Hospital Services Will Remain at Dobbs Ferry

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (Jan 31, 2008) - Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D- 35th District) joined State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today at Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry to announce that health care services will continue to operate under the sponsorship of St John's Riverside Hospital, as it has for many years.

"It is the right decision to keep this excellent health-care facility open to serve its community. I have made it a priority to keep this hospital open because there is a clear and demonstrated need for an emergency room and a primary health-care facility in the Rivertowns part of Westchester. I am thrilled that the proposed emergency room will have better and broader-based services – and additional outreach training which will even extend to community-based EMS personnel. This will also allow St. John's hospital to continue to operate the many health care services it offers to the many low-income patients it serves in Yonkers," Senator Stewart-Cousins stated.

"The expansion of the superb Ashikari Comprehensive Breast Care Center is a significant and welcome part of this plan. Preventative breast care services and early detection and treatment of breast cancer are essential components of women's health care that would not otherwise be readily available to women in our community. The significance of the continued and expanded presence of the Ashikari Comprehensive Breast Care Center in our community cannot be overstated," the Senator added.

The Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry, a 50-bed hospital slated to close by the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, would be re-opened by St. John's Riverside Hospital, which will pilot an innovative health-care delivery model – designed to reduce hospitalizations and integrate primary care in the emergency room.

"Except in rural areas, New York has no financially viable health care delivery models that tailor services to target the needs of communities," Commissioner Daines said. "We need to shift the focus from institution-based planning to patient-centered delivery systems. This Rivertowns community presents an optimal forum to test an alternative model for the health care: It's a small community where health outcomes can be monitored and improvements can be measured."

"I applaud Governor Eliot Spitzer, Commissioner Richard Daines of the New York State Department of Health, and State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins for their efforts to protect and enhance the essential community services provided by the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry. Senate Democrats believe that access to quality and affordable health care should be available to all New Yorkers. From the outset, Senator Stewart-Cousins and I met with hospital officials and representatives from the Department of Health, and from the Governor's office, to express concerns and fears of community members if these services were eliminated. We are please to announce today that the critical community services provided by the Hospital will remain and in fact will be strengthened, thanks to a great deal of hard work and compromise by all sides. I applaud Senator Stewart-Cousins for her continued leadership, commitment, and determination in representing the people of the 35th Senatorial District in Westchester County," stated Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith.

Chairman of the Board of Community Hospital, Gregory M. Fisk and Ronald J. Corti, Chief Executive Officer of Community Hospital, said jointly, "We are grateful to the many people whose efforts contributed to keeping Community Hospital open. Most of all, we are grateful to Senator Stewart-Cousins, who led the charge from the anxious beginning to this happy end on behalf of the hospital and our community. For the many times you listened and made sure that our voices would be heard – by the Department of Health, by the Commission, by anyone who could help our cause – we thank you, Senator. Because of your leadership and advocacy we announce today that we will be here to serve our community for years to come."

Preliminary plans for the St. John's facility in Dobbs Ferry include an emergency department and observation beds focusing on primary care, cancer care, and management of chronic conditions to reduce hospitalizations. The new facility will also expand the existing highly-regarded Ashikari Breast Care Center through outreach and education, while maintaining the excellent preventative breast care and breast cancer services for which it is acclaimed.

While additional details have yet to be finalized, it is anticipated that conversion of the Community Hospital at Dobbs Ferry to the new health care model will be complete by the end of 2008.