Senator Marty Golden Responds To Recommendation To Close Victory Memorial Hospital

Martin J. Golden

November 28, 2006

Brooklyn- State Senator Marty Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Aging, issued a letter today asking for the State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century to reconsider the recommendation to close Victory Memorial Hospital located in
Brooklyn.  Senator Golden is working with local elected officials, including Congressman Vito Fossella, Assemblyman Matthew Mirones and City Councilman Vincent Gentile, to address the issue and to urge a reconsideration of this recommendation.

The text of the letter is below.


November 28, 2006

David Sandman, Ph.D., Executive Director
Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century
90 Church Street, 13th Floor
New York, New York 10007

Dear Dr. Sandman,

In response to the report and recommendations issued today by the State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, I write to advise you that I will immediately begin working with my colleagues in the State Senate to undertake a very close and thorough review of the information.

An integral part of this review will be a public hearing to be held in Albany this coming Friday, December 1st, by the Senate Health Committee. I will be attendance and in my testimony urge a strong reconsideration of the recommendation to close Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn.

As we look to shape New York’s health care system for the future, we have to remember the human element and our commitment to ensuring access to quality health care. I will not support gratuitous health care cuts that jeopardize access to care and I will fight to keep Victory Memorial
Hospital a functioning acute care hospital. This community’s health depends on the medical capabilities and services offered at Victory Memorial Hospital.

A turn around plan for Victory Memorial Hospital was presented to the Regional Advisory Committee by both Victory Memorial Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. The intent was to strengthen the relationship between the two facilities by utilizing Maimonides Medical Center’s medical
center’s, management services at Victory Memorial Hospital, that will, in turn, lead to a structure in which Maimonides Medical Center controls Victory Memorial Hospital’s governance, operations and other affairs. This will take the form of a sponsorship by Maimonides Medical Center of Victory
Memorial Hospital.

It is the opinion of both facilities that the communities that Victory Memorial Hospital serves must have the availability of a smaller acute care facility in order to meet its’ health care needs. Proper allocation of health care resources would be coordinated with Maimonides Medical Center
in order to effect a seamless network of medical services in southwestern Brooklyn.

The Regional Advisory Committee strongly recommended that the Commission support the position taken by the two facilities. A said recommendation was made to the Commission prior to November 15, 2006. It appears that on November 20, 2006, the day of the Commission’s final vote, the
recommendation forwarded by the Regional Advisory Committee was not included in the final report to be voted upon by both the New York City regional members and the state wide members.

In view of the fact that the occupancy rate of Lutheran Medical Center is over 100%, and the occupancy rate of Maimonides Medical Center is approximately 95%, it is very doubtful that those two facilities will be in a position to serve the acute medical needs of those who would have been
served at Victory Memorial Hospital. It is clear that this decision will substantially increase emergency room waiting times. Therefore, I strongly recommend a reversal of the initial position advocated by the Commission in the report. Anything less than that is a disservice to the people of my
community, of Brooklyn, and all those served by Victory Memorial Hospital.

There is certain to be a strong reaction to the Commission recommendations within my community and across the State. The people in my district share the same sentiment of fear and feel as those their health care needs have been comprised. Through Senator Hannon’s hearing and other forums and discussions, I expect and hope that the enormous amount of public input from health care providers, patients and consumers be considered before any decisions are made.

Thank you.


Martin J. Golden
State Senator