GOSHEN – By an 18 to 1 vote, the Orange County legislature voted on Thursday to urge St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital to not close the Cornwall campus emergency room.
Hospital officials say closing the underutilized ER will help stop the financial bleeding of the institution.
One of the most vocal opponents, Legislator Kevin Hines, had a message for hospital officials.
“If they go through with this, please take the sign off the place that says ‘hospital’ because it will only be a glorified doctors’ office,” Hines said.
Legislator Michael Anagnostakis explained the issue is the changing face of healthcare and its related costs.
“The hospital has just gotten a major grant that was approved in Albany,” Anagnostakis said. The grant was only given when the hospital was asked to come up with a cost saving plan, put it in writing and bring it up to Albany and get that grant approved. And they did. And part of that grant application was that they are going to close the emergency room and Albany said ‘yes and we are going to give you this grant money in return’.”
The lone “no” vote came from Legislator Michael Amo who noted the hospital does not have a bottomless checkbook. If the ER is kept open, the money has to be taken from someplace else, he told his colleagues.