For the first time since St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital announced a plan to cut emergency room hours at their Cornwall Campus, hospital officials are speaking out about why they're pursuing that as an option. YNN's Meredith Zaritheny has more.
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital's top leadership sat down to talk cost cutting measures, which include plans to cut emergency room hours in half at their Cornwall campus.
"It was in the best interest for the entire system to reduce costs, to reduce the hours at the Cornwall Campus," said Robert Lee, St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital President.
This move, officials say, will save the hospital more than million dollars and allow them to use that money to provide better care at a lower cost to patients.
"Obviously, we have to reduce the cost of care and we have to make sure we provide the most efficient care," said Lee.
The plan to cut ER hours has sparked protests and outrage in the community.
"It's basic. It's life and death for some people. You've got people coming over the mountain from Highlands and they can't afford to go to Newburgh," said Assemblyman James Skoufis.
With the plan to send all emergency patients to the Newburgh campus between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., local leaders and some area residents say that's just not realistic.
"You can't pick when you're going to get sick, when you're going to need help from an emergency room," said Brendan Coyne, Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor.
The ER at the Newburgh Campus of St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital will continue to operate at 24 hours and is only a little more than five miles away from the Cornwall Campus. Right now, hospital officials say they're still waiting to hear if the New York State Department of Health approves this measure.