Victory Memorial Hospital’s emergency room became an “urgent care center” on May 22, bringing the ailing Dyker Heights hospital one step closer to its scheduled June 30 shutdown.
The urgent care room currently provides 24-hour service, but, unlike an actually ER, it can not treat patients with the most serious injuries, doctors said.
Doctors called the urgent care center a “treat-and-release” facility, meaning that Victory can only assist patients who can be released soon after receiving care, ruling out overnight stays in the hospital’s 243 beds.
Those with more serious ailments will be stabilized and transported to nearby hospitals including Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park or Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park, doctors said.
“If you have anything major — like a broken hip — you’re not coming here,” said Jeremy, an anesthesia technician, during a cigarette break in front of the 92nd Street medical center.
The loss of the ER is only the latest in a string of staff layoffs and program terminations at Victory since 2006, when the hospital filed for bankruptcy and a state commission recommended that it be closed.
On March 31, Brooklyn businessman Gabi Saadia bid $45 million to purchase Victory and take on its $90-million debt in hopes of transitioning the 108-year-old hospital into a nursing facility.
But last week, hospital officials soured on Saadia’s offer and turned towards the second-highest bidder, the Abe Leser Group, a Borough Park real-estate firm, which offered $44.9 million for the beleaguered hospital.
“Mr. Leser is working with SUNY Downstate and a long-term care provider,” said Bill Guarinello, chairman of Victory’s board. “He is going to be the landlord. He’ll pay Victory the $44.9 million.” That money, plus the sale of some adjoining property, a $25-million infusion from the state and the sale of the hospital’s long-term care license, should raise enough money to cover the debt, he said.
But as Victory’s financial future comes into focus, hospital officials don’t know if the urgent care facility will stay open after the hospital’s scheduled closure in four weeks.
“We’re hoping that it remains after June 30, but we don’t know what will even happen tomorrow,” Guarinello said.
— with Marie Cunningham