Mount Sinai Beth Israel announces its closure after serving community for more than a century
Mount Sinai Beth Israel recently announced it will be closing after serving the community for more than a century. Assembly Member Harvey Epstein says Lower Manhattan is running out of health care options.
“There aren’t a lot of health care services down here, further up north you can go, but Bellevue’s already overcrowded, it’s a great public hospital, but especially for people who need Medicaid, public benefits, this is a good option for them,” Epstein said.
Beth Israel was the best option for Dr. Sharon Mclennon-Wier when she needed knee surgery back in 2008. McLennon-Wier is blind.
“My doctor was affiliated with this hospital, I understand the layout of this hospital and for many people with disabilities, especially for those who are blind or visually impaired, it’s important to have that navigational map in your head,” McLennon-Wier said.
Almost one million people in New York City are living with a disability, McLennon-Wier says veering from their usual health care routine can be disruptive.
“When we have these hospitals closing that also hurts us as a population because we now have a new place to go to, our level of transportation time is increased and also we may not be able to travel if that specialized doctor is far away from our destination,” she added. Epstein says 20 hospitals have closed in New York City in the past 25 years and resources are dwindling. Beth Israel first announced it would be closing in 2017, but it withdrew its plans to close the facility once COVID hit.
“If you take services out and you close the cardiac unit and you end up closing the facility you’re gonna lose money because it costs money to run the building,” Epstein said. “The way to do this is invest in this building, to bring services back and to make this a fully functional hospital.”
Mount Sinai Beth Israel told News 12 in a statement: “Despite massive investments and upgrades, in the past ten years MSBI has sustained losses in excess of $1B. Mount Sinai Health System has done everything in its power to support MSBI. Nevertheless, losses have escalated and MSBI is on track to lose an additional $150M this year...we must take immediate steps to preserve our ability to continue providing healthcare services to the greater New York City community.”
It also said it plans to stay downtown, although no concrete plans have been announced.
McLennon-Wier says the closure will not only affect people with disabilities.
“If you look at what’s happened over the last six or seven years, it’s all about consolidation. A lot of hospitals are being closed, doctors are no longer able to have their private practices, doctors are joining hospitals in order to survive,” McLennon-Wier said. “It becomes a...health care monopoly when you don’t have an ability to choose or have options because a lot of these places are being closed.”
Assembly Member Epstein says the public's voice matters. He says those against the hospital closing can reach out to Mount Sinai directly or contact his office at 212-979-9696.