New York-Presbyterian’s CEO, Dr. Steven Corwin, is adamant in the hospital’s controversial decision to eliminate all 30 psychiatric beds at Inwood’s Allen Hospital. The psychiatric beds will be renovated to fill the increased demand for labor and delivery services, neonatal intensive care and surgical care at Allen. Political and community leaders have criticized the impending decrease in inpatient beds for mental health patients in northern Manhattan. U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, State Sen. Marisol Alcantara, Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer wrote letters to the state Office of Mental Health voicing their concern. In February, Manhattan’s Community Board 12 approved a resolution opposing the plan 34-00.
As reported by Crain’s NY, Corwin responded to the opposition by sending a letter to the elected officials last week, defending the decision. He conveyed NYP’s “unwavering” commitment to behavioral health, and said the hospital will instead make investments in outpatient care in northern Manhattan. He said, NYP will undertake the expansion of its community crisis stabilization program, and is developing an adult psychiatric intensive outpatient program and a youth behavioral health crisis hub. “We are confident the changes we are proposing will be beneficial for our patients and community and look forward to continuing to share information as we move forward in conversations with our government partners,” Corwin wrote.
Inpatient psychiatric care will instead be available at its Columbia, Weill Cornell and Gracie Square hospitals in Manhattan, and in its Brooklyn Methodist and Westchester campuses. “Less than half of the current behavioral health patients at Allen are from the surrounding neighborhood, so many patients may now be cared for closer to their home community,” he wrote.
Anthony Ciampa, a New York-Presbyterian/Columbia registered nurse who is on the board of NYS Nurses Association, also opposes the closure. He fears the change is motivated by the greater potential for profit in the surgical and delivery fields. As per Crain’s, he doubts that outpatient services can fully replace to the round-the-clock monitoring offered in a hospital. “These are patients who have long-established relationships with health care providers,” Ciampa said. “To sever those relationships and tell patients they would have to travel to Westchester is unrealistic.”
Last year in NYC, hospitals closed a total of 51 psychiatric beds, as per the state Department of Health. In recent years, Northwell Health and Mount Sinai have also reduced their inpatient psych bed total, compensating with outpatient mental health services.
By Ilana Siyance