SLCH to close its Cornwall emergency department


CORNWALL – Despite efforts in recent years r to keep the Cornwall
campus emergency department open, the Board of Trustees has authorized
the closure of that department effective October 1.

Shutting down the ER, which saw an average of fewer than two patients
per hour last year, will save the hospital system $3.2 million. Continued
operation of the Cornwall ER threatens the viability of the entire health
system, which serves some 250,000 patients annually.
State Assemblyman James Skoufis, who spearheaded the effort to keep the
ER open, is incensed by the announcement to close. “St. Luke’s
Cornwall Hospital’s proposal was an affront to the community three
years ago and it is an affront now,” he said. “The hospital’s
plan to close the Cornwall emergency room will not move forward without
a fight.”

The Cornwall campus has been transformed into a “robust” outpatients
center with cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, outpatient radiology
and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery, radiation oncology, an infusion
center, sleep medicine, physical therapy, a balance center and pain management.
The campus also includes a medical office building with primary care physicians.

Under the direction of delivery system redesign, the state is requiring
hospitals to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department
visits by 25 percent. SLCH has begun to see that shift, and the board
has recognizes that utilization of the Cornwall ER has continued on a
steady decline for seven consecutive years, hospital officials said.

“As healthcare evolves, we much look at all programs and services
to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of our patients in a way
that maintains our commitment to quality and is financially sustainable
for the entire health system,” said Board Chairwoman Michelle Rider.
“SLCH is committed to continue providing essential health care services
to our community.”

Hospital Interim President Joan Cusack-McGuirk said providing the highest
quality of care “in the most appropriate setting is a top priority”
of the hospital. “As healthcare delivery continues to evolve, the
manner in which we provide such care must also change. “The repurposing
of the Cornwall campus is a prime example of that.”
Persons in need of emergency room care will have the continued availability
of the Newburgh facilities.

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