GRAMERCY — Mount Sinai Beth Israel has yet to break its silence regarding rumors of a possible closure ever since news of the hospital's potential shutdown broke last week — and elected officials are getting anxious.
In a letter signed by eight city, state and congressional representatives Tuesday, they implored Kenneth L. Davis, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System, to formally announce any plans for closure so that the community can begin to prepare.
If the rumors of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center's closure are true, it would put a strain on the capacity of other Manhattan hospitals and leave a growing population with inadequate access to care, the politicians said.
"In light of the growing population of our borough, we must carefully consider whether Manhattan would have enough hospital beds if we were to lose the beds at Beth Israel," they wrote in the May 17 letter.
Manhattan hospitals are already overburdened thanks to recent downsizing, the politicians said, including the loss of all 400 beds at Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center when it closed in 2010 and the downsizing of Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
The closure of Saint Vincent’s in 2010 correlated with a sharp rise in emergency room visits at Bellevue Hospital from 8,000 to 10,000, according to a report in the Daily News. And even with Beth Israel in place, patients at Manhattan emergency rooms already face wait times double the national and state averages, according to data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Representatives of Beth Israel have been tight-lipped since last Friday, when The Villager quoted three anonymous nurses who said the hospital is on the verge of closing completely.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said in a statement that Beth Israel was looking to “enhance existing services and develop new facilities in the Beth Israel community,” but declined to elaborate and dodged questions about the possibility of the hospital closing or significantly downsizing.
In their letter, the elected officials implored Beth Israel to come clean about whatever plans they have for the hospital’s future and put a stop to the uncertainty facing its employees and the surrounding community.
“Rumors should not drive the conversation here,” they wrote. “It is critical that we and our constituents have clarity on this situation.”
Mount Sinai Beth Israel declined to comment.