St. Vincent's Runs Out of Time and Money

Historic Village hospital to eliminate acute care

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Greenwich Village institution will cease decades-long operations. Andrew Siff reports.

    In the end, there was no White Knight to save St. Vincent's.

    The Board of the century-old Catholic Hospital, despite vocal support from its Greenwich Village neighbors, voted to stop receiving inpatients within the next two months.

    The board of directors of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers voted Tuesday to close the Greenwich Village institution's acute, rehab and behavioral inpatient services.

    The decision likely means many doctors, nurses and support staff will lose their jobs in the coming weeks. 

    Elected officials had been trying for two months to bail out the floundering facility, but even nine million dollars in emergency loans from the state wasn't enough. 

    "While we are disappointed that we were unable to find a partner for the acute care inpatient services," said Governor David Paterson in a statement, "we should use this as an opportunity to ensure that the health care needs of this community are met by creating an urgent care center combined with other vital health care services the community needs."

    Several sources told NBCNewYork that St. Vincent's will be transitioned to more of a clinic, where people could still come in for emergency treatment, but if they need to be hospitalized, they'd have to be brought somewhere else.

    Said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: "I am disappointed we weren't able to preserve acute care beds. I am optimistic we will be able to have an urgent care center that will meet the needs of the West Side."

    A spokesman for the Mayor said the city's 911 system is well equipped to re-route patients who need hospitalization to other facilities, like St-Luke's Roosevelt on 59th Street.

    But critics have argued the loss of a full-scale hospital in the West Village will leave a populated part of Manhattan under-served.  The facility is the last Catholic-affiliated hospital in New York City.

    New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan released a statement Wednesday on the closing saying, “It is particularly sad that the board of Saint Vincent’s has had to make the painful decision to close its inpatient services.

    "Although the Archdiocese of New York neither owns nor sponsors Saint Vincent’s," said Dolan, "I am well aware of the important role it has played in the care of the City, and the many efforts that have been made to preserve it. I hope that some way can be found that will allow Saint Vincent’s to continue to be a health care provider, even in a different form.”

    Four nuns opened St. Vincent's in 1849 to take in victims of a cholera epidemic. On 9/11, it was the trauma center closest to the World Trade Center treated more than 800 people.