Panel Hears Testimony Against Proposed E.R.

A state health panel got an earful Thursday from Greenwich Village residents trying to block what would be the state’s first free-standing emergency room from coming to their neighborhood on the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital. 

 

An official with North Shore LIJ told a committee of the state Health Department's Public Health and Health Planning Council, the advisory panel that licenses healthcare facilities, that even without inpatient hospital beds, the facility will be able to treat most emergencies.

A dozen activists testified, and many more watched, the contentious — but inconclusive — hearing. They lambasted North Shore for seeking to build a less-than-full-service hospital.

It’s not clear how sympathetic Council members were — though they did ask North Shore to explain how it will transport seriously injured patients to other Manhattan hospitals — before another meeting next month.

North Shore is the biggest and, perhaps, most profitable hospital network in the state; it’s also arguably the best connected one. Michael Dowling, its CEO and president, chaired the state Health Department’s Medicaid overhaul committee and was a top official in the administration of former Gov. Mario Cumo. Jeffrey Kraut, North Shore's senior vice president for strategy, is vice-chair of the powerful Planning Council — though a spokesman said he would have to recuse himself from voting on the North Shore application.