Can Task Force Revive Imperiled St. Vincent's?

Governor: Taxpayers May Throw More Cash Into "Grim" Situation

By Tim Minton
|  Wednesday, Feb 3, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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Can Task Force Revive  Imperiled St. Vincent's?

Gov. Paterson announcing task force on Wednesday.

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Saying "we don't want to put supplies on a sinking ship," Governor David Paterson nevertheless said he's prepared to toss in millions more to keep St. Vincent's Hospital on life support.

The iconic West Village institution needed $6 million from the State and $2 million more from a key creditor this week just to make its payroll.

The 150 year-old facility is losing almost a million dollars a week and has been criticized by politicians for acting more like a charity than a business.  But those same officials also say the hospital is too essential on the West Side to be allowed to fail.

They're part of a task force established by the governor Wednesday that includes health care unions, hospital executives and a newly appointed "restructuring officer" whose still to be clarified mission is loosely defined as finding ways to make the sinking institution financially solid enough to stay afloat. 

The governor says he's given the task force four weeks to come up with a workable plan. After that, St. Vincent's could well slip into its second bankruptcy. 

In the meantime though, Governor Paterson announced he's willing to pour in more taxpayer cash. "If we can save on the costs that would be inevitable if the institution has to close, then we're willing to do that," the governor said, adding "it's a very grim situation." 

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