WESTFIELD - For Westfield and the surrounding communities, Monday brought some very welcome news.
Westfield Memorial Hospital will remain a full-service facility, hospital officials said.
This means the hospital will continue providing an around-the-clock emergency room department, an inpatient bed unit for medical and surgical patients, an outpatient surgery department, radiology, an orthopedic clinic, an ear, nose and throat clinic, physical therapy, a cardiac rehabilitation program, a sports medicine clinic and a wound clinic.
Westfield Memorial Hospital will remain a full-service hospital with around-the-clock emergency care.
"Because of the community's outstanding support, the New York State Department of Health worked collaboratively with Westfield Memorial Hospital officials to retain full health care services in this region," the release stated.
It's been a long road to finally reach this point. In 2007, the Berger Commission tried to "right-size" the New York State health care system and convert the hospital to an outpatient urgent-care clinic.
Community members, worried about what a loss of services would mean to the region, soon rallied behind the hospital, writing thousands of letters of support to Department of Health officials and politicians, signed petitions and made phone calls in an effort to keep the hospital and emergency department open.
"I think it's probably one of the most positive things that has happened in Westfield in quite a while," said Village of Westfield Mayor Dave Carr. "We're all grateful to the people who made it happen."
Martha Bills, Town of Westfield supervisor, echoed Carr's comments, adding she was very happy to know the hospital would continue to provide needed services to residents.
"It's wonderful," Bills said. "I'm so happy that we are having this service for our community continue and really happy the community rallied and helped to make this happen."
Both Bills and Carr praised the work community members did in supporting their hospital.
"That's how things get done," Carr said of the community's involvement. "That's just another example of community spirit combined with the needs of the community. Everyone got together and got behind the issue and just proves that acting as one, we can take care of things."
Hospital officials also wished to thank state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, Assemblyman Bill Parment, D-North Harmony, the local EMS and law enforcement community and the hospital's physicians and associates for their support.
"This fight has been long and difficult and I am thrilled that we won," Sen. Young said. "The hospital, community and I would not accept the closure of the emergency room because it would severely compromise health and safety. Lives would have been lost.
"This decision is a great victory and I am grateful that the community came together," Sen. Young continued. "The hospital administration and board of directors deserve kudos for their leadership. Our hospital provides wonderful, quality care and I salute everyone for working so hard to ensure that this vital health resource continues."
For local leaders, they couldn't be happier Westfield Memorial Hospital will be staying put.
"I can't imagine Westfield without a hospital," Bills said. "We really need it. I'm thrilled. This is what we really need."