Montefiore Hospital, who has been buying hospitals all over the state of New York, announced in a press release that it would be closing the Mount Vernon Hospital.
Montefiore Health System (MHS) is one of the nation’s largest, consisting of eleven hospitals, a primary and specialty care network of more than 180 locations across Westchester County, the Lower Hudson Valley, and the Bronx.
The announcement of the closing of Mount Vernon Hospital has created a conversation on the importance of healthcare services in communities like Mount Vernon that have a high population of people of color and low-income families. As a community, we fail to realize, even if we don’t use the Hospital, it is a vital service to our elderly and families in need. For the over 70,000 Mount Vernon residents, this move by Montefiore should be troubling to all residents.
It is no secret when dealing with a large conglomerate of healthcare like Montefiore; closing hospitals doesn’t save money. According to the report titled “Closing Hospitals in New York Won’t Save Money But Will Harm Access to Healthcare” by Boston University School of Public Health reported that:
- The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that closing hospitals will do little or nothing to slow health care cost increases.
- Hospital closing doesn’t save money; they benefit the more powerful hospitals.
- The pattern of hospital closing in the state of New York has been racially and ethnically imbalanced.
On a national level and even in a state like New York, the politics and policy of racism are prevalent when making decisions on who gets services and who does not. Racism is Prejudice plus Power and control of resources.
What we are witnessing in Mount Vernon is the new business model of healthcare. The business model is not about providing healthcare – it’s about making money for drug companies, insurance companies, and investors by suppressing communities that need it the most.
Mount Vernon, a Democratic City, has given proof that neither Republican nor Democrat can control the capitalistic nature of the business healthcare. The debate on the national level from Democrats is not matching reality in a city dominated by Democrats. The closing of a hospital in the state eighth-largest city is a condemnation of Democratic values on a national level.
According to a Newsweek article, the United States ranked 64th place in global life expectancy, dropping 21 spots. This 21-spot drop is the most substantial decrease for any high-income nation and gives evidence that Americans born in 2040 won’t live longer than those born in 2016.
One of the reasons the United States ranking has fallen globally is its poor health policies and practices towards racial and ethnics groups domestically. Mount Vernon is a prime example of how Blacks, Latinos, and the economic disadvantage have experienced inadequate healthcare access and lower quality of care than other white municipalities of Westchester. The closing of the Hospital means that the gap will continue to grow with no plans for community leaders and elected officials to correct the process.
Unfortunately for the people of Mount Vernon, the closing has come at the worse time of politics; it’
s electiontime. People cannot afford their healthcare needs to become a political football or rhetoric. The people of Mount Vernon need the truth about the process of how hospitals are decommissioned and who to question for answers.
Since our elected officials are cowards in calling the prevalent racism and laying it at the doorstep of the NYS Board of Health and the Governer’s office. Our people will be Pied
Piperedinto political agendas and false narratives. Westchester’s Black Leadership at its best, not calling it as it is and covering for those who care nothing about us for political expediency.
How do we reverse it? What do we do? As always, the first step is being honest that racism exists in the politics and policies of healthcare? When it comes to life and death scenarios our buck-dancing-days and making excuses for implicit racism by institutions and for others in power should be over. If we are to move forward, it requires honesty from our Black elected officials to be black, not democrat, not republican, but recognize their place in standing in the gap, speaking truth to power and reckoning with these undisputed facts.
It is time for a serious commitment from our leadership, especially Black leadership in Westchester County. We are past the time of photo ops; the people need action! Racist New York politics and policies are weaponizing healthcare against our poor, our children, and our elderly. We are witnessing the birth of a public health crisis in Black Communities and our leadership does not have the testicular fortitude to condemn it!