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Mount Vernon Council Members Support Hospital

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Two members of the Mount Vernon City Council voiced their support for Mount Vernon Hospital as the hospital's nurses union said it is willing to take action to keep the institution afloat.

The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) will lay out its case for keeping the hospital open at the council's Wednesday meeting.

NYSNA spokesperson Dan Lutz said the hospital's nurses are willing to freeze their salaries and pensions for one year and pay a little more for their own personal health care to help keep the hospital operating.

“We are feeling a real crisis,” Lutz said. “The hospital is one of the biggest employers in Mount Vernon. If you are in a car wreck in Mount Vernon, you don’t want to have to be taken to a hospital in New Rochelle, the Bronx or Yonkers. Those extra minutes could mean life and death.”

Councilwoman Deborah Reynolds, who was born at Mount Vernon Hospital and whose mother worked there as a nurse for 38 years, said she supports keeping it open. Reynolds said the hospital has been facing rumors of being shut down for years, but she would like to see its financial records.

“This is an ongoing issue,” Reynolds said. “We know the hospital is making money, so why are doctors and nurses going through this all the time? Our community is in dire need of this hospital. We have 70,000 people in Mount Vernon including the homeless, the mentally ill and plenty of elderly people who need it. That’s good reason to keep it open.”

Councilman Richard Thomas said a strong hospital could help transform its neighborhood and create a strong, vibrant community. Still, Thomas recognizes that the hospital doesn’t provide many services that other hospitals provide, which he said needs to change.

“The hospital mainly focuses on emergency care,” Thomas said. “This is a disincentive for families to move to Mount Vernon. We need to offer more robust services. We don't have any but we need more specialty services such as OBGYN care and an asthma center.”

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