Post: Health care advocates demand answers about Mount Sinai Beth Israel relocation plan

Dec 13, 2019 – Health care advocates demanded answers about the planned closure and relocation of Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s emergency room in downtown Manhattan, following a Post exposé that revealed “war zone”-like conditions at its Upper East Side emergency room.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel — a nearly 700-bed hospital at 1st Avenue and East 16th Street — is slated to close and relocate two blocks away to a new facility with just 70 inpatient beds and an emergency department.

The proposed replacement of Beth Israel “will create significant changes in the health delivery system in lower Manhattan,” advocates wrote in a letter this week to state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

The new hospital facility is slated to open in 2023 and will share a campus with Mount Sinai’s New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Once the facility is completed, the former hospital building will be sold.

In the letter, the advocates note that Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s own paperwork shows that the new emergency department would accommodate 70,000 visits a year, “far less than the 87,000 visits to the existing [emergency department] last year.”

And their consultant, who reviewed the hospital’s application, suggested that the new emergency room “would actually only accommodate about 40,500 [emergency department] visits a year,” the letter says.

Manhattan elected officials also expressed concerns to The Post on the Mount Sinai Beth Israel plan, which was announced in 2016.

The emergency room at Mount Sinai's Upper East Side
The emergency room at Mount Sinai’s Upper East Side location has been described as a “war zone.”G.N.Miller/NYPost

“I’m worried there won’t be capacity to take in as many people as are necessary,” said Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman. “Clearly the hospitals call this rightsizing, but we in the community look at it as cost-cutting and the impact on patient care is worrisome.”

Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Epstein said he is “deeply concerned” and noted that if the hospital builds the facility to the size and scale that it wants to “we will have a shell of a hospital.”

“They have a physical building in place that would take money to rehab but they’re making an economic decision because they want to. It doesn’t mean it was the right decision,” said Epstein.

The state Health Department is currently conducting a review of the plan, according to Epstein’s office.

“Whenever we receive an application to alter a hospital’s footprint, we carefully examine all of the potential impacts on patient care and community access to services. We have received the letter and are reviewing it,” DOH spokesman Jonah Bruno said.

A rep for Mount Sinai said in a statement: “The suggestion that our new Mount Sinai Beth Israel emergency room can only handle 45,000 visits per year is simply wrong.”

“In fact, the new emergency room will be 30 percent larger than our existing emergency room. We are designing and building a new, state-of-the-art [emergency department], with all private rooms, that we are confident will meet the needs of the community for decades to come.”