3,500 St. Vincent's Employees Get Pink Slips

Top hospital execs also stepped down

By Mariel Smith
|  Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM EDT
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3,500 St. Vincent's Employees Get Pink Slips

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NEW YORK - APRIL 07: hospital employees walk by St. Vincent's Hospital on April 7, 2010 in New York City. On Tuesday the board of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers voted to close the hospital following its unsuccessful search to find a way out of its estimated $700 million of debt. The Westside hospital, which has served Manhattan for 160 years, may retain some of its services like an urgent care facility. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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The staff of St. Vincent's Hospital received termination notices Monday, just days after word came that the hospital will end its in-patient services because of its financial woes.

State and federal law mandates that employees, including doctors, nurses, and other staff, be given termination notices.

The top management of the hospital also faced the budget ax, The New York Times reported. Henry Amoroso, the hospital's chief executive; Arthur Y. Webb, its chief operating officer; and Bart Metzger, its human resources chief were asked to leave the organization or else be terminated, according to the Times. Amoroso opted to resign while Webb and Metzger "left the organization," St. Vincent's spokesman Michael Fagan told the Times.

As of this weekend, ambulances are no longer sent to St. Vincent's. Walk-in patients will still be treated.

The debt-strapped Greenwich Village institution, which was built in 1849, will close its doors on April 30.  It's hopes of staying open were dashed when it was unable to secure a partner.  The state has also been unable to give a little more than a life-line to the hospital as it deals with $9 billion in debt.

Some staff members at the Greenwich Village institution pointed fingers at the state health commissioner, Dr. Richard. F. Daines, suggesting that he dissuaded Mount Sinai Medical Center from taking over St. Vincent's.  The doctors told the Times that Daines was trying to help his former employer St. Lukes-Roosevelt hospital by reducing its competition. The doctors could offer no support for their accusations.

“Something happened,” Dr. David Kaufman, associate medical director of the St. Vincent's H.I.V. center told the Times. “There was some communication between Mount Sinai and the state, and essentially the deal dropped dead.”

A spokeswoman for Dr. Daines said such accusations were "absolutely untrue."

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