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Judge tells Mount Sinai to halt closure of Beth Israel Hospital

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 14, 2024
Business Affairs
A judge has temporarily blocked Mount Sinai's plans to close its Beth Israel Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai)
A Manhattan judge has blocked Mount Sinai from moving forward with the closure of its Beth Israel hospital until a trial can be held among all parties in a recently filed lawsuit protesting the shutdown.

Mount Sinai announced back in September that it was closing MSBI, which is one of the few emergency rooms in downtown Manhattan, due to losses over the last decade amounting to more than $1 billion and an expected loss of another $150 million this year. It also has experienced a decline in inpatient count over the past years, according to Crain’s New York Business.

Earlier this month, a group of East Village residents and community leaders filed a suit that called the closure a “real estate cash grab,” accusing Mount Sinai of intentionally transferring services and staff from MSBI and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEE) to its other hospitals to decrease its performance to justify liquifying its prime real estate. Additionally, they said the closure violates New York’s public health law, health department guidance, the state constitution, state and city human rights law, and the state Environmental Quality Review Act.

“While NYEE has remained profitable despite MSHS’ service manipulation, MSBI immediately turned significantly unprofitable and has remained so to the present,” said the plaintiffs in their lawsuit, which was filed by Arthur Schwartz, principal attorney at Financial District-based Advocates for Justice Chartered Attorneys.

According to Crain's New York Business, the plaintiffs say MSBI and NYEE were financially well off until 2013 when Mount Sinai took over after merging with Continuum Health Partners. They say it began shutting down profitable Beth Israel units such as labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care. The plaintiffs make several claims against Mount Sinai Health System to support its accusation that the closure is an attempt by the health system to make a profit, including that MSBI:

  • shut down hospital services without required approval from the health department

  • diverted ambulances to New York City Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital without assessing the other facilities’ ability to absorb patients

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