Despite Setbacks, CB 11, Abbate Lead Fight For 92nd Street ER

Victory Memorial shortly before its closure (Source: Richard Caplan via City Limits)

In the fight to open an emergency room at the former site of Victory Memorial Hospital on 7th Avenue and 92nd Street, things aren’t looking so good.

Despite this, at a December 8, meeting of CB 11, Chairman Bill Guarinello called for a concerted effort by both activists and the community at large to counter a state panel that’s advising against opening a new ER in Southwest Brooklyn.

The panel, known as the Brooklyn Work Group, is chaired by attorney Stephen Berger, the same Stephen Berger who headed the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century – the same commission that recommended Victory’s closure in 2008.

From the Eagle:

The Work Group, which was organized by Berger at the request of the New York State Department of Health, spent several months looking at healthcare issues and talking to hospital executives. The panel released its report on Nov. 28.
The panel is recommending that the New York State Department of Health reject any plans to open an emergency room at SUNY Downstate’s Seventh Avenue site, Guarinello said.
Adding insult to injury, the new report begins with the SUNY related recommendation, Guarinello said.
“The first of that report is incendiary,” Guarinello told his members.
“They are pushing us by the wayside,” said Assemblyman Peter Abbate, who was briefed on the contents of the report in Albany.

The panel’s logic is that Southwest Brooklyn doesn’t need another emergency room. Our neighborhoods are already served by three hospitals, they say – including Maimonides Medical Center (4802 10th Avenue), Lutheran Medical Center (150 55th Street) and Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway).

However, proponents of an additional ER say that reasoning is flawed.

“The Berger Commission says there are 6,400 extra beds (in hospitals) in Brooklyn. There may be 6,400 unused beds in Brooklyn, but not in South Brooklyn,” Guarinello told the meeting.

Guarinello, the former president of Victory’s Board of Directors, stated that he didn’t know of anyone who experienced the short wait times for rooms that such a surplus would suggest.

Assemblyman Abbate urged the community to take advantage of the urgent care center, which does not treat life-threatening conditions, currently operating out of the 92nd Street location for non-emergencies – in order to illustrate that additional facilities are needed.

“We have to use it to show that it’s needed,” he said.

State Assemblyman Peter Abbate represents Assembly District 49, which includes Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights.