Buyout offer could leave thousands of NY patients without access to care

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers may lose close access to critical care if one of the city's largest hospital systems takes over St. Vincent's Hospital, which has been losing $5 million to $10 million a month, according to the state.

The Greenwich Village hospital, seared in the minds of many Americans as the closest facility to the World Trade Center where many injured were taken during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, would be converted to an outpatient facility by Continuum Health Partners, which has said that it would retain the hospital's current HIV and psychiatric services. Currently, St. Vincent's treats a large number of poor and uninsured patients, as well as other West Side residents. Those patients likely would have to go to Bellevue Hospital Center across town, or a variety of other hospitals located further away if St. Vincent's closed its doors to ambulance calls.

Continuum--which would gain tens of thousands of patients if the deal goes through--would take on the hospital's debt, said to be around $700 million. The decision to sell ultimately sits with the St. Vincent's board; West Side politicians already have come out strongly against the idea of St. Vincent's not having acute-care services.

Henry J. Amoroso, the president and chief executive of St. Vincent's, said the hospital's board was still trying to find "the best solution to allow St. Vincent's to remain an acute-care hospital."

To learn more:
- read this New York Times article