Volume 79, Number 49 | May 12 - 18, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


St. Vincent’s sheds cancer center; H.I.V. clinic’s fate up in air

By Albert Amateau

St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers has been seeking other homes for its cancer center, hospice and AIDS/H.I.V. clinics since it began shutting down its Greenwich Village hospital last month.

But the future of the AIDS/H.I.V. clinic, which St. Vincent’s pioneered more than 20 years ago — and is currently located in St. Vincent’s O’Toole building at W. 12th St. and Seventh Ave. — is still uncertain.

“We can’t say anything at this time about the H.I.V. clinic,” said Michael Fagan, a St. Vincent’s spokesperson. Nevertheless, St. Vincent’s doctors with H.I.V. patients have been moving to other Manhattan hospitals, especially to New York Downtown Hospital in Lower Manhattan and Mt. Sinai Medical Center on the Upper East Side, according to reports.

However, the St. Vincent’s outpatient cancer center at 325 W. 15th St. in the Port Authority office building will be operated by Beth Israel Medical Center, but will remain in the same location, according to Continuum Health Partners, which operates Beth Israel and the St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Medical Center.

Aptium Oncology, the for-profit company that currently operates the St. Vincent’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, has signed a binding letter of intent with Beth Israel to transfer operations of the cancer center to Beth Israel. The proposed transfer needs approval by the state Department of Health. The 15th St. center currently sees more than 60,000 patient visits per year.

Aptium has been negotiating with potential hospital partners since St. Vincent’s Hospital announced last month that it would close. The N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center also spoke with Aptium about taking over the center.

Beth Israel’s existing multidisciplinary cancer center, located at the Phillips Ambulatory Care Center on Union Square East between E. 14th and E. 15th Sts., is likely to operate simultaneously with the Aptium center. Aptium, which opened in 1996, occupies approximately 88,000 square feet on the ground floor of the Port Authority office building, and will remain there with Beth Israel taking clinical responsibility.

In addition, St. Vincent’s Pax Christi Hospice will transition to Visiting Nurse Service of New York, if the transfer is approved by the state Department of Health and the federal bankruptcy court that has jurisdiction over the St. Vincent’s bankruptcy case. There is a May 14 hearing to secure bankruptcy court approval of the transfer, according to Mark E. Toney, chief restructuring officer of St. Vincent’s.

Pax Christi Hospice was originally operated by Cabrini Medical Center on E. 19th St. until Cabrini closed in March 2008, when St. Vincent’s took on the end-of-life care program. Pax Christi operates an outpatient service throughout the five boroughs for patients who remain at home. The inpatient hospice is currently in St. Vincent’s Hospital’s Coleman Building on Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th Sts. and has 31 beds. If the transfer is approved, Visiting Nurse Service would have to move the patients to another location or eliminate inpatient service.

Toney said last week that St. Vincent’s was also seeking transition partners for St. Vincent’s Westchester hospital and for its nursing and homecare services.

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