BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Councilmember Carlina Rivera will join hospital union members and local residents at a rally to save Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital on Thurs., Dec. 14, at 11 a.m., at 17th Street and First Ave., one block north of the hospital’s entrance.
Only in the past few weeks have local politicians and the wider community learned of Mount Sinai’s plan to close the historic hospital abruptly within the next seven months, by July 12. However, hospital staff say, their understanding is the critical full-service health hub, for all intents and purposes, will be taken offline by February or March, with just its emergency room and “med surge” then run by a “skeleton crew” for the final months.
For its part, Mount Sinai says the Gramercy-area hospital has been operating at a loss for years and is on track to lose $150 million this year alone and is simply unsustainable. The health system instead is focused on creating what it calls “centers of excellence” at its other hospital locations Uptown.
But critics, including Greenwich Village District Leader Arthur Schwartz, charge that Mount Sinai has been doing an illegal hospital shutdown because it has already been relocating Beth Israel departments to its other hospital sites without first getting state Department of Health approval.
At a recent public forum on the closure plan, Schwartz, who is an activist attorney, declared that by jumping the gun, Mount Sinai has left itself open to a lawsuit.
Rivera told The Village Sun the rally is being held this week because there is no time to waste after Mount Sinai recently suddenly went public with its accelerated shutdown plan.
Indeed, local politicians say they were left totally out of the loop the past two years as Mount Sinai officials tried to work with state D.O.H. on a way to save Beth Israel, such as by designating it a “safety-net hospital,” which would make it eligible for higher Medicaid reimbursements.