GOWANDA AREA HEALTH CARE
A COMMUNMITY AWAITS "A CALL FOR ACTION"

The time has come to begin to turn the page from remedial restoration to constructive transformation. And thus, health care is the focus of our attention.

In the recent past, a community spoke, a response has been heard, and FEMA funding for Tri-County Hospital is in order. This was good news for hundreds of people from areas of Cattaraugus, Erie and Chautauqua Counties. Clearly, there were many champions who spearheaded the cause, including many within the public, the hospital administration and staff, government officials, and the silent but hard working doers and supporters. A petition drive spearheaded by a few, resulted in over 3000 signatures. And there were letters from school children as well. All of this spoke of the resilience of the people and of the local, state and federal officials.

The parallels of the local flood of August 2009 were horrendous for many individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions. Many of these folks and institutions--with the generous help from their neighbors to the north, south, east and west--are still working through the losses and are dealing with the trauma of that devastating event. The scars are felt by many personally, including the local hospital facility on Memorial Drive in Gowanda.

The Gowanda Campus of the TLC Heath Network, known to many as Tri-County Hospital, and the adjoining offices and clinics were forced to be closed immediately following the flood. Within just a few days, temporary local needed medical facilities were established by the Hospital. There is no question; the situation had a dramatic impact on the lives of many individuals of all ages ...from the youngest to the most elderly, from routine health cases to emergency health care.

In retrospect, the tragic result of the catastrophic flood event has resulted in, what one would call a "gargantuan of complexity" for the Hospital, its staff and leadership, and the entire community. The community has had to wait on intervening and interposing deliberations and planning. At the same time, much of the anxiety and frustration felt by a waiting public was surely horrendous for the entire Hospital staff, Administration, Board and health care community. They too, were most cognizant of and felt the pain and frustration experienced by the citizens of the area served by the Tri County Hospital campus. Our hats are off to the entire Hospital personnel.

Nineteen months have passed since that perilous event in August 2009.

And precious time moves on and is of prioritized essence. Today, citizens eagerly and patiently await plans for action with respect to at least four major areas of concern. Hopefully, these concerns can be expeditiously acted upon with some concurrent feasibility, they are:

...the establishment within the Gowanda area of an emergency room facility to cover area health care emergencies;

...the relocation within the area of Gowanda, physician offices and examining rooms;

...construction to begin on the new Tri-County Hospital facility on the new site;

...demolition of the defunct hospital facility on Memorial Dr and the restoration of that site.

Timely attention given to these four critical areas of concern is strategically essential for the physical and emotional health needs of the citizens and the well being of the area. The time has come to begin to turn the page from remedial restoration to constructive transformation.

My sense is that a willing and anxious public is urgently awaiting "the call to be of service" in whatever ways possible. After all, Gowanda and the Tri-County areas of Cattaraugus, Erie, and Chautauqua Counties are comprised of a resolute and resourceful people. When the need is there, so are the helping hands and willing hearts of its citizenry! There are many who await the call to provide collective service for constructive action. To be sure, the folks here are a resilient , responsive, and thoughtful people! And that is how I see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.