May 28, 2023
BW - Mount VernonCulture & Community

Mt Vernon Hospital – Can It Be Saved Or Is It A Done Deal, Like They Are Telling Us? What’s Really Going On?

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The conversation of the proposed closing of the Mount Vernon Hospital has been full of a plethora of assumptions, misinformation, and political propaganda, to the point most people do not know what or who to believe. Others have no idea just what the heck is going on.

Black Westchester invited one of the members of the Save & Transform Mt. Vernon Hospital Coalition Steering Committee, Rev. Gary Fuller to get to the bottom of what’s really going on and what if anything can the residents of Mount Vernon do to push back again the proposed closing of the hospital and how it will impact the City of Mount Vernon and surrounding communities. Check out the Save & Transform Mt Vernon Hospital discussion on Episode 246 of the People Before Politics Radio Show below.

The Coalition held a people’s town hall meeting, Monday, January 6th at Graham Elementary School to educate, inform and galvanize the community.

Speakers included Rev. Dr. Stephen Pogue – Save & Transform Mt. Vernon Hospital Coalition Steering Committee President, Edward Yoo – New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) Director of Strategic Research, RN Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez – NYS Nurses President & Montefiore Bronx Emergency Room, Mount Vernon City Councilman Marcus A. Griffith, RN Bernetta Urquahrt – Mt. Vernon Hospital Medical-Surgical Floor, and Mayor Shawn Patterson-Howard and Robin Mack (not pictured).

Save & Transform Mt Vernon Hospital Coalition Steering Committee President Rev. Stephen Pogue at Press conference in front of Mt. Vernon Hospital Friday, Jan 10, 2020 [Black Westchester]

Nurses and neighbors gathered in front of Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital on Friday, Jan 10th to protest its anticipated closure.

While officials at Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital say they are planning to close the facility by the end of the year and open a new emergency care facility, community leaders, elected officials, clergy and residents have launched a massive community-driven, grassroots campaign to save Mount Vernon Hospital. The main point they expressed is despite what you heard, The Fight Is Not Over!

The coalition is seeking the intervention from the Governor, to save this hospital which is critical to the health and safety of the Mount Vernon community. Mount Vernon is a city of approximately 70,000 residents residing within 4.2 square miles. It is the 8th largest city and the 2nd most densely populated city in New York State. Mount Vernon is ethnically diverse with 77% of its population being people of color including 65% African-Americans and 12% Hispanic. The city has the highest poverty rate in Westchester County at 17.1% compared to 9.7% countywide. In addition, 7.4% of Mount Vernon households are on public assistance. This is more than twice the percentage of Westchester County and New York State. The number of Mount Vernon students who are eligible for reduced or free lunch is astronomical at 70.8% and the unemployment rate is the highest in Westchester County at 11.7%.

Montefiore said in a statement, “Montefiore remains committed to the health and well-being of the Mount Vernon community. Having already invested $100M, we have committed an additional $41M to build a new state-of-the-art health care center and off-campus emergency department on Sandford Boulevard to provide cutting-edge health care for Mount Vernon residents.”

What they are not telling the residents is this is not a hospital by any stretch of the imagination. Any patients who come to the new facility on Sandford Blvd., who need hospitalization will be transferred elsewhere. This is a frightening idea to both residents and some former patients we spoke to, as time matters and we currently have a hospital in the center of the city, that if properly funded and equipped to provide the services needed can provide proper health care to the entire city of Mount Vernon. 

Montefiore may have already invested $100 million dollars as they claimed but they failed to deliver a state-of-the-art hospital as promised when they partnered with the city of Mount Vernon. They claim no one is using the hospital, but you can not use a facility that doesn’t provide the services needed so in essence, they went into this deal setting Mount Vernon Hospital up to fail from the beginning.

A growing coalition is pushing back to prevent Montefiore’s plans to close the hospital. Protesters at Friday’s presser said they have started a petition that they plan to bring to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Plans also include carpooling up to 400 residents to Albany to let their voices be heard.

For more information, contact the coalition or to sign the online petition go to their website and like and follow their Facebook page.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story.

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