Nurses Urge Mount Vernon City Council To Help Save Hospital

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Mount Vernon Hospital nurses and their supporters gather on the steps of City Hall before speaking with the City Council about their concerns that the hospital may close. Photo Credit: Greg Maker

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Nurses at Mount Vernon Hospital asked the City Council to help save the hospital Wednesday night as rumors about its closure continue to swirl around the city.

Nurses appealed to the Council to find a way to bring more money into the financially strapped institution, and complained that its association with Sound Shore Medical Center is responsible for the hospital's perilous position.

Tracy McCook, a registered nurse (RN) at Mount Vernon Hospital since 1988, said that problems began in 1996 when Sound Shore Medical Center took over the facility. McCook, who also serves as chair of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), said it has become apparent to the nurses that the merger was done to profit Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle while neglecting Mount Vernon Hospital.

“We’ve asked for transparency and requested an independent forensic audit,” McCook told the City Council. “We have lost vital essential services that affect the ability of the hospital to stay open.”

McCook said that Mount Vernon Hospital is certified to have more than 100 in-patient beds but currently has 28, adding that sometimes people have to wait up to 50 hours to get an in-patient bed. Kathy Rose, an RN who has been working at Mount Vernon Hospital for more than 30 years, said the state corrections unit facility and psychiatric unit are keeping the hospital afloat, but barely.

“We are asking the City Council to ask other politicians to support us so we can have more money coming into Mount Vernon,” Rosa said. “I don’t want it to become part of the growing of statistics of hospital closures. Mount Vernon has always been a struggling but fighting community. We need to make the detachment out of the Sound Shore system to continue to grow.”

Linda Carrington, an RN who has worked at Mount Vernon Hospital for 17 years, said she has seen its services seriously diminished over the years, including the loss of the maternity ward and dialysis unit.

“Machines break and never get fixed,” Carrington said. “We have limited supplies. We provide quality care because we do care. This is one of the largest employers in Mount Vernon and the surrounding businesses will lose money, too (if the hospital were to close), when Mount Vernon can use as much money as it can get.”

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