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Carter's View

Continuum Health Partners, a consortium of five hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn, has withdrawn its offer to take over St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village and close down most of its emergency room and inpatient services, according to an article by Anemona Hartocollis posted today at nytimes.com.

"Stan Brezenoff, president of Continuum Health Partners, a consortium of five hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said in a letter to Henry J. Amoroso, the president and chief executive of St. Vincent's, that he was withdrawing the offer because of what he said had been a negative reaction to it from both the State Health Department and St. Vincent's own board. The letter was sent Friday but not released until Thursday," the article said.

Continuum's offer had been submitted January 22 and its plan would have moved St. Vincent's inpatients to its hospitals, St. Luke's Roosevelt and Beth Israel.

Many civic organizations and local politicians said they were opposed to the Continuum plan, arguing that Greenwich Village and the West Side of Lower Manhattan should not be without an emergency room and inpatient services and the article said that many of them 'accused Continuum of being more interested in shutting down competition and improving its own finances than in saving neighborhood health care."

"In his letter," the article continued, "Mr. Brezenoff expressed pique that St. Vincent's was considering looking for other offers, believing that this would turn Continuum's offer into a bargaining chip. He made it clear that his offer had been a take-it-or-leave-it one....Mr. Brezenoff declined to comment Thursday, but his swift withdrawal of the offer just seven days after submitting it reflected his reputation as a skilled player of political hardball, skills honed as a former president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a deputy mayor in the Koch administration."

According to the article, his letter said Continuum stands "ready to resume discussions and negotiations at any time if it appears that this would be productive," but, "Continuum did not participate in a meeting Wednesday with Gov. David A. Paterson, Mr. Amoroso, local elected officials, union leaders and hospital creditors to discuss a long-term solution for the hospital's financial problems. The governor said after the meeting that the state had agreed to keep St. Vincent's afloat for at least a month while it looked for partners."

St. Vincent's is $700 million in debt and recently it hired Grant Thornton, a consulting firm, to advise it on a restructuring to return the institution to fiscal solvency.

The institution has been involved in a protracted controversy over its proposed expansion in Greenwich Village and its intention to demolish the Edward and Theresa O'Neill Medical Services Building designed with nautical motifs on the west side of Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets. Its plan finally won approval recently from the Landmarks Preservation Commission after various revisions, but a lawsuit brought by some civic and preservation organizations seeking to block the plan is still outstanding.

There was no indication what the hiring of Grant Thornton implies for the institution's expansion plans that included an agreement with the Rudin organization to redevelop some of its properties as residential condominium apartments.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
Luxury Homes in Midtown | Newly Renovated Studio-2BR Homes View Property
Spacious 1 Bedrooms with outdoor space and in-residence w/d View Property
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