Congressman Crowley Fights to Keep New York Westchester Square Medical Center Open

Sep 9, 2010 Issues: Health Care,

Washington, D.C. —On Tuesday, September 7, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) toured the New York Westchester Square Medical Center (NYWSMC) and met with hospital administrators and doctors to discuss the three-year debate with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) over the center’s operating status. Tuesday’s visit comes on the heels of Crowley’s most recent call for State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines to extend a permanent operating certificate for the center. With the region already suffering from a lack of medical care facilities, the NYWSMC fulfills the need of quality medical care and treatment for area residents. 

“The New York Westchester Square Medical Center has proved its viability to the Department of Health and its significance to the community as a provider of quality medical care,” said Congressman Crowley. “It is time for the Department of Health to end this three-year debate and provide the hospital with the necessary formalities to let it continue doing what it does best – helping people.”

The NYWSMC is one of 12 area hospitals recommended for closure by the Berger Commission, a panel created by former Governor Pataki and the New York State Legislature, as part of a statewide effort to ensure the efficiency of the state health system. To date, seven of the 12 recommended hospitals have closed. Despite the recommendation, the NYWSMC continued to operate under temporary operating certificates and without any state funds. With support of the New York Presbyterian Hospital system, the NYWSMC presented a five year viability plan to the NYSDOH this past spring, which clearly lays out a path forward for the Center and does not require any additional investment by the state. In addition, the NYWSMC has received considerable interest from several entities in regards to funding.

“Should the NYWSMC close, residents in the Bronx will be forced to travel extended distances for medical care, placing a burden on those in need of help as well as other medical facilities in New York that are already stretched thin,” said Crowley. “I urge the Department of Health to take swift action on this matter so the center can remain a vital part of the health and well-being of the community.”

Alan Kopman, President/CEO of NYWSMC, expressed his appreciation of Congressman Crowley’s efforts to bring a resolution forward. “I thank Congressman Crowley for his continued support of the NYWSMC,” said Kopman.

Below is the full text of Congressman Crowley’s most recent letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines:
July 15, 2010

Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D.
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower Building, Empire State Plaza 14th Floor
Albany, New York 12237

Dear Commissioner Daines:

To follow up on my previous letter dated March 29, 2010, I again strongly urge you to approve a permanent operating certificate for New York Westchester Square Medical Center (NYWSMC).

As you know, this past March, Mr. Alan Kopman, President and CEO of NYWCSMC, in conjunction with New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, provided the New York State Department of Health with a five year viability plan.  The plan clearly lays out a successful path forward for NYWSMC, and does not require any additional investment from the State of New York.  With considerable interest demonstrated by several entities in regard to financing, it is clear that NYWSMC can continue to provide quality care to the surrounding community.

As more and more hospitals continue to close in New York City, many residents are forced to travel further to access care from other institutions -- which are already operating over capacity.  It is clear now more than ever that fiscally responsible institutions like NYWSMC, which provide critical emergency and inpatient medical care in a patient-centered environment, should be allowed to thrive.

Again, I urge you to put an end to this three year debate and provide NYWSMC a permanent operating certificate.  Thank you for considering my request, and I look forward to your reply.


Joseph Crowley
Member of Congress