By Carter B. Horsley
The Mount Sinai Medical
Center is considering taking an interest in St. Vincent's Hospital
in Greenwich Village, according to an article in the March 25,
2010 edition of The New York Times by Anemona Hartocollis.
The article reported that
Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, the president of Mount Sinai attended a
quarterly meeting yesterday of the medical staff of St. Vincent's
and said that "a deal had not been completed and that Mount
Sinai would probably have to resurrect St. Vincent's medical residency
program, which the hospital had been phasing out," adding
that St. Vincent's "existing buildings would either be renovated
from top to bottom or sold off."
The article also noted that
officials asked "residents who have been job-hunting to delay
any moves to other hospitals for two or three weeks, in the hope
that a deal could be completed."
"Some of those involved
in the search for a partner said that despite St. Vincent's financial
problems -- it is $700 million in debt -- the hospital had some
robust programs, like obstetrics, gynecology and orthopedics,
as well as a cancer center, which could make it attractive to
a partner," the article continued.
St. Vincent's had been planning
to expand by selling most of its properties on the east side of
Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th Street to the Rudins, who
planned to develop residential condominiums there, and erect a
new hospital on the site of the Edward & Theresa O'Toole Building
that was originally erected for the National Maritime Union on
the other side of the avenue. The plan met with considerable opposition
from nearby residents and some preservationists.
The article in The Times
also said that "Wednesday, St. Vincent's announced that it
had signed letters of intent to divest operations at two nursing
homes, Bishop Mugavero Center for Geriatric Care and Holy Family
Home, in Brooklyn; and at Pax Christi Hospice." (3/25/10)
According to an article by
Carl Campanile in the January 27, 2010 edition of The New York
Post, "sources" have said that Continuum Health Partners,
which operates Beth Israel, St. Luke's and Roosevelt hospitals
in Manhattan, has submitted a plan to the New York State Department
of Health to "assume control of the financially struggling,
727-bed St. Vincent's" Hospital in Greenwich Village, "the
city's only remaining Catholic hospital."
The article quoted "a
source involved in the discussions" as stating that Continuum
would "close all acute care" units such as surgical
services and inpatient beds within 60 to 90 days. The article
also said that sources maintained that "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," adding that "State Health Commissioner Richard
Daines previously served as CEO of Continuum's St. Luke's Hospital."
The plan would convert St.
Vincent's from a hospital to a community health center. St. Vincent's,
which is 160 years old, occupies the western half of the block
bounded by the Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue and 11th
and 12th Streets, and the eastern side of Seventh Avenue between
12th and 13th Streets, and the triangular block bounded by Greenwich
Avenue, Seventh Avenue and 12th Street.
The proposal would severely
scale back St. Vincent's regional trauma and emergency center,
according to the article, which added that "Continuum would
continue to operate ambulatory care or outpatient treatment services
at St. Vincent's, and possibly expand such services."
The article noted that "he
death of St. Vincent's would leave the lower West Side without
a full-service hospital" and that the plan "was spelled
out in a letter sent by Continuum CEO Stan Brezenoff last week
to St. Vincent's board of directors."
Kevin Finnegan, political director
of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, was quoted in the
article as saying that "It would be outrageous for the state
to even entertain offers to close the only hospital that services
hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who work or live on the West
Side of Manhattan below 59th Street."
The hospital recently received
approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to
proceed with its $1.6 billion modernization plan that included
selling its properties east of Seventh Avenue for $300 million
to the Rudin Company, which plans to redevelop those sites for
residential condominium apartments, and razing the Edward and
Theresa O'Toole Medical Services Building for a new hospital tower
designed by Pei Cobb Freed Architects.
The O'Toole Building is notable
architecturally for its nautical motifs and had been designed
by Albert Ledner for the National Maritime Union in 1964 and the
hospital's decision to demolish it resulted in a major preservation
Six leading preservation organizations
filed a brief as amici curiae with the New York Supreme Court
November 4, 2009 in a case challenging the hardship ruling by
the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission authorizing the planned
demolition of the O'Toole Building.
In announcing its participation
in the "friends of the court" brief, the Municipal Art
Society said "By applying a test much more lenient than the
courts have sanctioned, and inventing a campus-based exception
to the Landmarks Law, the LPC has upset the finely tuned balance
the law strikes between the rights and needs of non-profit property
owners and the values of historic preservation. Even more disturbingly,
the LPC's reasoning opens the door - far more than the Constitution
requires - for non-profit owners of landmarks and buildings within
historic districts to circumvent the requirements of the Landmarks
The new tower was reduced in
the final approval by the landmarks commission about 40 feet in
height to 286 feet and the tallest residential building designed
by the Rudins by FXFowle was also lowered in height.
Volume 22, Number 38 | The
Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 29 - February 4, 2010
Hospital faces takeover; Rebuilding
plans in doubt
By Albert Amateau
St. Vincents Hospital
is on the verge of another bankruptcy, its second in five years,
and its 160-year history as the Villages full-service hospital
appears to be ending, with the hospital facing a possible future
as a community health center with no acute care and limited
emergency room service.
Continuum Health Partners,
the nonprofit group that operates Beth Israel Medical Center and
Roosevelt and St. Lukes hospitals, has proposed to take
over St. Vincents, close its Level 1 trauma center, send
its acute care patients to other hospitals and operate it only
as an expanded outpatient center.
The move, with tacit approval
of the State Department of Health, is an attempt to solve St.
Vincents fiscal problems, including $700 million in debt
and a monthly loss of between $5 million and $10 million, according
to a New York Post article on Tuesday.
St. Vincents worsening
finances put in doubt its proposed $1.6 billion redevelopment
plan with the Rudin Organization to build a state-of-the-art hospital
on the west side of Seventh Ave. at W. 12th St. with residential
development of its current buildings on the east side of the avenue
to help pay for the new hospital.
Rudin said on Tuesday that
the organization remains committed to working with all the
stakeholders in St. Vincents, including elected officials,
the local community and all concerned, to ensure the healthcare
needs of Greenwich Village and the West Side will continue to
Henry Amoroso, St. Vincents
president and C.E.O., said in a statement that state budget cuts
over the last two years and the worst recession in many
decades have combined to present St. Vincents with some
serious financial challenges. Amoroso went on to say that
working with St. Vincents lenders, as well as other
we can emerge as a stronger healthcare
system for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who we treat
The Post article said that
GE Capital and TD Bank, which hold $300 million in St. Vincents
debt between them, support the Continuum plan.
Elected officials, however,
responded with pleas to the State Department of Health and St.
Vincents not to let the full-service hospital close.
In a joint letter, Council
Speaker Christine Quinn, state Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember
Deborah Glick, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and
Congressmember Jerrold Nadler called on State Health Commissioner
Dr. Richard Daines to hold off on approving the move until after
reviewing the impacts on essential healthcare services.
If the state allows [Continuum]
to remove emergency care it would paralyze medical assistance
on the West Side of Manhattan, said Quinn. Every minute
an ambulance has to travel longer to reach a hospital is another
minute with a life in jeopardy.
Assemblymember Richard Gottfried
noted that St. Vincents was the primary admitting hospital
after the World Trade Center attack in 2001.
Stringer said that St. Vincents
serious financial hardship should not be the only criteria for
deciding the hospitals future.
State D.O.H. Commissioner
Richard Dainess connection to Continuum Health Partners
raises serious concerns about potential conflicts of interest
and only amplifies the need for a real public review and transparency
on this proposal, Stringer said.
Daines was chief executive
officer of Continuum from 2002 to 2007, when he was named state
Health commissioner three years ago; a department spokesperson
noted that state law requires a two-year recusal by state officials
from issues involving former employers.
Any implication that
[Daines] has a conflict of interest is wrong, said Claudia
Hutton, the department spokesperson.
The Manhattan borough
president is welcome to join the department in its efforts to
work with St. Vincents to find a solution, particularly
if he can provide the $5 million to $10 million a month needed
to keep St. Vincents operating, said Hutton.
She added, St. Vincents
board of directors and management came to the conclusion that
they are no longer viable as a stand-alone community hospital,
and that they needed to seek a corporate partner, in addition
Continuum issued a statement
that St. Vincents board had requested the proposal as
an alternative to financial liquidation. If St. Vincents
is able to continue to meet its mission on its own, they have
our full support, the Continuum statement said.
Jo Hamilton, chairperson of
Community Board 2, said she was very concerned about the plight
of St. Vincents.
Our priority is to ensure
that our local neighborhoods and all of Downtown Manhattan have
the very best in healthcare services, Hamilton said.
Emma DeVito, director of Village
Care of New York, which operates a nursing home, a senior service
center and a center serving people with H.I.V., said, We
know St. Vincents as a tireless partner in our work to provide
Downtown and West Side residents with the high-quality care and
services that they need.
On April 6, 2010 the board
of St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers voted last night to
close its Greenwich Village facility.
Alfred E. Smith IV, the
chairman of the 160-year-old institution. said that "the
decision to close St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan inpatient services
was made only after the board, management and our advisers exhausted
every possible alternative."
In an Apri. 7, 2010 article
in The New York Times, Sharon Otterman wrote that "Gov.
David A. Paterson said Tuesday he would work with the board and
the Department of Health to preserve some of the hospital's most
important community functions, perhaps by scaling it down to an
urgent care center that could take patients with conditions ranging
from ankle sprains to heart attacks."
"That plan would also
try to maintain some outpatient services, like those that provide
H.I.V. treatment and primary care, but it remains at a conceptual
stage and would require finding a partner, people close to the
process said," the article continued.
"To satisfy its creditors,
the hospital my sell or lease much of its valuable Greenwich Village
real estate, as it drastically reduces its staff of doctors, nurses
and others, to repay its estimated $700 million of debt,"
the article said, adding that "with vastly reduced services,
it would no longer be a Level trauma center, so patients with
high-level emergencies would be routed to full-service hospitals."
Continuum Health Partners
and Mount Sinai Hospital both separately studied potential partnerships
recently with St. Vincent's but withdrew their proposals.
St. Vincent's had been planning
a major expansion that would have replaced most of its buildings
on the east side of Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets
with residential condominiums and replaced its Edward & Theresa
O'Toole Medical Services building, noted for its nautical motifs,
with a major new hospital tower. (4/7/10)
William Rudin of Rudin
Management which has been negotiating with St. Vincent's Hospital
to redevelop part of its Greenwich Village campus into luxury
residential condominiums said that the recent announcement by
the hospital that it would be closing most of its operations does
not spell the end of redevelopment plans there, according to an
article by Paul Rubny yesterday at GlobeSt.Com.
His real estate company and
St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers had agreed in 2007 to build
a larger, inpatient facility on the west side of Seventh Avenue
between 12th and 13th Streets on the site of the Edward &
Theresa O'Toole Medical Services Building and the redevelop many
of its facilities across the avenue between 11th and 12th Streets.
In the article, Mr. Rudin said
that "The Rudins are committed to working with all of the
stakeholders to come up with a viable alternative plan to create
an appropriate healthcare facility and to continue with the development
on the east campus," adding that "We're waiting for
the state to issue their RFP that would outline what they're looking
for in terms of a new healthcare facility for St. Vincent's. When
we all see that, we'll analyze it." The article said that
Mr. Rudin said that it is not certain when the request for proposals
by the state will be issued, but he added that "the plan
for St. Vincent's to sell his company eight of its buildings for
$310 million, four of which would be razed and replaced by an
apartment tower and some low-rise townhouses, was not changing":
"We have Landmarks Preservation Commission approval for our
plan to put up four new buildings. We think that's still viable."
In a statement, the article
continued, the St. Vincent's board says its vote will be followed
by submission of a closure plan to the state Department of Health.
Pursuant to the plan, all St. Vincent's patients will be "discharged
or transferred to nearby non-affiliated hospitals, as appropriate,"
according to the statement.
The expansion plan into a new
curved tower designed by Pei Freed & Cobb met with considerable
controversy from some community activists and some preservationists
who argued that Albert Ledner's former National Maritime Union
Building with its nautical motifs was an important landmark of
its era. (4/8/10)