SLCH’s Third Attempt to Close the Cornwall ER

The Cornwall Campus is a shell of its former self, a reflection of the harmful and seemingly endless cuts to core services over the years. Since taking office, I have fought to maintain what’s left while encouraging the hospital’s management to focus energy and resources toward creating a vision for Cornwall that increases quality of care, expands access, and respects the community the campus purports to serve. In addition to lobbying for a $14 million Department of Health grant this summer to sustain the hospital’s operations, I’ve also worked to secure funding to specifically relocate the hospital’s physical therapy center to the Cornwall Campus, a move I expect to occur in the near future.

While the announcement to establish new, ancillary programs on the largely vacant campus is a step in the right direction, I remain deeply disappointed that the hospital’s executive team continues to try and close the Cornwall Emergency Department, a service that has saved countless lives over many generations. I am proud to have fought alongside the community to keep the ER doors open these past three years and I will certainly do my best to fight this latest effort.

If the hospital’s management is able to – in their third attempt – close the ER, I intend to engage with existing urgent care providers in Cornwall, Monroe, and New Windsor, to extend their operating hours as well as work to establish a new urgent care in the Town of Highlands. Furthermore, I will coordinate with fellow policymakers and local ambulance companies to allow patients to be transported to local urgent cares in non-emergency situations rather than face a longer trip to the Middletown or Newburgh ER.

Let me be clear: expanding urgent cares cannot and will not replace the Cornwall Emergency Department, but it can mitigate some of the fallout. The true solution, in my opinion, continues to be relocating a small number of inpatient beds from Newburgh to Cornwall while properly and fully utilizing the Cornwall ER. This would both enhance the campus as well as relieve pressure on the Newburgh ER.  Hospital executives are unfortunately unwilling to entertain this possibility.

The communities served by the Cornwall Campus deserve an excellent system of care – nothing less. I will continue fighting for local services and greater access because it’s the right thing to do.

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