Mount Sinai’s Beth Israel campus, located at 1st Ave. & 16th St., is shuttering. Its parent company said the location is operating at only 20 percent capacity, and has racked up losses of over $1 billion in the past decade alone.
“This decision comes after recent financial changes, including significant increases in labor and supply costs, and years of decreasing inpatient census as care continues to move to outpatient and non-hospital settings,” a spokesperson told Straus News. They added that “while we will never abandon the downtown community, continuing to keep the MSBI 16th St. hospital open would jeopardize the mission of the Mount Sinai Health System.”
The spokesperson clarified that the closure of the 696 bed teaching hospital would be gradual, and that they would work hand-in-glove with regulators in the process. Mount Sinai said it will “remain open with a smaller bed count” and “continue to evaluate various options for a smaller hospital nearby.”
Mount Sinai Beth Israel currently boasts an emergency psychiatry department, cardiology units, pediatric care, and drug treatment programs.
Despite the pending closure, Mount Sinai Health Systems has managed to expand elsewhere in the downtown area. A new $140 million behavioral health complex opened on Rivingston St. in June, and Mount Sinai Union Square underwent a significant renovation in the past decade that added new ambulatory care rooms, exam rooms, and a new lobby.
Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Union Square will not be affected, the spokesperson said.
Some press outlets have speculated that the company is interested in selling their Eye & Ear Hospital on 14th Street & 2nd Ave., particularly in order to reap a windfall from developers.
Beth Israel was originally founded 143 years ago on the Lower East Side by Orthodox Jews, who sought to serve immigrant Jews that were denied care at other hospitals (because they were Jewish). They opened a dispensary on Broadway in 1891 and moved to Jefferson & Cherry Streets by 1895. In 1902, they added a nurses’ school.
By the time it moved to its present location at First Ave. and 16th St. in 1929, it had expanded its services to other demographics across the general population in areas including Chinatown, Gramercy Park, Chelsea, Midtown South and Greenwich Village.
Currently, Beth Israel is only full-scale hospital in Manhattan south of 28th Street, and its pending closure seems likely to draw flak from certain politicians and patient advocates.