Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Two City Hospitals Give Up Fight Against Closure

ALBANY — Two Manhattan hospitals targeted for closure by a special state commission are signaling that they have given up the fight to remain open, according to a source in the Spitzer administration.

Cabrini Medical Center in Gramercy Park and St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital, formerly St. Clare's Hospital, have indicated their intention to apply for millions of dollars in state and federal grants that are conditioned on compliance with the directives handed down by Governor Pataki's Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century.

Through a state program funded in part by the federal government, the Health Department is offering $550 million to 81 hospitals and nursing homes that have been forced to close, downsize, or undergo a major conversion. The money is intended to reimburse the institutions for the costs of complying with the commission's directives.

A spokeswoman for St. Vincent's Midtown, Marlene Bloom, said the hospital tried in vain to convince the Spitzer administration that it should stay open and would soon submit an application for the grants. "We have no choice but to be in compliance with the Berger commission," she said, referring to the commission's chairman, Stephen Berger.

A spokeswoman for Cabrini said the hospital has not applied for the grants and would not comment on whether it plans to do so.

Like many of the cash-strapped institutions that were ordered to close or accept drastic changes by the commission, the two hospitals initially responded with protest, arguing that they provided a critical service in their community and were capable of turning around their finances.


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