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Carter's View

An article by Albert Amateau in this week's edition of The Villager reports that "last week representatives from Caritas Christi Health Care, a Massachusetts group considering a rescue of St. Vincent's, toured the hospital's Greenwich Village campus at Seventh Ave. and W. 12th St."

"On Tuesday," the article continued, "a St. Vincent's spokesperson said, 'We are currently in talks with numerous potential partners and look forward to working with all stakeholders to determine what will be the best overall partnership - allowing us to both financially restructure to regain our fiscal stability and continue providing quality healthcare to the West Side of Manhattan. However, we have to respect the confidentiality of these discussions.'"

The article indicated that Local 1199 of the United Healthcare Workers Union, which represents about 1,500 of the 3,500 employees at St. Vincent's Hospital, were voting "on whether to agree to a 10 percent pay cut for 120 days in order to help the hospital survive during the next four months." "'All stakeholders in St. Vincent's are doing their part and making sacrifices to keep St. Vincent's open,' said Kevin Finnegan, 1199 political director."

In addition to asking employees in various categories to accept temporary pay cuts ranging from 10 to 25 percent to stave off the hospital's closing, St. Vincent's on Fri., Feb. 12, began laying off 300 more employees. In December, it laid off 180 staff members and the article indicated that hospital executives have taken a 25 percent cut in pay.

St. Vincent's has been seeking a partner to help it survive a financial crisis that includes a monthly loss of between $5 million and $10 million and a total debt of $700 million, the article said, noting that last month, Continuum Health Partners, which operates Roosevelt and St. Luke's hospitals on W. 59th and W. 114th Sts., respectively, on the West Side and Beth Israel Hospital on E. 16th St. on the East Side, offered to take over St. Vincent's but its proposal would have eliminated St. Vincent's acute care, surgical and Level 1 trauma center and emergency room functions, and operated the hospital as a community health service for ambulatory patients. The Continuum proposal was widely criticized by some elected officials and many community activists and subsequently it withdrew its offer.

Meanwhile Governor Paterson announced loans of $6 million and $3 million to the hospital since the beginning of the month, and GE Financial, which holds $300 million in St. Vincent's debt with TD Bank, advanced a $2 million loan, but Mr. Amateau's article noted that "the Bloomberg administration and the federal government so far have not made any commitments to the hospital."

The article did not address the status of the hospital's major expansion plans that involving the demolition of the Edward and Theresa O'Toole Medical Services Building on the west side of Seventh Avenue and the redevelopment of many of the hospital's properties on the east side of the avenue by the Rudin Organization as residential condominiums. Those plans appear to be in limbo.
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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.