A restructured Mount Sinai Beth Israel will have little impact on hospital employment in New York City

Photo: Jonathan LaMantia
Mount Sinai Beth Israel will be downsizing.

The announcement that the current Beth Israel Hospital will be closed and replaced by a new facility with only 10% as many beds brings to 19 the number of hospitals shuttered or radically downsized in the city since 2000.

One would think that jobs have declined, too. But as the chart shows, hospital employment has remained virtually unchanged. The total number of health care jobs in the city has soared by almost 190,000, or nearly 40%.

This is why Kenneth Davis, the president of the parent Mt. Sinai Health System, was able to say with credibility that the 4,000 people who work at Beth Israel could expect to find new positions as he reconfigures the hospital into a collection of facilities emphasizing physician practices, outpatient surgery and mental health.

So far, there has been very little political pushback on the announcement, especially compared with the bitter controversy over the closing of Long Island College Hospital in 2013. It may be that economic realities of hospitals in the city are sinking in.

Three numbers from Wednesday’s news are particularly compelling.

  • Beth Israel and its affiliates lost $115 million in 2015, an enormous sum even when compared with New York City’s most troubled hospitals.
  • Beth Israel averaged just 60% occupancy, which of course led to all that red ink.
  • Manhattan boasts 6.1 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, according to the latest data from the American Hospital Association. The national average is 2.9.

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