By Paula Katinas
BAY RIDGE — Leaders of Community Boards 10 and 11 haven’t given up their effort to get an emergency room built at the site of the former Victory Memorial Hospital, according to Board 11 Chairman Bill Guarinello, who said a renewed fight has already begun.
“Community Board 11 and Community Board 10 are working together,” Guarinello told Board 11 members at the board’s March 8 meeting.
State Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblyman Peter Abbate “are leading the discussion,” Guarinello said.
The goal is to get New York State to approve the idea of putting an emergency room in the urgent care center run by the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center at the site at 699 92nd St., where Victory Memorial Hospital used to be.
The idea was slapped down by a state panel, but Guarinello said local officials will keep trying.
Victory Memorial Hospital closed in 2010. The urgent care center, known as SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge, is a health care facility that handles non-emergency cases.
The closest emergency room to Bay Ridge is at Lutheran Medical Center at 150 55th St. in Sunset Park. Emergency cases are also brought to Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 10th Ave. in Borough Park.
Abbate, who said elected officials are “trying to get more input,” added that he believed the services provided by SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge could be expanded to include an emergency room.
“We can expand it. There’s no excuse,” he told Board 11 members.
Officials are working to “make sure we can start building up the health care now,” Abbate said.
The communities of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst need an emergency room, according to Guarinello.
“South Brooklyn is really not covered adequately,” he said.
The effort to expand SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge to include an emergency room ran into a brick wall recently when a commission making recommendations to Governor Andrew Cuomo on health care facilities in New York State suggested that an expansion was not necessary.
Abbate recalled the effort that elected officials and community leaders made to try to save Victory Memorial Hospital.
“We really couldn’t mobilize the community,” he admitted.
Rallies that were held to drum up public support for keeping the hospital open drew dozens of people, not hundreds, as officials had hoped.
This time around, officials hope to be more successful in getting the public on board, Guarinello said.
“We’re going to take it in easy steps,” he said.
Abbate and State Sen. Marty Golden recently led a discussion with representatives from SUNY Downstate, Lutheran Medical Center and Maimonides Medical Center about health care needs in South Brooklyn.
Marie Mendez, the site administrator for SUNY Downstate at Bay Ridge, attended the Board 11 meeting and offered board members an overview of the facility.
“We are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. We want to welcome you at that site,” she said.
The facility offers ambulatory surgeries, is equipped with a radiology department, and provides free prostate cancer screenings, Mendez said.