Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital is planning to close and rebuild a smaller facility. What remains to be seen is whether the old building will be purchased to build large luxury complexes, which seems to be the pattern in New York. For now… we wait…
Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan Will Close to Rebuild Smaller
“The new building will have about 70 beds with an emergency department several blocks away, officials said. It will also include expanded outpatient facilities at three sites with more than 35 operating and procedure rooms and 16 physician practice locations to be used by over 600 doctors.
The Mount Sinai system, the largest private employer in the city, said in a statement that it would invest $500 million in changing the way it delivered health care and that it was “committed to retraining and placing” as many of its current employees as possible elsewhere in the system. Dr. Davis said every union job had been guaranteed.
While the move may make financial sense for Mount Sinai, given the changing economics of the hospital industry, it is politically delicate, especially for Mayor Bill de Blasio. A central part of his 2013 campaign for mayor was his opposition to the closing of hospitals in the city.
He also excoriated one of his main opponents in the Democratic primary, Christine C. Quinn, then the speaker of the City Council, for not doing more to fight the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan in Greenwich Village in 2010. The 150-year-old institution at 12th Street and Seventh Avenue was subsequently demolished to make way for the development of condominiums.
On Wednesday, Mr. de Blasio suggested in a statement that the city would monitor whether adequate health services would be available in the area amid the shift to a smaller version of Beth Israel.
“While it is good to see that layoffs of unionized staff will be avoided and some important investments made,” he said, “Mount Sinai must work with the community to ensure that the inpatient and emergency care needs of local residents are met.”
Beth Israel has been a part of the fabric of the Lower East Side since its founding in 1889. Its Hebrew name translates as “House of Israel,” and it was initially founded to serve the swelling Jewish immigrant population that had settled in the area. As the surrounding neighborhood changed and grew over the years, the hospital served new waves of immigrants from around the world.
Dr. Davis said in a statement announcing the move that it had been planned for a long time.
“For several years, we have been transforming the Mount Sinai Health System toward a new model of care, where we focus on keeping entire communities healthy and out of the hospital,” he said. “Mount Sinai Downtown is a dramatic next step that will enable us to improve access and increase quality by providing care for residents of downtown Manhattan where they live and work.”
Though the change had been the subject of wide speculation, it nonetheless came as a blow to those who have watched nervously as the city lost hospital after hospital.
Earlier this month, as rumors swirled about the future of Beth Israel and The Villager newspaper reported that it might close, a group of lawmakers, including Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, and several council members, warned of the dangers of such a move.
“Beth Israel has been a constant presence and resource for the entire city, and the East Side of Manhattan in particular,” they wrote. “Any downsizing or closure at Beth Israel threatens to further strain an already overburdened network of health care providers in Manhattan, reduce health care options and curtail services in the immediate neighborhood, and eliminate jobs.””
Beth Israel Hospital Will Close Over the Next Four Years, Officials Say
Updated May 25, 2016 8:37 p.m. ET
Mount Sinai Beth Israel will close its hospital and replace it with a much smaller facility, significantly reducing the number of hospital beds in lower Manhattan.
Mount Sinai Announces Plan to Close Beth Israel Hospital, Open Smaller Hospital Nearby
In a statement, the New York State Nurses Association said, “Preserving and expanding healthcare access and services to all communities served by the Mt. Sinai system should be paramount to any plans that would restructure existing services in the area. It’s essential that all stakeholders from the affected communities, including elected officials, community based organizations, and unions be included in that process to ensure access to care in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Maintaining quality care also means ensuring frontline MDs, RNs and Caregivers continue to provide care to the communities involved in these settings. With Mount Sinai’s pledge to ensure job opportunities for Beth Israel unionized employees, we are working with Mount Sinai administration, 1199, and our membership to ensure that affected frontline healthcare workers remain an active and vibrant part of the system in every way.”