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Kaleida makes more cuts at DeGraff Hospital

Kaleida Health
DeGraff's Wellness Center on Tremont Avenue is slated to remain open.

DeGraff Hospital in North Tonawanda has made more cuts. Inpatient care has been moved to Millard Fillmore Suburban in Amherst, forcing around 50 workers to other Kaleida Health facilities.

DeGraff has been shrinking for years. Two years ago, the 105-year-old hospital stopped doing surgery and closed its Intensive Care Unit. CWA 1168 says infusion, radiology, CT scan, mammography, EKG, Echo and Pharmacy are among the services closing at the hospital.

DeGraff's emergency department has expanded, with major new facilities slated to open Nov. 15. Besides the ER, some other facilities will remain, including DeGraff's Wellness Center.

Under union contract, the workers have transfer rights to other Kaleida operations, like Millard Suburban. CWA leaders are meeting Tuesday and issued the following statement to its membership:

"Administration clearly indicated the decisions are financially driven due to allegations of decreased reimbursements of $30 million from state and federal agencies.Administration would not specify what the positive expected financial impact of all the cuts and changes will be. We are saddened that services that are central to providing quality care to the community at large will be interrupted in this fashion." 

Across the Barge Canal, City of Tonawanda Mayor Rick Davis says it's another hit for the Twin Cities.

"It's been an institution. I was born there in 1973, when they still deivered babies. It has been an institution in the Twin Cities for a very long time," Davis said. "For me, Kenmore Mercy is probably closer to my house than DeGraff, but for a lot of our residents, DeGraff is closer for them than Kenmore Mercy is and some of our older residents have been going to DeGraff for decades."

More importantly, he said it is a hit for the people that work at DeGraff and call the city home.

"The upkeep of their homes, pumping money into our local tax base, it's going to be bad hit for us, as well as North Tonawanda," Davis said.

For many residents in the Twin Cities area, the nearest hospital will be Kenmore Mercy Hospital, which is operated by Kaleida rival Catholic Health.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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