4 hospitals with uncertain futures

While hospital and health system cuts and closures continue popping up in 2024, particularly across the maternity services side of healthcare, the closure status for certain hospitals remains in limbo, leaving many healthcare workers, patients, and community members searching for answers.

Here are four hospital closures that remain up in the air:

1. Plans to significantly downsize or even close University Hospital at Downstate in New York City's Brooklyn borough were shared in late January, due to challenges including a deteriorating hospital building, an operating deficit of around $100 million and low patient volumes. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul then directed the hospital to develop a transformational plan to help solidify its future and avoid closure. 

The plan, which involves the transfer of Downstate inpatient care to other hospitals in Brooklyn and could also result in workforce reduction, has been met with criticism from local leaders and community members. Ms. Hochul's 30-day amendments in late February allotted up to $300 million as part of the transformation plan, along with an additional $100 million to cover its deficit in the first year of the transition.

2. Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System shared plans in late January to close two hospitals — Eau Claire, Wis.-based Sacred Heart Hospital and Chippewa Falls-based St Joseph's Hospital — along with multiple regional health centers it operates with Green Bay, Wis.-based Prevea Health. St. Joseph's Hospital is expected to close March 22, which is earlier than originally planned. Sacred Heart Hospital is expected to close on or before April 21, with the health centers closing on or before June 30. 

The hospital and health center planned closures have sparked care access concern in the area, with multiple health organizations stepping up to provide care. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers also approved a $15 million crisis response bill aimed at helping provide care in the affected areas. Most recently, a Wisconsin judge denied a request to delay the HSHS hospital closures.

3. In September, New York City-based Mount Sinai Health shared plans to shutter its Beth Israel campus on July 12, citing years of debate and analysis over closing the hospital combined with the possibility of opening a smaller facility in the future. The decision was followed by a cease and desist order from the New York State Department of Health ordering Beth Israel to not close its beds and services without department approval. 

A lawsuit was then filed by a group of community members who claimed Mount Sinai deliberately moved services and staff from Beth Israel and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary to sell its real estate and assets. A New York judge also temporarily blocked the health system from closing the hospital until arguments can be held in court. Since then, the hospital has shuttered its stroke and cardiac services, citing staffing shortages brought on by the hospital closure announcement.

If or when any of these four hospitals should close, it remains unclear what will become of the hospital facilities or campuses. 

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