Friday, November 23, 2018

Is Roosevelt Island Coler Hospital Closing And Being Put Up For Sale By NYC? RIRA President Says Coler Hospital On List Of City Properties For Sale

The NYC Health & Hospital Corp Coler Hospital sits on prime East River waterfront land on the north end of Roosevelt Island.

Recently, there have been plenty of rumors about Coler Hospital closing and being put up for sale by New York City.Will Coler Hospital be closed and demolished for a new development - as was it's sister property, Coler Goldwater Hospital, for the Cornell Tech campus?

During the November 1, 2018 Meet the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Candidates Forum, a question was asked to candidate, now RIRA President Lynn Strong-Shinozaki, about the closing and sale of Coler Hospital. The resident asked:

I've heard that Coler Hospital might be for sale or might be closing at some point. Do we know what plan for that whole area is?
Ms Shinozaki responded:
The answer to that is no, but what I do know is that you are correct that the City list of properties that can be bought, Coler Hospital is on that list...

The issue with Coler Hospital that makes it unique and different from some of the other spaces on the Island is that is not part of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. It is a City owned space. So there is limited things that RIOC has control over in that space....

... My concerns are that the Coler Hospital has decommissioned itself in certain levels and that it has not built certain parts of the Hospital. There are about 700 patients there but the capacity is much greater. ...

We're going be asking questions up front and out in the open. ... We want to make sure we are not steamrolled into having something happen.
Here's video of the exchange about possible closing of Roosevelt Island's Coler Hospital.

The NY Daily News tweets today:
and reports:
... Possibly on the chopping block is Coler Hospital, located on Roosevelt Island's northern end, which would mean that 594 patients now staying at the 24-hour-a-day, 815-bed facility would have to be transferred elsewhere....
Click here for full NY Daily News article.

The Coler Hospital building in on NYC property but my understanding is that the land 5 feet from the perimeter of the building including the parking lot area is RIOC controlled land.

RIOC should have considerable say as to the future of the property.

The subject of Coler's possible closing and sale was discussed at the October Coler Hospital Community Advisory Board Meeting.

Stay tuned for more.

UPDATE 5:40 PM - According to Roosevelt Island's NY City Council Member Ben Kallos:
I've long suspected H+H has been mismanaging Coler and other healthcare facilities into the ground as part of a self fulfilling prophecy of failure.

Only the City of New York could lose money on hospital rooms that average $10,700 a night, more than twice the price of the Extreme WOW Suite on the 57th floor of W Times Square.

With expansions by every other hospital in the medical corridor of my district, it's strange to see H+H seeking to close another facility. To make matters worse, H+H turned away formerly homeless residents in need of supportive housing that would have helped fill beds in a vacant wing. These formerly homeless New Yorkers were welcomed by local elected officials and Roosevelt Island residents who wanted to do our part to help the homeless, only to see H+H refuse to help.

H+H provides a safety net for our city's most vulnerable patients providing the highest quality of health care at a low cost, making them competitive with private hospitals and the burgeoning medical tourism industry. To think New Yorkers are not treating life threatening medical conditions or traveling oversees to afford it, when H+H should be competing for patients and making money.

The best use of this city owned land is to save lives and provide medical services for those who otherwise couldn't afford them. The last thing Roosevelt Island need is more luxury housing in place of Coler.
RIOC President Susan Rosenthal adds:
RIOC does not have any information regarding a possible sale of Coler.
UPDATE 11/25 - Council Member Kallos says:
If a list exists of city properties that are currently in use but are somehow on the auction block than it literally means our city is for sale to the highest bidder and that's not how government should work!
Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy adds:
Coler opened in 1952 serving all who needed rehabilitation and/or long term medical care. It has remained a facility part of the NYC Health + Hospitals. Coler is one of 4 long term facilities in the city network. Coler has provided a home for hundreds of New Yorkers who have medical needs for long tern care. An important aspect of Coler is the wonderful care that dementia and Alzheimer's patients receive in specialized units. Coler has a devoted staff , many who have worked there for decades. The Therapeutic Recreation Department and many others provide services to residents from arts program, poetry, music and many more.

Coler has never had the recognition that Goldwater did, until it was closed in 2013. Coler is now licensed as a long term care facility, not a hospital.

The administration of Coler readily admits that the facility is out dated with 4 bedded rooms with no private facilities. Coler suffered severe damage in Hurricane Sandy and the City spend $93,000,000 rebuilding the entire infrastructure. The hospital is in the zone for mandatory evacuation in case of another 100 year storm. In he meantime all medical systems have been rebuilt and are above the first floor, protecting the building from further damage.

As a member of the Coler Community Advisory Board for many years, we have heard the rumors many times. It may be that the lure of the real estate market is tempting the city. No officials of H+H will publicly discuss the future of Coler. When the State of New York leased the island in `1969, the two hospital campuses were not leased, remaining City property.

Let us hope that the residents stay where they are comfortable and at home on our island.