By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Mount Sinai Beth Israel has filed a Certificate of Need (CON) with State Department of Health on Monday to proceed with their downsizing plan that will drastically reduce the number of hospital beds in the Gramercy area, advancing the $1 billion project.
Representatives for MSBI told Community Board 6 members earlier this year that changes to the plan had delayed the submission of the CON, which they had expected to get approved by the end of last year. The process is an endorsement the state requires before the construction of a new healthcare facility.
The hospital system found newly-undiscovered unused space at the New York Eye and Ear facility, adjacent to where the new hospital will be built, and representatives at a meeting in February said that space allowed them to reconfigure the new building at East 14th Street and Second Avenue.
Brad Korn, corporate director of community affairs for Mount Sinai Beth Israel, assured CB6 members that the changes would not further decrease the number of beds but did say that the building could be shorter.
MSBI’s downsizing plan is decreasing the number of beds at Beth Israel from 799 to 220, with 150 beds allocated to behavioral services that will now be on Rivington Street, leaving the new hospital with 70 medical-surgical beds.
Representatives for MSBI said in 2016 that renovations for the existing Beth Israel Hospital would have cost $1.3 billion, ultimately not far off from the billion-dollar price tag, but a spokesperson for MSBI noted this week that the specific cost of rebuilding Beth Israel hospital is $600 million and renovating would have forced the hospital to close, which MSBI did not want to do to the community.
The total cost of the project also includes $100 million to upgrade and expand ambulatory services, in addition to $140 million for a new behavioral services facility on Rivington Street. Town and Village reported last December that the Bernstein Pavilion, which currently houses behavioral services, will soon be vacant and the new facility will be constructed on Rivington. Mount Sinai had originally intended to renovate Bernstein but ultimately decided that this wasn’t feasible since the building is more than 60 years old.
The $1 billion-project also includes other additions to the hospital system, such as the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Union Square, specializing in geriatric medicine and healthy aging, a separate urgent care facility that recently opened in the Union Square facility, the primary care services at Mount Sinai Doctors Stuyvesant Town and an expansion of services at other locations below 34th Street.