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North Shore finds another Manhattan partner

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The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System reached an agreement to open a 24-hour urgent care center with a Manhattan-based organization after discussions to place the center at the former site of the St. Vincent’s Hospital emergency department fell through.

North Shore-LIJ is partnering with VillageCare, which provides health-care services for older adults and people with HIV and AIDS.

Talks between North Shore-LIJ and St. Vincent’s sponsors hit a snag over St. Vincent’s demands that birth control options, fertility treatments and abortions not be discussed at the planned urgent care center, according to a source.

Had the center been located at the former St. Vincent’s emergency department, it would have been in operation until St. Vincent’s sponsor found a buyer for the shuttered hospital.

“Rather than locate the urgent care center in temporary space at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center, we are pleased to partner with VillageCare to provide a long-term home for the facility eight blocks away,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of North Shore-LIJ. “At the same time, we will continue to pursue other opportunities to meet the emergency health needs of community residents in other neighborhoods in the St. Vincent’s catchment area.”

The state Department of Health awarded North Shore-LIJ a $9.4 million grant to build an urgent care center for residents near St. Vincent’s after the hospital filed for bankruptcy in April.

“We are extremely pleased that North Shore-LIJ has reached an agreement with VillageCare to provide an urgent care center in the community that was served by St. Vincent’s hospital,” Health Commissioner Richard Daines said. “The state Health Department fully expects to approve this project quickly so that residents will have access to these services. We look forward to working with North Shore-LIJ to make this come to fruition as quickly as possible.”

The center will be located at 121A W. 20th St., where VillageCare operates a primary care center on weekdays and Saturdays, North Shore-LIJ said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who represents the area around St. Vincent’s, praised the agreement.

“As I have said all along, the West Side of Manhattan still needs a full-service emergency room and hospital, but this is a good intermediary step that was facilitated by our office and the local elected officials,” she said. “North Shore-LIJ should be congratulated for their tireless work in searching for space and making this urgent care center become a reality.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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