Literally a life-line for the poor, at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, etc. four years ago it was forced to close. It was once the flagship of the Sisters of Charity New York as they served the poor. The New York Times reports that “An E.R., Not a Hospital, Is Set to Open at St. Vincent’s Site” (See
an earlier FamVin article “Remember the Sisters“)
“Four years after St. Vincent’s closed, the hulking white building, between West 12th and West 13th Streets, is reopening in the coming days, not as a hospital, but as a free-standing emergency room.
“We’ve given back the community the No. 1 thing we think the community needed the most when St. Vincent’s Hospital closed,” said Dr. Warren B. Licht, the medical affairs director for the new emergency room, which will be run by the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
….St. Vincent’s closed, residents of the West Village and Chelsea have had to go either across town to Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Bellevue Hospital Center or NYU Langone, or up to Mount Sinai Roosevelt on 10th Avenue and 58th Street. (Other than Bellevue, a public hospital, all those are run by the North Shore system’s competitors.)
“Operators of free-standing emergency rooms like the HealthPlex say they fill an important void in areas without full hospitals. But the HealthPlex also appears designed to be an advertisement for the larger North Shore system, and to attract the kind of wealthy West Village residents who avoided St. Vincent’s.
…Ambulances will not bring patients suffering major trauma, head or spinal cord injuries, heart attacks, acute strokes, psychiatric disturbance or pregnancy-related complications, among other maladies, to the HealthPlex. But Dr. Cruzen said that if someone with any of these conditions walked through the door, the doctors at the HealthPlex would do everything that would be done in a hospital-based emergency room to stabilize the person and then transfer the patient by ambulance to the nearest appropriate hospital — in most cases, Mount Sinai Beth Israel and, for trauma patients, Bellevue.
“Those are key differences from urgent care centers, which typically require uninsured patients to pay up front, though not all free-standing emergency rooms in the United States treat all comers. Urgent care centers also are not set up to treat acute conditions like heart attack or stroke. But their prices for treating less serious conditions can be up to 85 percent lower than in emergency rooms, according to the website of the insurance company CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.