End of an Era: St. Vincent’s Hospital Closes

April 30, 2010

For 160 years, St Vincent’s hospital in New York City was a stalwart figure in the world of healthcare. Today, the Greenwich Village hospital closed its doors forever.

St. Vincent’s was founded in 1849, and served as the flagship of St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers of New York, and recorded $502 million in total revenue last year. Despite that, it also posted a net operating loss of $107 million, according to bankruptcy filings. Roughly 47% of the patients served by the emergency room in 2009 were either uninsured, on Medicaid, or on Medicare.

The 511-bed hospital began to see trouble in 2000, when the corporate owners merged with several other hospitals and nursing homes, leading to a financial deterioration and eventually bankruptcy in 2005. There was a restructuring plan that included more than $1 billion in outstanding unsecured liabilities, but the system never righted itself, and without a buyer, another bankruptcy was filed and closing became inevitable.

During its 160 years of operation, St. Vincent’s saw outbreaks of cholera and AIDS and, as the only level-1 trauma center on the lower west side of Manhattan, also helped many, many patients in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.