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Lakeside Hospital shutting down emergency care

By Trevor Lewis
On February 26, 2013

  • With the closing of Lakeside Hospital’s emergency care services this coming April, the next closest emergency care facility is at Unity Hospital in Greece, which is about a 30-minute drive from campus. Trevor Lewis/NEWS EDITOR

The saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" will soon have a much more significant meaning for not only the college at Brockport campus, but also the town of Brockport.

Lakeside Hospital officials have announced the hospital will be closing its emergency care department April 15. Lakeside officials also said the hospital's inpatient care services would be shutting down a week later, April 22.

Hospital officials made the announcement Thursday, Feb. 14. Acting Chief Executive Officer Jim Cummings cited underuse as the main reason for shutting down the inpatient care services, saying only 30 percent of beds were filled daily. 

The closing of the emergency department is going to be the most problematic issue for the Brockport campus. Located right off Main Street, Lakeside is less than a five-minute drive from campus. 

The emergency care facility at Unity Hospital, located on Long Pond Road in Greece, is now going to be the closest place to go for emergency care needs. 

What does this mean? It means that instead of a five-minute drive, it will now take closer to 30 minutes to get to the nearest emergency room.  In a serious medical emergency, that could mean a world of difference. 

President John R. Halstead is on Unity Health's Board and Quality/Safety Committee, and has also served on the Unity Finance Committee. 

Students on campus are trying to cope with the fact they may not have immediate access to emergency healthcare come April.

"I know a lot of our transports for drug, alcohol and mental health go there, so it's really inconvenient for us," said Damiene Denner, a senior dual major in biology and psychology. "I know we have a really great staff on campus, but there's almost 10,000 students, and there's only so much a small staff can do, so we really need those outside resources. I can't say for sure but I would assume it's going to be pretty difficult for the campus since we do send so many people there."

The news has people wondering exactly what the college is going to do to make sure students will continue to be provided with the emergency care they often need. 

David Mihalyov, executive director of public relations for the College at Brockport, said the closing of Lakeside has presented administration with an unexpected problem.

"It's obviously a concern for us," Mihalyov said. "We have over 8,000 students here on campus, and we want to make sure they have access to the emergency care that they need."

Mihalyov says the administration and health departments at Brockport are working as fast and as hard as they can to find a solution.

"Our focus here, primarily those in the health center, is having lots of conversations with lots of different people to figure out the best situation for the students," Mihalyov said. "I don't think anything has been determined yet, but we have a bit of time before the date in April when Lakeside services will close."

Robert Kehoe, chief of the Brockport campus police, says the news did indeed catch everyone by surprise.

"Obviously it was kind of news to all of us," Kehoe said. "We did have a meeting this past week with some of the people on campus who have an interest in the issue."

Kehoe said it has been great having Lakeside's services for all these years, but unless a solution is reached before it closes in April, people will have to plan accordingly to get emergency health services.

"We've been a little spoiled because of having the luxury of having a hospital five minutes away," Kehoe said. "We're just going to have to adjust the best we can, but it's certainly not going to be as convenient as it was in the past. It doesn't mean people that need medical attention aren't going to get it, it may just be a little farther away."

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