Progress Continues at Record Pace on New Lockport Memorial Hospital
Construction of the new 60,000 square-foot Lockport Memorial Hospital (LMH) is proceeding at a record pace as a result of Catholic Health’s continued collaboration with the New York State Department of Health, local government officials, and its construction partners. Ground was broken in November 2021 for the $62 million facility – the largest investment in Eastern Niagara County in recent years – which is expected to open in September 2023.
This past week, officials at Eastern Niagara Hospital (ENH), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019, announced the hospital would close on June 17. With its state funding expected to run out at that time and difficulty maintaining services due to ongoing staffing shortages, ENH’s Board of Directors and leadership team made the difficult decision to close the facility in advance of LMH’s opening.
“We were hoping Eastern Niagara Hospital could remain open until the new hospital was completed and are extremely disappointed that was not possible,” said Joyce Markiewicz, Executive Vice President & Chief Business Development Officer for Catholic Health. “While we don’t own or operate Eastern Niagara and it was not our decision to close the hospital, we understand the challenges the hospital was facing and recognize how hard its caregivers have worked to care for the community.”
With ENH previously slated to close in 2021 following its bankruptcy filing, Catholic Health saw a pressing need to build a new, sustainable “Neighborhood Hospital” model in Lockport to ensure the 80,000 residents in the surrounding area would continue to have access to high quality emergency care and other needed healthcare services in their own community. Catholic Health also entered into a limited management agreement with ENH to provide support in areas such as information technology, human resources, and purchasing to help hospital leaders maintain services for as long as possible.
“Catholic Health helped to secure a $10 million grant from New York State to prevent the immediate closure of ENH in 2021 and stabilize services while we moved forward without our plans to build a new hospital that would serve the community for generations to come,” Markiewicz explained. “That work is continuing at a record pace, while at the same time we prepare to take over operations of ENH’s Urgent
Care and Ambulatory Surgery Center on Transit Road in June to ensure there is no interruption in those services for the community.”
With the opening of LMH in September, residents throughout Eastern Niagara Country will have a modern, convenient hospital in their community, equipped with the latest medical and information technology to deliver safe, high quality care.
Catholic Health has also been working with labor representatives at SEIU and employees at ENH over the past several months to offer employment opportunities within its system and at the new Lockport Memorial Hospital. “We’ve held several hiring events for staff at Eastern Niagara, and are pleased that nearly 120 individuals have already accepting positions within our health system, including the new Lockport Memorial Hospital,” Markiewicz added. “Those employees who have accepted positions will immediately become Catholic Health associates following the hospital’s closure.”
As previously announced by ENH, Catholic Health hospitals, including Mount St. Mary’s and Kenmore Mercy, along with other providers in Niagara County, will be available to meet the healthcare needs of residents throughout Eastern Niagara County until the new LMH opens.
“Catholic Health is committed to preserving healthcare services in Eastern Niagara County, maintaining good paying jobs for area families, and strengthening the greater Lockport area with the largest invest-ment in the region in many years,” Markiewicz added. “We look forward to caring for the residents of Lockport and all of its surrounding communities for decades to come.”