Volume 80, Number 45 | April 7 - 13, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Gerson leads group saying it can restore full-service hospital
By Albert Amateau
Former City Council member Alan Gerson and Arthur Schwartz, an attorney and member of Community Board 2, are among a group working to organize a full-service, acute-care hospital and emergency room in Greenwich Village to replace the bankrupt, shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital.
The group, which includes Dudley Gaffin, an attorney long associated with Democratic politics on the West Side, and Dr. Robert Adelman, formerly associated with St. Vincent’s, said on Wednesday that they intend to ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court handling St. Vincent’s for a 90-day extension of a Thurs., April 7, hearing.
The group intends to present an alternative to last month’s proposal by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and Rudin Management for a new Comprehensive Care Center with a free-standing 24/7 emergency department for the O’Toole Building on the west side of Seventh Ave. As part of the North Shore-L.I.J. proposal, Rudin has offered $260 million to buy the old St. Vincent’s campus on the east side of the avenue, the sum to go to St. Vincent’s creditors.
But Gerson said his group has been talking to a major Manhattan teaching hospital and other medical organizations, plus a prominent developer who would offer St. Vincent’s bankruptcy creditors more than Rudin.
The alternative hospital would not be as big as St. Vincent’s was, Gerson said, “But it’s possible to have a scaled-down version of St. Vincent’s. The emergency room would be a trauma center capable of handling any medical emergency brought to the location,” Gerson added.
“It’s not a done deal and I recognize that it will be an uphill effort, but worth fighting for given the stakes involved,” he said. Gerson acknowledged that any investing developer associated with the enterprise would have to offer creditors more than Rudin did.
Peter Kalikow was said to be one possible rival to Rudin, and the National Football League’s Retired Players Association was said to be interested in a role in a full-service hospital that would serve its members. The major teaching hospital interested in the venture was not identified.
Adelman said on Wednesday that the group intended to make its alternative plan public at a news conference at 10:45 a.m. April 7 in front of Bankruptcy Court, 1 Bowling Green, and then ask the court at 11 a.m. for a three-month extension to work on the details.
Gerson said the population of Manhattan’s Lower West Side that St. Vincent’s served is burgeoning, and the neighborhood needs a full-service hospital more than ever. He noted that the Berger Commission, which recommended in 2006 downsizing excess hospital capacity, did not include St. Vincent’s among the hospitals recommended for closing.