SLCH to Close its Cornwall Emergency Department


CORNWALL, NY (July 21, 2016) – After careful consideration, the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) Board of Trustees has authorized the closure of its Cornwall emergency department (ED) to align itself with healthcare reform trends and initiatives. SLCH will close the Cornwall ED on October 1, 2016.

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Throughout the last several years, SLCH has worked to enhance the services provided at both its campuses, specifically transforming the Cornwall facility into a robust outpatient center with cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, outpatient radiology and laboratory services, ambulatory surgery, radiation oncology, an infusion center, sleep medicine, physical therapy, a balance center and pain management. The Cornwall campus also includes a medical office building that houses primary care physicians offering extended hours and an array of services, all of which are aligned with delivery system transformation.

Under the direction of delivery system redesign, New York State is requiring hospitals to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 25%.  SLCH has already begun to see this shift, and the Board has recognized that utilization of the Cornwall ED has continued on a steady decline for seven consecutive years. The Cornwall ED saw an average of fewer than two patients per hour in 2015. Of those, fewer than one in ten needed hospitalization, which occurs on the main campus in Newburgh.

“As healthcare evolves, we must look at all programs and services to ensure that we are best meeting the needs of our patients in a way that maintains our commitment to quality and is financially sustainable for the entire health system,” said Michelle Rider, Esq., Chair of the SLCH Board of Trustees. “SLCH is committed to continue providing essential health care services to our community.”

SLCH has identified that closing the Cornwall ED would result in a $3.2 million improvement on the hospital’s bottom line.  Moreover, the continued operation of the Cornwall ED threatens the viability of the entire health system, one that serves roughly 250,000 patients annually around the Hudson Valley.
SLCH_Town_Hall_Digital.jpgSLCH believes the closure of the Cornwall ED will not impede access to care, as the hospital’s Newburgh campus emergency department is located roughly five miles away from the Cornwall campus. Additionally, five urgent care centers have opened within nine miles of the Cornwall ED in recent years. This, coupled with the expansion of primary care throughout SLCH’s service, area make two emergency departments within five miles of each other a model that is no longer sustainable.

“Providing the highest quality of care in the most appropriate setting is a top priority at SLCH,” said Joan Cusack-McGuirk, SLCH Interim President and CEO. “As healthcare delivery continues to evolve, the manner in which we provide such care must also change. The repurposing of the Cornwall campus is a prime example of that.”


SLCH administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that the Newburgh campus is equipped to handle a potential increase in volume as a result of this closure. Valet parking in the overnight hours will be provided. In addition, the hours of the Newburgh ED fast track will be expanded.

About St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital
St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) is a not-for-profit community hospital with campuses in Newburgh and Cornwall, NY. The hospital is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the Hudson Valley and has achieved excellence in the delivery of compassionate and comprehensive health care services.  SLCH has received the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award for five consecutive years. The Joint Commission noted SLCH for excellence in Key Quality Measures in management of Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Stroke and Surgical Care. SLCH is also recognized as an industry leader in using information technology to improve patient care, by winning the Most Wired Award for the second year in a row. In January 2016, SLCH officially partnered with Montefiore Health System to strengthen the delivery of health care locally and enhance access to exceptional specialty care for Hudson Valley residents.