For: The Coalition For A New Village Hospital
Media Contact: Steven Greene
For Immediate Release
WARNING! The North Shore-LIJ “Emergency Department” Plan May Be Hazardous To Your Health
10 Ways North Shore-LIJ Gets It Wrong
1. The North Shore-LIJ “Emergency Department”may be dangerous to your health. The trip you take to an urgent care center can cost you vital minutes that make the difference between life and death. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest declines by approximately 10% for each minute without defibrillation. At the new North Shore-LIJ urgent care center, it may be hours before examinations, blood tests and electrocardiograms reveal an acute heart attack. Whether the ambulance trip that follows is to Beth Israel Hospital or more than 4 miles to Lenox Hill, it would be too late for the emergency intervention available at a hospital. At the end of the day, their proposed “Emergency Department” is a lot like a “doc-in-the-box” urgent care center.
2. Free Standing “Emergency Departments” like the one planned by North Shore-LIJ can actually drive up medical costs. While they claim freestanding emergency rooms are less expensive to operate, there is growing evidence that they actually increase costs as the quality of healthcare declines. In states like Washington the legislature is considering putting a moratorium on using these facilities after seeing costs skyrocket.
3. You can’t take an ambulance there. How can it be a true Emergency Room if it doesn’t have ambulance services? Without large changes in laws and regulations, these types of facilities will not have ambulance service to bring in a patient. The reason: The managers of the 911 emergency system does not believe these independent ambulances are equipped to treat emergencies. To make the changes North Shore-LIJ is requesting will mean a ”freelance” ambulance system that operates separate and apart from the life-saving 911 system.
4. Emergency medical technicians will be forced to make decisions about what type of treatment you will receive before you see a doctor. If a patient calls 911, medics are going to have to make critical life decisions without the guidance of a medical doctor. If these medics are rushing patients to an “emergency room” unprepared for life-threatening emergencies, patients’ lives will be at risk.
5. It is an unregulated facility where patients without coverage can be turned away. Unlike hospital emergency departments that are obliged to accept all patients regardless of their ability to pay, private centers like the one planned by North Shore-LIJ, are legally allowed to turn away patients who have trouble paying for treatment. What’s more, they are not even required to hire union employees.
6. It will be in their interests to transfer you miles away to Lenox Hill. An emergency room helps cover its costs by admitting patients to the hospital. ERs are the major source of new admissions. It is widely understood that a “stand alone ER” like this one acts as a “feeder” to get patients. That would mean that assuming you did actually need care you wouldn’t receive it in your neighbourhood, but would be transferred by ambulance to North Shore-LIJ’s one and only NYC medical center, Lenox Hill Hospital, which is crosstown, and 4.09 miles away.
7. The emergency care they can’t provide is the care that matters most. NSLIJ claim this new “Emergency Department” will provide 95% of the care available at St. Vincent’s former ER. Importantly, that figure does not include the most important reasons patients rush to an emergency room -- acute stroke, heart attack, trauma, septic shock, respiratory failure, and other emergency events including those suffered by first responders from the World Trade Center.
8. This new Emergency Department” will treat 40% fewer patients annually in a community that’s doubled in size. Despite a doubling in the size of the community, the new center will treat only 35,000 patients per year versus 60,000 treated annually at the former St. Vincent’s.
9. Contrary to claims, St. Vincent’s was used by the majority of the community until the day it closed. In fact, St. Vincent's treated 55% of the local community in 2009, its last full year of operation, according to New York State data. This was true even while rumors were growing that the hospital would soon close.
10. A new hospital can be built at a fraction of the cost While NSLIJ claims building a new hospital could cost $2 million/bed, a global firm of engineers has estimated the cost of reinstating a hospital in the current Colman building at a fraction of the cost, and close to the cost as the\is proposed freestanding urgent care center.