St. Vincent's HIV Program Finds A Home At Mount Sinai
St. Vincent’s may have closed, but Mount Sinai Comprehensive Health Program Downtown has successfully moved and improved its 20-year-old HIV program. NY1’s Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
When St. Vincent's more than 20-year-old HIV program needed something just short of divine intervention, Mount Sinai Medical Center stepped in.
But what the newly named Mount Sinai Comprehensive Health Program Downtown didn't have until now was a new location.
“When St. Vincent's closed, I felt like I was going to lose everything, and if it were not for this clinic, I don't think I would be here today. They could go to the moon and I would find a way to go there if I had to,” says patient Kenneth Agostini.
Luckily, Agostini and the approximately 2,000 other patients the center serves didn't have to leave the orbit for treatment: they just had to go 13 blocks north to Chelsea.
Mount Sinai left behind offices that were housed in the landmarked O'Toole building, which actually looks like a spaceship itself. Doctors were able to keep services going there until the move.
“We did the best we could, but St. Vincent's was bankrupt and the infrastructure was crumbling. We never let patients be exposed to that, but it took a toll on all of us,” says Dr. Barbara Johnston, associate medical director at Mount Sinai Comprehensive Health Program Downtown.
While there was a lot of concern about how any type of move might impact services or, more importantly, whether patients would get lost in the process, doctors say they've actually come out of all of this a whole lot stronger.
“We made a commitment and we were very resolute on NY1 last year saying we were not going to let our patients down. We came into a big, beautiful, airy space,” says Dr. Johnston. “Now, with Mount Sinai we are able to really move forward with an incredibly wonderful practice better integrated with services uptown.”
And while this is a permanent home for the program, a handful of private doctors offices are still on their way out of the old building before Rudin Development and North Shore LIJ begin work on a new emergency care center there with a more than $100 million gut renovation.
Meantime, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital’s Center for Comprehensive Care (CCC) is also operating a portion of the HIV program formerly run by St. Vincent’s, including an outpatient pharmacy.
Within the month, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt also plans to open a new clinic located at 230 West 17th Street.