MONTICELLO – The State Department of Health has rejected a request from Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills to close their 10-bed critical care unit.
Closing the unit “would have drastically reduced services in our community (and) is a victory for Sullivan County residents,” Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D, Forestburgh) said on Thursday.
The lawmaker, a registered nurse who worked at Catskill Regional Medical Center – the former name for Garnet – years ago, said the plan to close the unit would likely have required patients to be transported to Garnet Health Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill or to Ellenville Regional Hospital.
Sullivan County legislators have recently been expressing concern about possible cutbacks in hospital services, especially since Sullivan County is ranked the next to the worst in terms of healthcare in the state.
Gunther said the state’s rejection of a closure is a “stay’ and may be reviewed again at a later date.
She is pleased that for now, the unit will remain open given that the county’s population is expected to triple shortly with the annual influx of summer residents.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills said the hospital recently filed an application with the State Department of Health to temporarily close its Harris Campus Critical Care Unit “due to the downward trend of underutilization the first four months of the year. That application has not been approved.”
She said Garnet Health, “much like hospitals and health systems across the nation, is facing economic issues due to low patient volumes, significantly higher expenses, and nationwide supply chain issues. Our current financial challenges have forced us to closely look at our present situation and evaluate our options.”
But, the spokeswoman said Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills Hospital is not closing. “In fact, our commitment to our community is stronger than ever. We will remain true to our mission of improving the health of our community by providing exceptional healthcare,” she said.