MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Nurses at Mount Vernon Hospital will vote Friday on extending their contract for one more year with hope that it will save the hospital.
Dan Lutz, spokesperson for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), said nurses are voting to freeze their salaries and pensions and are willing to pay a little more money for their personal health care. Lutz said the reason behind putting this contract forward to union members is that the hospital has been struggling for a long time.
“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.”
Lutz said hospital services have been cut over the past decade. Previously, the hospital was certified for 167 patient beds but now is down to fewer than 30. Lutz said that labor and delivery has also been cut recently, so babies cannot be delivered within the city limits of Mount Vernon.
Though accepting the new contract is a step forward, Lutz said that approval would not necessarily mean that the hospital would be saved.
Lutz said that the NYSNA thinks that Mount Vernon Hospital would be better off under new leadership.
“We need to find the right niche to keep the hospital going,” Lutz said. “Nothing is certain. Our only concern today is to get the contract out of the way so we can be free to advocate for new leadership.”