Statement of Senator Thomas K. Duane RE: St. Vincent's Hospital

Thomas K. Duane

January 28, 2010

Senator Duane delivers remarks at a town hall meeting regarding St. Vincent's Hospital at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in the West Village on January 28th.

"As I told hundreds of stakeholders who turned out on January 28 for SEIU 1199’s St. Vincent’s Community Town Hall Meeting, we need St. Vincent’s Hospital.  We need a full-service hospital and health care facility in this neighborhood and on the lower West Side of Manhattan.  We need the care that St. Vincent’s provides for the people that no one else wants to treat.

In the days since it became public that the hospital was in dire financial straits, and in the weeks and months leading up to that, I have been pulling every lever and pushing every button, including having frequent discussions with the hospital and its lenders as well as New York State Health Commissioner Daines and Governor Paterson himself, to keep St. Vincent’s as the facility that this city needs it to be. 

Very recently, Governor Paterson provided St. Vincent’s two interest-free loans totaling $9 million, matched by $5 million in loans from the hospital’s creditors, in order to keep the hospital open while it seeks to develop a viable plan for its future.  Governor Paterson also asked me and other elected officials to work with the hospital’s management and creditors, as well as executives from various health unions and industry organizations, to provide oversight and guidance to St. Vincent’s newly-hired crisis restructuring organization as it seeks a solution in the next four to six weeks to keep St. Vincent’s solvent.  I have been and will continue to do everything in my power to keep this hospital intact.

Let me be clear: St. Vincent’s crisis restructuring organization has a difficult task and a small window of time in which to work.  They are negotiating with all of St. Vincent’s lenders with the goal of maintaining an acute-care facility.  However, sacrifices are going to be required from all  stakeholders if we are to save our hospital – and the mission of this hospital is simply too important to do otherwise.

St. Vincent’s is our community’s most important health care resource and I will continue to stand with my fellow elected officials and the entire St. Vincent’s community as we, together, work to save the biggest and the best medical home in New York State."