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Birth control holding up LIJ center at St. Vin’s: Source

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The North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System’s plans to operate an urgent care center at the former emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village is being delayed in part because of the Catholic hospital’s demands that birth control advice not be given at the site, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam would not say whether birth control or other issues were responsible for the snag, but acknowledged that the two sides have their disagreements.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said Catholic directives prohibit discussions about fertility treatments, abortions or safe-sex methods and the property where the urgent care center is planned to be built is still owned by St. Vincent’s sponsors.

Lynam said North Shore-LIJ and St. Vincent’s sponsors held a meeting Friday to “discuss issues” related to an agreement for the health system to lease the space.

“It was a productive meeting that hopefully will lead to further progress,” he said. “We are committed to a large presence in the St. Vincent’s catchment area. We are also looking at other alternative locations in the community in case we’re not able to resolve our differences.”

North Shore-LIJ was awarded a $9.4 million grant by the state Department of Health to open an urgent care center to meet the needs of residents affected by the closure of St. Vincent’s.

Lynam said the urgent care center would not be a long-term site and would only be used until there is a buyer for St. Vincent’s, which is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings.

North Shore-LIJ initially told the community around St. Vincent’s that the health system expected to open the site Sept. 1, but Lynam said that date was given assuming North Shore-LIJ entered into a lease on the property in the spring.

He said it would take six to eight weeks for construction of the urgent care center once a lease was signed.

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

Updated 6:10 pm, October 10, 2011
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