New York Post: Code red looms for St. Vinny's

Thomas K. Duane

January 26, 2010


A rival, powerhouse medical group has proposed taking over and shuttering the 160-year-old St. Vincent's Medical Center in Greenwich Village, which would spell the end of the city's only remaining Catholic hospital, The Post has learned.

Continuum Health Partners -- which operates Beth Israel, St. Luke's and Roosevelt hospitals in Manhattan -- has submitted a plan to assume control of the financially struggling, 727-bed St. Vincent's, sources said.

The new corporate operator would "close all acute care" units -- such as inpatient beds and surgical services -- within 60 to 90 days, according to a source involved in the discussions.

The proposal has real muscle behind it.

Two holders of a combined $300 million St. Vincent's debt -- GE Capital and TD Bank -- support the Continuum takeover with the tacit approval of the state, sources said.

State Health Commissioner Richard Daines previously served as CEO of Continuum's St. Luke's Hospital. Under the plan, St. Vincent's would be converted from a hospital to a community health center with Continuum in charge, sources said.

Patients eventually would be rerouted to other city hospitals for surgical and in-patient care.

The plan also would severely scale back St. Vincent's regional trauma and emergency center.

Under the proposal, Continuum would continue to operate ambulatory care or outpatient treatment services at St. Vincent's, and possibly expand such services.

The proposal was spelled out in a letter sent by Continuum CEO Stan Brezenoff last week to St. Vincent's board of directors.

The death of St. Vincent's would leave the lower West Side without a full-service hospital. The closest facilities would be New York Downtown Hospital, Beth Israel, NYU and Bellevue on the East Side, and Roosevelt Hospital at 10 Avenue and 58th Street.

St. Vincent's also serves special populations. It is one of the state's designated AIDS centers, and has a psychiatric unit with 79 licensed beds.

"St. Vincent's is an outpost of health care on the West Side. There's nothing else near it. I got to make calls to save them," said state Sen. Tom Duane, who represents the area.

"You can't control what kind of emergency treatment people need. Remember what happened on 9/11?" Duane said.

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