Today’s news:

Victory Hospital fighting off ‘death warrant’

It’s not over yet. Supporters of Victory Memorial Hospital are hoping a recent court decision will stop the state from closing the facility. The ruling in question was made by a Bronx Supreme Court judge who issued a temporary restraining order barring the state from closing a Bronx hospital until a court hearing later this month when pleas will be made for the center to remain open. “If it applies to one [hospital]…it would apply to all,” Ronald De Franco, assistant administrator at Victory Memorial, said of the ruling. The verdict comes in response to a state panel’s recommendation to close five city hospitals and consolidate others in a money-saving reconfiguration of the health care system. The Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century suggested that Victory Memorial close and a diagnostic and treatment center or a nursing home open in its place. Local politicians say the restraining order will grant Victory Memorial extra time to devise a plan to remain open. “This decision gives us a greater opportunity to explore alternatives to the Commission’s recommendation to close Victory Memorial,” said Rep. Vito Fossella. While Victory Memorial staffers wait for the proposal to be approved or denied – it will be voted on by the state Senate and Assembly – there’s still talk of trying to partner the hospital with another facility in hopes of solving its financial problems. “We would like to see it happen that we could maintain our acute care beds or some portion of them,” De Franco said. “Whatever it takes to keep the emergency room for this community open.” Borough President Marty Markowitz questioned whether closing Victory Memorial and four other city hospitals would even be the best way to go to cut medical costs. “Hospital closures do little to address the larger problems of our health care delivery system,” he said. What they do, Victory Memorial supporters say, is put neighborhood residents in jeopardy. The loss of a hospital means locals lack quick and direct access to emergency room care and instead must travel to other facilities. The two hospitals that would serve Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights residents in need of emergency care if Victory Memorial closes would be Lutheran Medical Center at 150 55th Street and Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 Tenth Avenue. “The bottom line is that we need to maintain Victory Memorial Hospital as a functioning acute care facility to meet the medical needs of our neighborhood,” said Senator Marty Golden. “The waiting time in the emergency rooms at Lutheran Medical Center and Maimonides Medical Center, our closest hospitals if Victory Memorial Hospital should close, could be substantially increased if this decision is upheld.” Markowitz agreed that closing hospitals “may put residents at risk.”

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