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Budget, Education & City Services

CB5 Resolution in Opposition to the Closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2023, the following resolution passed with a vote of 33 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, Beth Israel Hospital was founded in New York City in 1889 and was initially established to serve the immigrant Jewish population; and

WHEREAS, Beth Israel Hospital grew into a major charitable hospital serving patients of all backgrounds and means; and

WHEREAS, For well over 200 years Beth Israel Hospital served the downtown community; and 

WHEREAS, As of  2010, Beth Israel had residency training programs in almost every major field of medicine including Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Urology, Dermatology, Psychology, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Otolaryngology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Radiology, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology,Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Pathology, and Podiatry; and  

WHEREAS, In 2013 the parent company of Beth Israel Medical Center merged with the Mount Sinai Hospital creating Mount Sinai Beth Israel (“MSBI” ) Hospital; and

WHEREAS, MSBI systematically moved or closed the following services from the Beth Israel campus over time including Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Neonatology, Orthopedics including: Back surgery, Join replacement, General orthopedics, Hand surgery, Cardiac Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Weight loss/obesity surgery, Gynecology, Head & Neck Surgery, ENT, GI  (advanced ERCP) while Interventional Radiology was downsized and Psychiatry was moved/downsized; and

WHEREAS, In 2016 Mount Sinai announced the need for significant downsizing in operations that involved reduction and relocation of beds to the New York Eye & Ear Hospital (“NYEE”)  and the creation of a shared campus due to lack of patients and financial concerns; and

WHEREAS, This plan was met with concern and opposition by the community and CB5; and 

WHEREAS, The plan also included a $140 million dollar new wrap around mental health facility (“Rivington House”); and

WHEREAS, While the creation of the Rivington House provides much needed wrap around  psychiatric services, its creation resulted in a net loss of psychiatric beds across the MSBI system; and

WHEREAS, In 2021 MSBI announced that they would not be pursuing the NYEE merger plan; and 

WHEREAS, In June of 2023 in a press release, MS/BI announced it had invested more than $1 billion in its downtown network that includes building a network of 20 outpatient and ambulatory care facilities below 34th; and 

WHEREAS, In October, 2023, MSBI announced a complete closure plan for Beth Israel Hospital citing financial loss of $150 million and lack of patient census; and 

WHEREAS, MSBI claim they took no management action either voluntarily or involuntarily to cause the loss of patient census; and 

WHEREAS, MSBI states that this closure plan does not include NYEE  and they do not have plans for closing the  NYEE hospital despite the creation of an ambulatory eye surgery center on 25th street; and

WHEREAS, MSBI claim that the ambulatory eye surgery center on 25th street will not take any patients away from the NYEE hospital and that the NYEE patient census will not be affected by the 25th street ambulatory center; and 

WHEREAS, MSBI stated that MSBI will merge the license with NYEE along with MSBI Kings Highway; and 

WHEREAS, MSBI has no plans for the sale of land on which MSBI currently sits, and 

WHEREAS, MSBI claim that adequate health coverage for the downtown patient population will be adequately provided for through various ambulatory care centers and uptown hospitals; and 

WHEREAS, MSBI claim that a walk- in emergency service located at Phillips Ambulatory Center at 14th street with limited weekend and evening hours may provide an alternative to the MSBI emergency room; and 

WHEREAS, The closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital poses a significant and detrimental impact on the well-established and vital healthcare services provided to the surrounding community; and

WHEREAS, The local community is in urgent need of an increase in hospital beds, particularly in light of the current mental health crisis gripping New York City necessitating an increased availability of psychiatric beds; and

WHEREAS, There are concerns regarding the reported decrease in patient numbers at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, prompting the community board to request the Department of Health to conduct a thorough audit, or commission an independent audit, to scrutinize the alleged decline in patient numbers and low bed occupancy as well as thoroughly review all documents presented by Mount Sinai justifying the hospital's closure; and

WHEREAS, Ambulatory centers and urgent care facilities, while valuable, are not suitable replacements for 24-hour emergency room services, especially considering that Medicaid may not always be accepted in such centers; and

WHEREAS, The heavy traffic conditions in New York City emphasize the critical importance of keeping Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital open, as swift access to a 24-hour emergency room is vital in cases involving cardiac or stroke patients, where delays in transportation could lead to preventable loss of life; and

WHEREAS, The projected increase in housing, particularly given proposed changes to the City's zoning code in New York City, underscores the logical need for additional hospitals, making the closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital particularly concerning as it would result in a significant gap in medical care for the communities of lower Manhattan and neighboring areas; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, This local community board firmly opposes the closure of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital and urges the Department of Health to conduct a comprehensive audit to assess the veracity of reported falling patient numbers and thoroughly review all documents justifying the hospital's closure; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The importance of 24-hour emergency room services, especially in the context of Medicaid acceptance and the urgency of medical emergencies, be highlighted in any relevant discussions and decisions regarding the future of healthcare services in the community; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, This resolution be communicated to relevant authorities, including the Department of Health, elected officials, and any other pertinent stakeholders, to advocate for the continued operation of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital for the well-being of the community.  

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