Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Advocate
Richard Blassberg

The River Towns Need Community Hospital

It’s difficult to remember the last time Greenburgh Supervisor, Paul Feiner and Yonkers City Government agreed on anything. Think back to the long protracted battle that waged for years over the construction of an access road from Jackson Avenue to the site of Stew Leonard, Costco, and Home Depot. Naturally, when both Feiner and the Yonkers City Council came out strongly, last week, in favor of preserving Community Hospital in
Dobbs Ferry, most people took note.

The State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the Twenty-First Century Report is essentially a callous bottom-line driven, inaccurate and incomplete assessment of the necessity for the continuation of various healthcare facilities throughout the state. The report does not adequately deal with the reality that many lives of individuals in Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Irvington, and parts of Greenburgh, would be placed in greater
jeopardy, following accidental or medical emergencies, or trauma, if Community Hospital were to be forced to close its doors after 113 years.

Victims and patients needing emergency attention would have to be transported to Saint John’s, in Yonkers, Phelps, in Sleepy Hollow, or White Plains Hospital. Precious minutes, perhaps 15 to 20, on average, would be
added to transportation time, significantly impacting survival rates in serious incidents. Additionally, the shutting down of clinic and outpatient services offered daily at Community Hospital would cause a huge overdemand
for services in those surrounding hospitals, not to mention the hardship and inconvenience to seniors and the infirm.

Hopefully, our new Governor, Eliot Spitzer will have the compassion and the good sense to realize, that while duplication and inefficiency are serious problems in healthcare provision, as in any industry, some allowances
must be made for the powerful negative impact rash economies may have upon the quality and longevity of life. Sometimes that which seems most efficient and economical is not necessarily the best option. Over the
years municipalities have closed any number of hospitals and schools, only to reopen them as circumstances changed or it was realized that needs were miscalculated.

We understand that since acquiring Community Hospital, Saint John’s Hospital has turned operations around to the point where the Dobbs Ferry operation now yields substantial profit and has been subsidizing the parent
hospital’s services to their most financially needy patients. Given that relationship and the obvious mutual benefit to individuals in each, as well as the surrounding communities, Westchester residents, particularly those in
the River Towns, must make their voices heard by their State Assemblypersons, and Senators. State Governent must be made to understand that we will not stand idly by, but will fight to save Community Hospital.

Supervisor Paul Feiner Speaks Out For Dobbs Ferry Community Hospital

Residents of the River Villages must work hard to save our health care facilities. Two major health care centers in Hastings and Dobbs Ferry are in danger of being closed. Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry and Andrus Retirement Nursing Home in Hastings could be forced out of business if a state commission charged with reorganizing NY’s health care system gets its way.

The Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry has served our community since 1893 when the first hospital at Dobbs Ferry was built. This hospital has provided outstanding personalized care to many residents of the River Villages. This hospital is loved by many patients – because of the individualized attention received. Unlike larger medical centers – patients are treated like family and neighbors by the staff and medical professionals. The hospital provides patients with high quality care.

The Greenburgh Police Department has used the hospital. In 1997 we expanded our area’s emergency ambulance program. A police office who is a trained paramedic is brought to the scene of every serious emergency ambulance call. Many patients who live in the River Villages are brought to the Community Hospital
at Dobbs Ferry. Countless lives have been saved as a result of the outstanding medical attention given to the patients.

The State Panel is also recommending that Andrus on Hudson close down their nursing home and convert the nursing home into an independent living center. The nursing home provides important medical services to the frail elderly and meets an important community need.

If these two important medical centers are forced to close the quality of medical care in our community will be impacted. I have advised the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry and Andrus of my interest in working with them on an aggressive lobbying initiative to reverse the recommendations of the state panel.

It’s my hope that the entire Westchester delegation to the NY State Legislature will work hard to save the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry and Andrus on Hudson Nursing home.


City Council Passes Resolution to Save Dobbs Ferry Hospital

Unanimous Vote to Support St. Johns and Dobbs Ferry Hospitals

Yonkers, New York: November 29, 2006 – In response to a report by the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century that recommended closing Community Hospital in Dobbs Ferry, the Yonkers City Council unanimously passed a resolution last night supporting the saving of Dobbs Ferry Hospital from closure.

Prior to adopting the resolution, Jim Foy, president of the Riverside Health Care system, addressed the Council on how cuts to Dobbs Ferry Hospital would adversely affect St. John’s Hospital.

City Council President Lesnick, whose wife, Dr. Beth Schorr-Lesnick, is an attending gastroenterologist on staff at both Dobbs Ferry and St John’s-Riverside Hospitals said, “the closure of Dobbs Ferry Hospital would not only diminish the health and safety of the residents of the Villages, but with 1000 monthly visits diverted from the Dobbs Ferry emergency room to the St. John’s emergency room, this would lead to untenable delays.”

Councilmember Dennis Robertson, a co-sponsor of the bill with Lesnick, said “St. John’s Hospital paid for and rescued Dobbs Ferry Hospital from previous mismanagement and inefficiency and now turns a profit whereby it is able to subsidize the health care provided to the neediest of Yonkers residents.”

The Council resolution calls upon the Governor and both houses of the state legislature to reject the report in December. If that does not occur within 30 days the Council intends to take further action.

To see the Commission’s full report, go to http://www.nyhealthcarecommission.org/final_report.htm.

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