KINGSTON, NY – Ulster County Industrial Development Agency officials want the Westchester Medical Center Health Network to solicit all assistance within the agency’s authority to reverse course, resulting in a reduction in staff and services in its has led both HealthAlliance facilities in Kingston.
The concerns were raised after a meeting on Wednesday, August 18. Chief Executive Officer Rose Woodworth said WMC HealthAlliance’s parent company should provide information about what it will need to determine if funding is available.
“If they needed money to build a new wing for the mental health department, we could help them,” she said.
County officials have reported that HealthAlliance had room to treat 60 behavioral medicine inpatients in Kingston before services moved to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie in March 2020 to accommodate an expected surge in COVID-19 -Patients to create. Coronavirus bed demand did not peak as expected, but the Westchester Medical Center Health Network has declined to return the services to Kingston.
In a press release, agency officials said they were “disappointed” with Westchester Medical Center’s move in June to lay off “approximately 40 hospital workers.” They claim that job retention is part of the agency’s mission statement and the health network should work to keep its staff.
“The agency stands ready to work with local WMC officials and representatives to ensure that WMC HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston is a strong and productive employer in Ulster County, delivering the quality and level of healthcare that residents need.” wrote.
Westchester Medical Center representatives were not immediately available for comment on Thursday, August 19. They said in June that the downsizing was done to eliminate “layoffs” without reducing bedside nursing positions.
Agency officials said their organization had previously supported the Kingston hospital system by “issuing low-interest tax-exempt bonds to conduct capital improvements on the Kingston Hospital (former) site and the Benedictine Hospital (former) site.”
In 1999, the former Benedictine hospital borrowed $ 15 million to purchase seven acres off the facility. The money was also used to renovate the then existing 250,000 square meter building of the facility and to cover the costs of an 8,000 square meter extension. This bond was refinanced for $ 20 million in 2006 to include the repayment of the original loan and additional debt.