I am delighted by the vigor of your collective efforts to save Beth Israel. It is what we should have done when they were closing St. Vincent’s Hospital. The pages of WestView are open to you.
— George Capsis
I am insulted by your statement, “…what we should have done when they were closing St. Vincent’s Hospital.” We fought hard and long. How can you be ignorant of the many, many people involved, the court cases, the replies to the Certificate of Need (the NYS Department of Health application for which approval is required to operate a medical facility or program), the many protests and rallies that led to people being jailed overnight, the volumes of petitions delivered to public hearings, and our press conference with Norman Siegel, the civil rights attorney?
What you could affirmatively state is that our elected officials were loudly with us in the fight, and then, suddenly, nowhere to be seen. They disappeared without the decency of a public explanation. But the people continued to fight.
I predict that the same thing will occur with Beth Israel. The silent meetings with elected officials and the proposed community assessment will again contain the bullshit of corporate propaganda. The health care providers who should be educating the public about the bottom line danger of hospital closings are not being recognized and have no public forum. The community will not be heard or listened to (already demonstrated by “public” hearings containing repetitive PowerPoint presentations). Furthermore, many medical services have already been eliminated at Beth Israel. My West Side community is unaware of this for the most part.
Finally, there never was consideration of the overall growing community needs of Lower Manhattan, including the West Side previously served by St. Vincent’s Hospital, or the importance of easily accessing health care programs for various community groups in need, by car and public transportation.
The St. Vincent’s Hospital political deal was made and settled in Albany with the real estate gang and the greedy officials who oversee our health care system to their own ends. That happened before the community could really understand how to fight back against even its own Community Board.
Tell me, what has changed? The City still allows land dedicated for the public good to be transferred to private entities. Money and slogans are what work, not caring for constituent needs. As for transparency, the NYS Department of Health refuses to maintain a website that is useful and accessible to the public. That says a great deal about the entire system to me.
What has changed is that there is now more traffic and more people—more children; more isolated, poor, elderly residents; and so many more tourists and homeless people—all in our community. All of these people need access to reliable medical services.
35 years of service within the St. Vincent’s Hospital Community Medicine Department