Nurses union, community fight to prevent Montefiore from closing New York hospital

A nurses union and other community leaders are fighting to prevent Montefiore Health System from closing its 121-bed Mount Vernon (N.Y.) Hospital, according to Lohud.com.

The New York City-based health system announced plans last October to close the facility and replace it with a $41 million emergency and ambulatory facility. The new facility will not offer inpatient care.

A growing coalition of people have expressed concern that the transition from inpatient care could hurt the community, which has a large population of poor and minority patients. 

Opponents of the transition have accused Montefiore of intentionally not investing in service or facility upgrades because of its challenging patient population. 

"When you starve the hospital, people stop using it," Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of New York State Nurses Association, representing about 80 nurses at the hospital, told Lohud.com. "Now the census is saying it's low in use, and the community feels that was by design; they feel that they have been betrayed by Montefiore."

Montefiore denies those allegations, saying it stepped in to save the hospital from bankruptcy in 2013.

"We spent nearly $10 million the first year alone to subsidize operations and community programs to enhance the quality and experience of care, and we continued to invest for five years despite a decline in usage, Lara Markenson, a Montefiore spokeswoman told Lohud.com. "Despite our efforts, today only one in five Mount Vernon residents choose to seek hospital care at Mount Vernon Hospital."

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