Among them was Dr. David Kaufman, who served as an attending physician at St. Vs for over 30 years and as director of HIV clinical research. He reminded the assembled crowd that 340 inpatient beds, 22 operating rooms in full-time use, 23 clinics, 18 mental health sites and dozens homeless shelters and outreach programs can’t be shut down in under a month without any fallout. And that’s not even counting the over 60,000 emergency visits that the hospital’s ER logged annually. Dr. Kaufman’s rhetorical question to the powers that be was, “Where have all the patients gone?”
I didn’t feel encouraged after reading an excellent cover story in this week’s New York magazine, St. Vincent’s is the Lehman Brothers of Hospitals, in which writer Mark Levine placed St. Vincent’s closure amid a larger picture of New York hospitals as an outmoded economic model. The high cost of doing business in New York City, shrinking Medicaid and Medicare dollars, powerful private insurers who bully smaller hospitals into low reimbursement rates, and on and on...suffice it to say the story paints a depressing picture.