Montefiore Acquires Struggling Competitor

A struggling Bronx hospital has succumbed to bankruptcy. But unlike many of those serving poor communities, Westchester Square Hospital is being acquired by another institution, which will transform it into a different kind of healthcare facility.

The state health panel known as the Berger Commission recommended closing Westchester Square in 2006, but hospital officials and local community leaders fought off the closure in court for years.

On Thursday, Montefiore purchased Westchester Square in a bankruptcy auction for $15.3 million, fighting off a last-minute bid by a group of real estate investors. State health funding will help Montefiore with the takeover.

The medical center said it will keep Westchester Square's emergency room, and retain certain primary care services and medical specialties. But without true hospital beds, the emergency room will only be able to take patients who don't need major operations or overnight stays to be observed.

The move comes as several Brooklyn hospitals that also serve low-income neighborhoods hover around insolvency, including Interfaith, Wyckoff Heights and Brookdale.