Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has heeded his call to release $805,490 in already approved reimbursements owed to the TLC Health Network from two of the three outstanding Project Worksheets. Schumer said the funds will help keep Lake Shore Health Care Center open until a buyer can be found and make it a more attractive commodity. The TLC Health Network is currently navigating Chapter 11 bankruptcy and struggling to keep Lake Shore up and running, as it quickly draws down on remaining available funds. Schumer has identified three outstanding PWs, where the hospital system has already spent the funds and FEMA has agreed the costs are reimbursable, but that FEMA has yet to reimburse for TLC. Today Schumer secured the release of the majority of the funds for two of those three project worksheets, totaling $805,490 and said FEMA is committed to releasing the remaining soon. The money is currently at the New York State Emergency Management Office and can flow to the TLC Health Network immediately.
"Today's news that FEMA is releasing over $800,000 in reimbursements to TLC is critical to Lake Shore Hospital and should give them more time to keep the hospital running while they search for a long-term buyer," Schumer said. "Lake Shore Hospital provides an essential service for a small community, and I am doing everything I can to help them transition to new ownership, and reestablish stable finances. The FEMA reimbursements are a great first step - and they can be used immediately - but we will hold their feet to the fire to release the remaining funds."
"After a number years FEMA has approved the release of over $800,000 to TLC Health Network - thanks in large part to the intervention of Senator Schumer. These funds will help us meet outstanding obligations and keep the Lakeshore Facility operational as we move through this difficult time. We greatly appreciate the help and support of Senator Schumer and the entire community during this process," said John Galati, interim CEO of TLC Health Network.
"This is fantastic news for Lake Shore, and I salute Senator Schumer's tenacity in getting FEMA to finally release these much-needed funds. All levels of government have been working together to save the hospital, and progress continues to be made. Lives depend on having Lake Shore operating, and we are grateful to Senator Schumer for all he is doing. Hopefully, we will have a positive result in the very near future," said state Sen. Catharine Young.
These worksheets have been pending for over a year, stemming from TLC-owned Tri-County Hospital in Gowanda, and reimbursements can be used immediately to help keep Lake Shore open for longer. Schumer announced that FEMA has approved: the final release of all funds from PW 807, totaling $385,419; and the obligation of most of the remaining funds from PW 1095, totaling $535,140. Subtracting a 12.5% local cost share means that TLC should receive $805,490 from SEMO. The other PW Schumer identified was PW 1126, which requires further information from TLC before it can be released by FEMA.
Schumer said this would be a shot in the arm for the struggling Lake Shore Hospital, since the money can be spent on operating costs right away. Schumer also highlighted Lake Shore's value to the local community, both in the services they provide, and the number they employ; Lake Shore's 460 employees make it one of the largest employers in northern Chautauqua County.
The TLC Health Network, which owns Lake Shore Health Center in Irving, had announced plans to close Lake Shore hospital in October 2013 due to sustained losses. While they anticipated running out of operating funds as recently as January 14th, through the efforts of Senator Young and the entire state delegation, a bridge loan from New York State and other short-term financing was secured to keep the hospital open. The longer Lake Shore remains open, Schumer explained, the greater the chances will be that TLC will reach a deal with potential buyers, who have the finances to keep Lake Shore open longer-term.