St. Vin­cent’s to close; N.Y. seek­ing al­ter­na­tives

Modern Healthcare - - Modern Healthcare - Me­lanie Evans

MAN­HAT­TAN PROJECT / New York to de­velop al­ter­na­tives as St. Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal Man­hat­tan closes.

As St. Vin­cent Catholic Med­i­cal Cen­ters moved to close its strug­gling Man­hat­tan hospi­tal last week, New York state scram­bled to come up with al­ter­na­tives for pa­tients in need of crit­i­cal out­pa­tient care.

New York Gov. David Pater­son, who un­suc­cess­fully lob­bied a half-dozen candidates to take on the fail­ing St. Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal Man­hat­tan, New York, said last week providers had about eight days to ap­ply for grants to cover construction, equip­ment and startup costs to open or ex­pand ur­gent-care ser­vices to meet an­tic­i­pated de­mand once the 440-bed hospi­tal closes.

Mean­while, the hospi­tal’s Catholic owner, which has be­gun to dis­man­tle op­er­a­tions un­der a crip­pling $700 mil­lion debt, said it would trans­fer or dis­charge pa­tients and would di­vert am­bu­lances to al­ter­na­tive emer­gency rooms as of April 9 for all but be­hav­ioral health pa­tients. A rally with hospi­tal work­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers was held April 7 to try to save the hospi­tal.

The de­ci­sion to close St. Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal Man­hat­tan came af­ter of­fi­cials failed to find an­other health sys­tem will­ing to ab­sorb the hospi­tal, which had re­lied on $19 mil­lion in emer­gency loans to re­main open since Fe­bru­ary.

St. Vin­cent’s out­pa­tient can­cer cen­ter and HIV/AIDS clin­ics will not close, the sys­tem said, and of­fi­cials are seek­ing new own­ers for the clin­ics as they pre­pare to close the 160-year-old hospi­tal. Al­ready on the mar­ket are the sys­tem’s nurs­ing homes, home health agency, hospice pro­gram, acute-care be­hav­ioral health cam­pus in Har­ri­son, N.Y., and health plan. Buy­ers have signed let­ters of in­tent for all as­sets but the health plan and one nurs­ing home, a spokesman said.

The sys­tem emerged from bank­ruptcy in 2007 but con­tin­ued to strug­gle as op­er­at­ing losses and debt mounted in 2008, the most re­cent year for which fi­nan­cial fig­ures are avail­able. The sys­tem lost $66 mil­lion on rev­enue of $814 mil­lion for the year that ended in De­cem­ber 2008 com­pared with $34.7 mil­lion off $821.6 mil­lion the prior year.

In Fe­bru­ary, Pater­son an­nounced emer­gency loans from the state and two banks would buy time as the sys­tem scram­bled to find a stronger owner for its strug­gling hospi­tal. Six po­ten­tial part­ners re­jected the deal, in­clud­ing Mount Si­nai Med­i­cal Cen­ter, though the New York hospi­tal said in a writ­ten state­ment: “We have con­cluded that we are not go­ing to pur­sue the ac­qui­si­tion of the in­pa­tient op­er­a­tions of St. Vin­cent Catholic Med­i­cal Cen­ters, but we will con­tinue to con­sider other health­care op­tions for the com­mu­ni­ties served by St. Vin­cent’s.”

Ian Michaels, a spokesman for Mount Si­nai, de­clined to say if the hospi­tal was in talks to ac­quire St. Vin­cent’s out­pa­tient ser­vices.

Gary Wal­lace, a pa­tient, holds a sign at a rally held last week try­ing to stop St. Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal’s clos­ing.

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