CORNWALL - Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) held a news conference in front of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital condemning their recent request to shut down their emergency room during the hours from 10pm to 10am. Assemblyman Skoufis was joined by concerned families, emergency first responders, hospital employees and local community leaders to help keep the emergency department open full-time.
"What the hospital executives are trying to do not only puts public health at risk, but is an insult to our families who rely on this type of medical care in cases of life and death emergencies," Assemblyman Skoufis said. "What is more inexcusable is that this comes at a time when the hospital, just this year, created a ‘compensation committee’ to hand out big bonuses to their executives. There seems to be plenty of money for bonuses, but no money for our ER. Shame on them."
Assemblyman Skoufis has been working to make St. Luke’s motives and proposal to cut ER hours more transparent. Skoufis recently wrote a letter to the NYS Department of Health issuing his concern with St. Luke’s request to cut emergency room hours and urged the state department to analyze the proposal closely in order to avoid putting families at unnecessary risk in cases of serious emergencies.
Last week, local officials met with hospital representatives to raise questions and concerns with the announced changes; there was no expressed desire whatsoever by the hospital executives to find alternatives to closing the emergency room.
"This is certainly not a decision with the best interest of its patients in mind," Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor, Brendan Coyne said. "Putting our children and families’ health at risk by shutting down ER hours so that hospital executives can fund their bonuses is simply not the right healthcare strategy for this community."
"The way St. Luke’s is going about its proposal to cut ER services is insulting and by no means a creative initiative to help our community," County Legislator Kevin Hines added. "24 hour emergency care is vital to the public and I will continue to do everything I can to keep it that way."
"As a senior citizen, the possibility of my local emergency room closing to help fund hospital executive bonuses is frightening as much as it is shameful," said Dorris Koziak of Highland Falls. "My health depends on a reliable, open, ER, and I truly hope St. Luke’s will do the right thing and rescind their proposal."
If emergency services were transferred from Cornwall to the Newburgh campus, families from not only Cornwall would face a considerably longer drive to an emergency room from the hours of 10pm to 10am, but nearby towns including Blooming Grove, Highlands, New Windsor and Woodbury would be affected as well.
Assemblyman Skoufis is encouraging residents to sign the petition to keep the Cornwall campus ER open full-time. The petition can be found on his website at assembly.state.ny.us/mem/james-skoufis. Residents can also call his office at 845-469-6929 or email SkoufisJ@assembly.state.ny.us.