Bay Ridge’s Victory Memorial Hospital declared bankruptcy last week amid scrutiny of the hospital’s compensation practices, and just two weeks before a state commission releases a much-anticipated report that is expected to recommend shuttering failing hospitals across the state.
[The New York Sun reported on Wednesday that the commission will call for Victory’s closure, but it’s unclear if its recommendations will be followed by Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer.]
Following the bankruptcy announcement, hospital spokesman Gerald McKelvey said there would be no changes in patient care at Victory, which is $40 million in the red.
Recent news reports give an indication of how the hospital got there. According to the New York Post, the 254-bed center gave departing CEO Donald DiCunto a $1.1 million severance package despite dire financial straits — although he won’t see a dime of it for years, McKelvey said.
This week, Victory fired its second-in-command, William Receveto, after the Post reported that he had failed to pay corporate taxes in 1988.
McKelvey said the personnel changes were long in coming at the hospital, which is at 92nd Street and Seventh Avenue.
“This had to do with the previous administration,” said McKelvey. “This is all part of Victory’s attempt to restructure itself and rid itself of unnecessary or unproductive services.”
Victory is not the only hospital in need of resuscitation.
Fort Greene’s Brooklyn Hospital Center, Parkway Hospital in Queens and St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in Manhattan are all also in Chapter 11.
On Dec. 1, the state’s Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century will issue a report on how to cut hospital costs and is expected to recommend the closure of several poorly performing institutions.
Not all Bay Ridgites would be sad to Victory Memorial go.
“We have two excellent hospitals servicing the Bay Ridge community — Lutheran Medical Center and Maimonides,” said Peter Killen, a Bay Ridge activist. “Both of them are extremely qualified to address the medical needs of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.”
Meanwhile, City Councilman Vince Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) was busy searching for the silver lining.
“Bankruptcy is not a bad thing,” said Gentile. “Donald Trump declared bankruptcy and now he is a millionaire again.”+
©2006 Community News Group
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