergency Department in the near future,” Cummings said. “We believe that this decision will strengthen us financially and better support our community’s physicians.”
Lakeside is working with state Department of Health officials to arrange the conversion of Lakeside Memorial Hospital to an outpatient and urgent care center. The health system hopes to have completed the process by April, Cummings said. Neither the health system’s 120-bed nursing home nor its Spencerport urgent care center would be affected.
The announcement comes some two weeks after Lakeside’s board terminated the one-year contract it had inked last August with interim CEO Hugh Collins several months early. A hospital turnaround consultant the financially challenged health system first hired in April of last year, Collins had until his early departure painted a picture of the health system as gaining ground.
Only in the last two weeks did it become clear the Brockport hospital would not be able to survive as an acute care facility, Lakeside chairwoman Nancy Plews said. Collins had taken steps to bring the hospital’s expenses into line but increasing patient volumes proved to be too tough of a nut to crack.
“Hugh Collins had done what he could do,” Plews said.
Plews largely blames a long declining occupancy rate for the hospital’s medical surgical beds and declines in use of its emergency department for Lakeside’s inability to continue as an acute care hospital.
“The community voted with its feet. Too many people decided that they needed to get more complex care elsewhere,” said David Newman M.D., a Brockport family medicine specialist and Lakeside board member whose office sits some two blocks from Lakeside Memorial Hospital’s West Avenue building.
Like Plews, Newman sees the planned conversion as a necessary consequence of long simmering trends that lie largely outside of the health system’s control.
“I’ve been fighting for 30 years to keep Lakeside open,” Newman said.
A rivalry between Lakeside and the much larger Unity Health system, whose Greece hospital sits some 12 miles from Lakeside, simmered for years. But any hostilities that might once have existed have been laid to rest, Plews said. Unity CEO Warren Hern has been supportive and helpful as Lakeside struggled, she said.
More recently to blame for Lakeside’s ills, Lakeside officials said, are a growing list of treatments that used to require hospitalization but are now done as same-day surgeries, and technological advances that have shaved days off hospital stays for many inpatient treatments. Those factors steadily have eaten away at revenues.
In 2011 and 2012, Lakeside’s red ink ran to $2.5 million and $1.9 million, Cummings said.
The number of patients using the hospital’s services had declined for several years, challenging the hospital’s ability to generate sufficient revenues to maintain Lakeside as a hospital, he said.
On average, some 30 percent of the hospital’s medical-surgical beds are in use. The industry generally sees an 85-90 percent occupancy rate as needed to support necessary capital improvements, and a rate well above 50 percent as minimally adequate to bring in revenues sufficient to maintain a hospital’s physical plant.
Lakeside would maintain its connection with the University of Rochester Medical Center, which supplies outpatient urology and orthopedics services to Lakeside. The Brockport health system anticipates adding URMC neurology services and could make similar support service arrangements with Unity Health System physicians, Cummings said.
Lakeside has yet to submit a certificate of need application to the state Department of Health, laying out the scope and mix of services to be offered. Those details, final staffing decisions and even what name the “new Lakeside” would use are being worked out, he added.
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