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Daily News: St. Vincent's Hospital ER could survive as takeover talks still on the table

 

BY Samuel Goldsmith

Its board of directors may have pulled the plug on St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan - but the emergency room still has a pulse.

At least two health care companies - Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners, which operates Beth Israel - are still in talks to take over the emergency department and crucial community clinics.

"There are still health care facilities interested," an insider told the Daily News. "That part of the hospital is not dead yet, but it's not out of the woods, either."

The St. Vincent's board voted Tuesday to close the debt-plagued hospital's inpatient services. Acute rehab, behavioral and mental health and other services are set to end this month.

Both Continuum and Mount Sinai had earlier bids to take over the entire hospital, but pulled out to avoid taking on the hospital's $700 million debt.

"They knew they weren't done with St. Vincent's when they withdrew their first proposals," a source said. "They wanted a better deal and they were willing wait for it."

Both companies declined to comment on a potential takeover yesterday.

St. Vincent's is the last Catholic health center left in the city and the only hospital in the Greenwich Village area.

Local politicians rallied with community members outside it Wednesday to demand - at the very least - the emergency room stay open.

"If St. Vincent's wasn't here, my daughter would not be alive," said Miquel Acevado, standing next to his 10-year-old girl, Kaitlyn, who stopped breathing when she was a baby and was rushed to the emergency room.

"St. Vincent's saved my daughter's life. Seconds make the difference in life or death situations," he said.

"There is money left on the table in Albany, and we're going to use that money to keep care in our community," said State Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan).

"It's critically important that we do everything in our power to ensure there's no dropoff in service in the West Village," said Brian Conway of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

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Publication date: 
Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 00:00