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Commission to Recommend Closing of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle and St. Joseph Hospitals

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The much-anticipated report by the state Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century was released Tuesday morning. The report recommends the closing of Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in Buffalo and Saint Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga.

The Commission also calls for the merger of ECMC with Kaleida Health Systems, and the conversion of DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda into a long-term care and other medical services facility.

Officials at Sheehan Memorial Hospital announced Tuesday morning that it will emerge from bankruptcy. Board Chair June Hoeflich says Sheehan will receive $3.2 million in state funding for its ten-bed detoxification unit and 30-bed substance abuse rehabilitation unit as well as its outpatient healthcare services.

Kaleida Health CEO James Kaskie says the commission is trying to put his system "out of business." He says a "forced merger" with ECMC to solve a county problem is unacceptable.

WBFO News has learned that the Catholic Health System has already filed legal papers challenging the closing of St. Joseph.

Outgoing State Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz is recommending that the Legislature reject the commission's recommendations in their entirety.