Medina inpatient psych unit on track to close

December 18, 2013 Updated Dec 18, 2013 at 12:48 AM EDT

By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First

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Medina inpatient psych unit on track to close

December 18, 2013 Updated Dec 18, 2013 at 12:48 AM EDT

Medina inpatient psych unit on track to close

Closing date set for Dec. 31st

Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First

Orleans Community Health has received the next approval necessary to shut down its inpatient psychiatric unit at Medina Memorial Hospital by Dec. 31.

The application was approved Dec. 13 by the Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council within the state Office of Mental Health. The closure also must be approved by the commissioner of OMH.

Dolores Horvath, CEO, said the unit will continue to take new admissions until the last week of the month, after which the hospital will work with other providers to find placements when necessary for individuals in the region requiring inpatient care.

A spokesman from OMH said the hospital is expected to work cooperatively with local providers, government and OMH staff in identifying alternative services as well as informing and assisting the community in accessing services. Horvath said that's already happening.

"We have transfer agreements in place," she said. "The response has been very collaborative."

Citing low patient volumes and high expenses, the hospital announced in November it planned to shut down the seven-bed unit. Preliminary approvals have also been issued by the state Department of Health.

The Orleans Community Health System, parent of Medina Memorial, operates on revenue of about $35 million, providing inpatient care, outpatient services, home health care as well as skilled nursing through a hospital-based residential health care unit.

Horvath came on board this summer and worked with the board of directors to assess all hospital operations. The inpatient unit was among those that performed the worst. Eliminating the unit will have an almost immediate positive impact on the bottom line, she said.

Some employees from the inpatient unit have found positions elsewhere in the hospital, while others have pursued jobs outside the system, Horvath said. She acknowledged that not everyone is happy with the closure decision, but it was the best thing financially for the overall hospital.

"There are people who are not happy with the decision," Horvath said, adding it was made because of the very difficult financial circumstances at the hospital.

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