St. Vincent's Renovation Plans Need Urgent Care

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    A "Closed" sign is seen at St. Vincent's Hospital after the hospital closed April 30, 2010 in New York City.

    Four months after St. Vincent's medical closed its doors, the deal to re-open it as an urgent care clinic is in unstable condition.

    And New York's City Council Speaker blames Governor Paterson -- and his Health Commissioner, Richard Daines.

    "I really don't understand how the Governor and DOH let things get to the point where they are now where local officials have to step in to make sure promises are kept," Council Speaker Christine Quinn told NBCNewYork.

    In a letter to Daines, Quinn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler expressed concern that the closure of St. Vincent's will be remembered for generations as "a dark moment for our city, a moment when we failed in our basic duty to provide medical care to all New Yorkers." Read the letter.

    The Health Department fired back: "Christine Quinn doesn't know what she's talking about. The State Health Department has been in constant contact with all the stakeholders," said spokeswoman Diane Mathis.

    Later, a spokesman for the Council Speaker rebutted the state's account:

    "Chris Quinn and all the people of Manhattan's West Side who were promised an Urgent Care Center by Labor Day know that seeing is believing," said Jamie McShane, Quinn's Communications Director. "There is zero evidence that the promised facility is in the works as the State Department of Health has been asleep at the switch."

    "Chris Quinn fully understands the bankruptcy court's role in this process," McShane continued, "We take exception to the notion that the State has been driving all parties to an agreement that could have been delivered to bankruptcy court in time for a Labor Day opening. Labor Day was the promise that was made to the people of Greenwich Village. Now Labor Day is upon us and we're nowhere near an agreement that could have been brought to bankruptcy court for approval."

    The back and forth erupted after a deal to bring North Shore-LIJ/Lenox Hill in to run the Greenwich Village facility as a walk-in urgent-care clinic.

    North Shore-LIJ says St. Vincent's has refused to let them move in to start renovations.

    "We need 6 to 8 weeks to renovate space that would be used for the urgent care center, but unfortunately, we are unable to begin work until we have an approved lease," said North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam. "To date, we have been unable to reach agreement on the terms of the lease with the "restructuring officers" representing St. Vincent's in bankruptcy proceedings."

    But the Catholic-run hospital disputed that.

    "Saint Vincent’s is not reneging on any deal," said St. Vincent's spokeswoman Brenda Adrian. "North Shore LIJ has delayed that process by its unwillingness to negotiate for months."

    The new urgent care center was supposed to open by Labor Day. Now, it's delayed indefinitely. Next stop: bankruptcy court.

    Until then, retired nurse Mary Phillips, who worked at St. Vincent's for 34 years, called the situation "a stab in the heart."