Connecting the Dots for Mount Vernon BY I.M. Cob

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IMCob_surveillance MOUNT VERNON, NY, August 3, 2010 — Sleepy Hollow demands we wait a few more weeks for the “Novela” to unfurl. White Plains demands a few more months to know its tale. Yonkers attempts to trump Westchester County by its weekly or twice-weekly telling. Today, we find ourselves in the City of Mount Vernon where they are singing “Oh Woe is Me” in unison. The latest mini drama stars Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Mayor Clinton Young, and Westchester County Legislator Lyndon Williams. This week’s tempest in the teapot revolves about Mount Vernon Hospital accepting inmates from Westchester Medical Center (WMC) since Ward 29 closed down.

Legislator Williams, along with Mount Vernon residents were queried as to how they felt about Mount Vernon Hospital receiving those inmates. On the John Q. Public side, residents seemed somewhat ambivalent. The overwhelming answer ran along the lines of, “if it brings in revenue for the hospital, we guess, its OK!”. The politicians however chose to spin it a little differently. Legislator Williams believes Mount Vernon is being dumped upon for socio-economic reasons. Sadly enough, no one is connecting the dots of reality concerning this story. We don’t know why, but one has to wonder if politicians really do take us for dunces. Dot Number One has County Executive Astorino and Westchester Medical Center president and CEO Michael D. Israel negotiating a new contract to Keep Ward 29 open. It seems negotiations broke down and the County went with Correct Care Solutions (CCS) in Tennessee. Suddenly Mr. Israel wants the contract back, but it is now gone, along with the state Medicaid reimbursements. Dot Number Two has Tennessee’s Correct Care Solutions likely coming in to ratify their contract at a different number. Uh oh… now what? The medical center / corrections department have already had their layoffs and there may be no place for ill inmates to go. Dot Number Three has the County scrounging around for a place to treat the inmates. Dot Number Four, lo and behold, its Mount Vernon Hospital ! And guess what?? They already have a secure ward and have been accepting inmates from the state for a long time. Who knew? Dot Number Five, entrenched Mount Vernon politicians and candidates begin to contemplate how to spin this story but its going to be hard to spin when the cash strapped hospital is earning $600,000 plus a year out of this deal. Dot Number Six, game over. What makes this story all the more intriguing is nary a word from Mayor Young’s office. Mount Vernon Chief of Staff Yolanda Robinson normally jumps at any chance to put Mount Vernon in the news but her silence is telling. This reporter would be willing to bet no one knows how to spin plausibility into this tale. If Mount Vernon’s elected officials choose to say anything, perhaps it would be to repeat how Sound Shore Medical Center, which oversees the Mount Vernon Hospital, has stripped the community of the only maternity ward, pediatric center, and operating room deemed vital to the sixth largest city in Westchester County. Making this a campaign issue for November 2010, or to further a particular parties’ below everyone’s dignity. This is the sort of grand standing that makes the general public weary of political posturing. But its angry August, and we suspect attacks will soon ensue. The stories will remain the same; only the faces change. Many in Mount Vernon will agree the city needs a change in leadership but if those elected cannot play a simple game of connect the dots, they will unlikely earn too many votes of endearment.

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eHeziConnecting the Dots for Mount Vernon BY I.M. Cob

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