Healthcare Business News

Some ambulatory services resume at Bellevue

By Melanie Evans
Posted: November 19, 2012 - 6:45 pm ET

Bellevue Hospital Center, one of two New York City-owned hospitals that remain closed by damage from superstorm Sandy, resumed some ambulatory services Monday.

The hospital's emergency room is expected to open in mid-December after power is restored, but the emergency room will not accept trauma patients until the hospital's critical-care, operating rooms and other inpatient services resume in February, said Alan Aviles, president and CEO of the New York City Health and Hospital Corp., which owns Bellevue and Coney Island Hospital.

“I'm very pleased to be able to say welcome back to Bellevue Hospital,” Aviles said to reporters and employees in Bellevue's atrium on Monday.

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The storm knocked out power to the hospital and flooded Bellevue's basement, which shut down its elevators and eventually the water supply. Fuel had to be carried to emergency generators after floodwaters disabled the fuel pump. Officials first evacuated the most critical of the hospitals' more than 700 patients and then decided to close the hospital entirely.

Aviles said initial plans called for Bellevue to reopen its emergency room at the end of the month using generator power, but the hospital's utility power will be restored in early December. Officials decided to wait for utility power to reopen the emergency room, he said.

Coney Island Hospital is expected to open in January. Aviles said HHC's Metropolitan Hospital Center and Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility also suffered serious damage and its Harlem Hospital Center was moderately damaged by the storm. New York City last week agreed to increase its capital budget by $500 million to aid storm-damaged schools and hospitals, including $300 million for HHC.

The fatal storm forced nine hospitals in New York and New Jersey to evacuate. Five hospitals remain closed three weeks after the storm made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J.

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