The story is still developing, so it’s hard to make out facts from talk. The NY Times story we linked to earlier in the week indicates that the Cathedral Healthcare System spokesman left the door open to keep St James open:
Mr. Middletown would not comment on allegations that word of the closings was kept secret, but said the decision to shut Columbus and St. James, reported on Friday by The Star-Ledger of Newark, was made only on Thursday during a company board meeting. He added that although both hospitals would lose their emergency rooms and acute-care beds, St. James might be able to continue to offer some prenatal and primary care clinic services.
It sounds as though this window might be the substance of the negotiations Amador and Booker conducted with the CHS that Donna blogged about on Friday.
Well, at Wednesday evening’s council meeting, East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador announced that after negotiations involving himself, Mayor Booker and officials the Cathedral Healthcare System, they reached an agreement to keep St. James Hospital in the Ironbound open.
Yesterday, the Star Ledger posted an article about the protest, which brought 700 concerned citizens to the hospital entrance to protest the closing. State Assemblyman Albert Coutinho spoke before protesters to reassure them that the hospital would remain open, but indeed with fewer services.
The crowd cheered as event organizers gave rallying speeches. Applause turned to jeers, however, when Assemblyman Albert Coutinho told protesters Saint James would remain open — albeit with fewer services. The hospital has been dealing with a financial crisis, he said.
“I know this is not what everyone wants to hear, but this is the reality,” Coutinho said. “Urban hospitals are falling left and right.”
So, the hospital will, indeed, stay open. As to whether the city can work out a deal where the hospital retains all of the services that Newarkers depend on is yet to be seen.