Officials emphasize the need for quality health care for the West Side.

Greenwich Village, NY – Speaker Christine C. Quinn joined 1199 SEIU Healthcare workers, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Thomas K. Duane, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Comptroller John Liu, Council Member Margaret Chin and community leaders at a rally today at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center.

Officials at the rally called on New York State Department of Health not not to approve any St. Vincent’s closure plans until there’s an appropriate urgent health care option for the West Side and Lower Manhattan. The group also called for the creation of a model for the future of the delivery of healthcare services. The SVCMC board on Tuesday announced the imminent closure of their inpatient services.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn said, “For 160 years, St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center has been an anchor in the Village. Today we must forge a sustainable model that will last another 160 years. We remain hopeful that a significant institution will replace the lost acute care beds with a new urgent care center. This model and urgent care center would also provide twenty-three hour urgent care beds as well as preventive specialty, diagnostic and imaging care. I stand with my colleagues today to call on the state not to approve any St. Vincent’s closure plans until there’s an appropriate urgent health care option for the West Side and Lower Manhattan. We will continue to work with community and labor leaders, state and local elected officials to meet the emergency health care needs of Manhattan’s West Side.”

“I am extremely disappointed that at this point, there does not seem to be a workable deal on the table for St. Vincent’s hospital,” said U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Over the coming days, the stakeholders—including the hospital board, management, lenders, labor unions and elected representatives—will continue to strategize next steps to try to save much-needed health care services for the West Side of Manhattan. As this process moves forward, I will continue to investigate all potential federal options for assistance, and I seriously hope that we can still find a solution that will retain an acute-care hospital facility for downtown Westsiders.”

“While last night’s decision by the Board of Directors of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center to close the hospital’s inpatient units was deeply disappointing, I have not given up the fight,” said State Senator Thomas K. Duane. “I will continue to work collaboratively with all stakeholders, including City, State and Federal officials, as well as the hospital board, management and labor, to guarantee that the health care needs of our neighborhoods are met. I will continue to fight for the preservation of a 24-hour emergency room, widely available and culturally sensitive community-based primary care, and the specialty services that have been at the core of St. Vincent’s commitment to our Lower West Side neighborhoods and our city as a whole.”

“The tragic closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital is a deep loss for the community, and its absence will present severe challenges to the social safety net of New York City’s most vulnerable residents,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “We should use the lessons from this experience to create a model for sustainable health care services for the residents of the West Side. As this nation transitions to a more sensible, preventive-based health care system, this emergency should act as a catalyst toward smarter policy and suitable replacement facilities.”

“St. Vincent’s has been part of the fabric of the Village for more than a hundred years,” said Comptroller John Liu. “From the closures in Queens last year that caused a strain on surrounding emergency rooms and services of nearby hospitals, we know we must ensure the City has properly planned for such an influx of emergency calls. Demand for EMS services is rising throughout Manhattan, placing a greater strain on existing capacity and performance and increasing the need for St. Vincent’s serve as an urgent care facility.”

“Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center is a crucial part of our health care infrastructure, serving as the sole provider for many important health care services for the local community,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “We still can preserve St. Vincent’s as an institution that meets the health care needs of the community. We still have the opportunity to provide state of the art care in an area that is dependent on the services that St. Vincent’s provides. The State must not let St. Vincent’s shut down without exhausting all avenues to preserving the crucial health care services it provides the community; the State must ensure that we use the opportunity to create a new model for outpatient and urgent care services.”

“Fighting to keep St. Vincent’s open was never about dollars and cents,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. “Whether we were talking about treatment for HIV/AIDS or emergency care, this fight was about making sure we put the health and well being of New Yorkers before bottom-lines. Clearly, this is not the outcome that any of us had hoped for when we started working on the taskforce just a few months ago. But I hope that this worst case scenario will lead to the creation of an urgent care facility in a part of Manhattan that would be deserted without it.”

“While we regret that acute care services will no longer be provided, we are optimistic that St. Vincent’s will continue to provide most vital services through the creation of an urgent care facility that can meet virtually all the medical needs of the community including emergency services, ambulatory surgery, diagnostics, imaging and both specialty and primary care clinical services,” said 1199 SEIU Political Director Kevin Finnegan. “We believe that we now have an opportunity to forge a new model for the future of the delivery of healthcare services. Moving towards this new model while maintaining current services is the most realistic way of preserving quality care for the West Side and Lower Manhattan communities.”