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Joint Hospital Board Blasts ECMC

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The state appointed joint hospital board yesterday said The Erie County Medical Center's attempts to block the consolidation plan could cost the region a new cardio-vascular center.

ECMC says it will not be involved with the Western New York Health System board until a written agreement is signed. But Board Chairman Robert Gioia said the board tried to address some of ECMC's concerns by offering a "statement of principals" as an addendum to the original memorandum of understanding.

Gioia said ECMC responded by walking away.

But Tom Quatroche, ECMC Senior Vice President of Marketing and Planning, said they need more than a "statement of principals" to protect the hospital's and the taxpayers'assets. He said they need a binding contract.

But Gioia said they met with state health department officials in Albany Tuesday and have their full support to move forward. In fact, the board is helping the Department of Health draft the legislation that would give the board authority to make decisions for ECMC.

Gioia said officials also urged the board to submit an application for a new state-of-the-art cardio-vascular center as soon as possible. But Gioia said the consultants who who are putting together that study were turned away by ECMC.

Quatroche said they need written assurances before they move forward with business activity, such as the heart study, that could effect the future of services at their facility.

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