Mount Sinai Beth Israel closure plan hits speed bump

The New York Department of Health told New York City-based Mount Sinai that its closure plan for Beth Israel Hospital is incomplete and is asking the system to submit a new, comprehensive plan. 

The April 2 letter noted that "the proposed date of closure may need to be adjusted to reflect this new plan."    

The health system announced its decision to close Beth Israel in September and the following month proposed a July 12 closure date. Mount Sinai has said it made the decision to close the hospital despite "massive investments and upgrades" within the past 10 years. The system said escalating losses and chronic underutilization with inpatient use typically at only 20 percent of capacity forced the issue. 

The health department said in the letter that the closure plan did not provide evidence to support Mount Sinai's claim that the reason for closure was financial losses over the past two years. The department is asking the system for the last three years of audited financial statements for the hospital and the system as a whole to "demonstrate how Beth Israel Hospital is adversely impacting Mount Sinai Health System’s financial stability."

The department also said the closure plan noted that there have been declining volumes at the hospital over the past decade, but a response to a question regarding "the number of patient visits for the previous three years" shows increasing visits. 

Mount Sinai is also being asked to provide additional information on how any declining patient volume at Beth Israel is "impacting revenue and negatively affecting necessary investments in facilities, clinical programs and technology," as stated in the closure plan. 

A Mount Sinai spokesperson told Becker's the system has received the department's letter and it "look[s] forward to working with them in providing the supplemental information they have requested, including updated data on Beth Israel's deteriorating financial circumstances and greater details on all the communications the hospital has had with the community, staff and governmental officials."

"The facts surrounding MSBI are very public and clear: Despite investing hundreds of millions of dollars to support and enhance the hospital in the past decade, MSBI has lost over $1B," the spokesperson said.

"Our goal from day one was to ensure a seamless and safe closure of MSBI for our patients and local community, and that remains the top priority today."
Mount Sinai is also facing a lawsuit led by the Community Coalition to Save Beth Israel Hospital seeking to halt the closure. A hearing date in the case is scheduled for April 10, court records show.

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