A desperately essential lifeline of health care has been preserved and a creative strategic initiative has become a reality. The Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York stands firm and bold. LERHSNY is the newly formed parent corporation of the TLC Health Network and Brooks Memorial Hospital . We say enthusiastically "well done" and congratulate the architects of the plan. Commendations to the respective former Hospital Boards of both TLC and Brooks. And a very special recognition to two outstanding and highly competent Chief Hospital Administrators Louis J. Frascella from TLC and Richard Ketcham of Brooks. This community owes a deep sense of gratitude to these two key health care architects.

In a subsequent column we wish to highlight Brooks Hospital. But, in this column, we wish to specifically point to several major recent accomplishments of the TLC family of health care providers. They have had the best Accreditation survey results since TLC's inception and have greatly improved the quality of care given in all of the national and regional surveys. There is the new Catt Scan and a new Dual Headed gamma camera now in place. . Also in service is the new endoscopy equipment with ERCP capabilities and cardiac monitoring and IV equipment. There is the newly established acute Geriatric and Hospitalist program, the renovated Emergency Department at Tri-County Hospital and in the PACS system in radiology. The TLC Network was awarded 14 million dollars under HEALNY and applied for 6 million dollars more. They have recruited 10 new physicians including 2 new surgeons and established the "Caring First" recognition program for all hospital employees. Fund raising has been at an all time high and gifts and contributions have been forthcoming from a grateful and supportive public. Quality on all fronts has been the target and providing the best in heath care is the goal. In short, the provisions for excellence in meeting the heath needs of people and the financial future of TLC had been greatly enhanced through prudent strategic planning and efficient administrative management. A special "Thank You" tribute to Mr. Frascella and his entire staff.

The Lake Erie Regional Health System and its newly formed Board of Directors has taken a bold historic step. This collaborative new formed organization will be a distinct benefit to the Hospitals but even more importantly to the communities they serve. Recently, "rightsizing" had been a creative initiative pursued by these local facilities. They were on the right track then and they are now. Many have spoken of the outstanding quality hospital service which has been available and provided by a most competent, dedicated and caring staff. One can document the lives which have been spared and the trauma which has been treated because of the availability of quality facilities and superior services within reach of those they serve.

This structure assures the people that emergency rooms will be continue to be available; outpatients and in-patient services will continue to be provided in some form; laboratory facilities and radiology centers will remain in tact; appropriate and essential therapeutics will be readily available and long term care will continue to be provided. The availability of these services are an essentiality for the people of this area. In short, a dependent, vast, rural and semi-urban population of people is reliant upon the continued viability of these professional services and units.

It is refreshing to know that leadership prevailed and rationality won out. A gapping vacuum would have been left in rural western New York and lives could possibly have been held in the balance. This collaborative organization meets the needs of efficiency without sacrificing the health care of individuals and endangering the welfare of the public.

Again, special commendations are extended to the architects of the plan, particularly to Mr. Frascella and to Mr. Ketcham. As we see it, the overall structure is innovative and sound. This organizational arrangement will allow for optimal use of physical assets and facilities. Cooperative working together will allow for the recruitment of physicians to a stronger and more varied base of health-care services to this enlarged region. And further, there are anticipated advantages organizationally in capital efficiency through participative partnering. But when all is said and done, the bottom line advantage of the plan is.... it maximizes hospital health care accessibility to an enlarged population that would otherwise have serious limited comprehensive available treatment in the area. And , after all, that is the bottom line advantage to men, women and children of all ages from whatever direction. A debt of gratitude is extended to Louis J. Frascella, Richard Ketcham, and to Chairman Craig Brown and members of the newly formed Board of Directors of LERHSNY. That is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.