A4J Challenges Closing of Beth Israel Hospital in Downtown NYC

A4J commenced a lawsuit on behalf of the Progressive Action of Lower Manhattan and two residents of downtown Manhattan challenging the closing of units of Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital (“Beth Israel”).   The proceeding is brought pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) and Article 78 of the CPLR (alleging violations of the Certificate of Need process) to compel the N.Y. State Department of Health to reverse its decision to approve the partial closure of Beth Israel, to require the commencement of appropriate review under SEQRA and the N.Y. State Public Health Law, to enjoin Beth Israel from engaging in further action to close its hospital, and to compel the reopening of those portions of Beth Israel which have been closed.

Mount Sinai Medical Center merged with Continuum Health Partners in September of 2013, creating a large hospital network stretching across Manhattan. Through the merger, Beth Israel Medical Center (located at First Avenue and 16th Street in Lower Manhattan), Roosevelt Hospital on West 59th Street, St. Luke’s Hospital in Morningside Heights and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in the East Village all joined the Mount Sinai Health System. Mount Sinai officials touted the merger as having the potential to improve quality of care, but unions representing the hospital workers immediately voiced concerns about downsizing, closing or relocation of some services within the sprawling network.

Less than three years later, in May of 2016, the Mount Sinai system announced plans to close the 800-bed Mount Sinai Beth Israel (“MSBI”) Medical Center. Officials said the facility would be replaced with a new 70-bed Mount Sinai Downtown Beth Israel Hospital and emergency room and with a network of outpatient centers and doctors’ offices.  Mount Sinai officials insist that the new 70-bed hospital will be sufficient to serve the needs of Lower Manhattan residents. However, community residents and public officials representing them have voiced concerns. “The downsizing of Beth Israel hospital to a 70-bed medical/surgical center may be inadequate and will cause significant harm to health care services in Lower Manhattan,” the Village Independent Democrats stated in a resolution adopted in December 2017.

In the last decade, Lower Manhattan has witnessed a significant decrease in medical services, specifically hospital beds, specialty clinics and emergency centers attached to full service hospital. Residents had already been affected by the sudden closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in 2010. Needs assessments performed after that closure demonstrated that residents of Lower Manhattan were relying on Beth Israel for a significant portion of their care. In fact, Beth Israel’s inpatient admissions increased 16 percent after the closure of St. Vincent’s and its emergency room visits increased 12 percent, with Beth Israel absorbing over half of St. Vincent’s emergency room patients.

In addressing the Department of Health’s Certificate of Need (CON) review requirements, Mount Sinai officials have packaged the closing of hospital services at the existing Beth Israel facility into multiple narrowly-framed applications that have been deemed to meet the current CON qualifications for what is called “limited review” by DOH staff. This is instead of “full review,” which would be conducted at public meetings.  Mount Sinai has filed, received approval for and completed six separate limited review applications to decertify or close services at Beth Israel or to add services at its satellite locations.

See the plaintiffs’ Verified Amended Petition and Memorandum of Law below.

1st Amended verified petition-c

Memo of Law in Support of Amended Petition

12/10/18 ER School Board President Wieder Attacks NYS Equivalency Guidelines

Thousands of children are getting almost no education in many yeshivas in East Ramapo and other parts of NY.  In response to the updated guidelines on equivalency of education in non-public schools issued by NY State, East Ramapo School Board President Aaron Wider has effectively “declared war” on the State Board of Education.

See a brief video clip at this link:


12/4/18 – YAFFED Announces NYS Release of New Guidelines For Non-Public School Curriculum

YAFFED announced the following on Dec. 4/18:

(see NYS Guidelines here…http://www.nysed.gov/nonpublic-schools/substantial-equivalency


After years of hard work, and with the help of average people like you, New York State felt the pressure building and finally released updated guidelines pertaining to the requirement for nonpublic schools, including Yeshivas, to provide an education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.

The new guidelines mince no words, spelling out the subjects that need to be taught and the number of minutes each subject needs to be taught for.

This is far from done since it gives local districts plenty of time to go and inspect all schools before implementing actual changes.
And Yeshiva leaders have vowed to fight this, and have declared “war” against the state.


11/1/18 New Documentary on East Ramapo by Award Winning Film Maker

Outsider is a short documentary that explores how activists are fighting for better education for students of both public schools and private yeshivas, fire officials are fighting the widespread epidemic of illegal housing and over development, and long time residents are reflecting back on how exactly this sudden and drastic change occurred.

It is produced by award-winning New York and Boston based filmmaker Noah Graham, who grew up in Rockland County.

You can be a part of this project by supporting it on Kickstarter.  Here is the link…


Daily News 9/11/18: Cuomo Calls For Expansion of 9/11 Victims’ Fund

Gov. Cuomo calls on expansion of 9/11 victims fund amid concerns money could run out

Gov. Cuomo calls on expansion of 9/11 victims fund amid concerns money could run out
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo wants an expansion of the 9/11 Victim’s Fund. (Michael Dabin / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Gov. Cuomo called for a renewal and expansion of the 9/11 Victims Fund Monday following a Daily News report revealing that money meant to compensate people impacted by the terror attacks could run out sooner than expected.

“Some are suggesting that we dilute compensation to the next rounds of applicants due to diminution of funding. That is exactly the wrong approach. All are equally heroes to the nation, and all should be equally and fully funded,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While significant funding is still available, it is critical that full funding is available for all who need it in the years to come, and I call on Congress to renew and expand the program. In New York, we will always stand with the victims of the attacks, and I will work with the New York delegation to lead the effort in ensuring that everyone receives the fair and ample compensation they deserve.”

Read more…

Daily News 9/11/18: Congress Must Continue 9/11 Victims’ Aid

What we owe them now: Congress must continue 9/11 victims’ aid

What we owe them now: Congress must continue 9/11 victims' aid
Help them (Kris Connor For New York Daily News)

Not for a moment should anyone sick from exposure to the toxic stew at the World Trade Center on and following 9/11 have to worry about whether aid will be there for them.

But with $4.2 billion already spent on awards out of a $7.3 billion fund and more than 600 new claims filed a month, it’s almost certain that the vital WTC Victims Compensation Fund will run dry before all in need get aid — including an unknown number of recovery workers and others bound to eventually develop an insidious form of lung cancer that takes decades to appear.


Congress cannot, must not, leave those who worked under grueling conditions to seek survivors and recover remains at Ground Zero — who heeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s assurances at the time that airborne toxins posed no threat to health — to wither for want of will to see aid through until the job is done.

Nor should residents, workers and students whose world turned disaster zone be denied any rationed help they need now and into the future.


Ailing first responders hauled down to the Capitol repeatedly for more than a year urging renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. It lapsed for months before Congress finally approved a five-year expansion at the end of 2015.

That can’t happen again. Well before the funds fall short, Congress needs to step up and make sure funding for victims’ compensation and health care remains in full force.

Read more…

Newsday 9/10/18: There is Still Help for Those Who Helped After 9/11


There’s help for those who helped on 9/11

Fewer than 1,000 federal agents and other employees who worked at Ground Zero or whose offices were in the federal buildings that dot lower Manhattan have registered with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

The “Tribute in Light” rises above the skyline of lower Manhattan (pictured here from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade) for the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer


Among the police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who rushed to the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, were thousands of others who responded.

That includes about 3,500 federal law enforcement officers, such as Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, U.S. marshals and others. In the months that followed, thousands more federal workers helped at the smoldering pile and the surrounding area.

Since the terror attack, 15 FBI agents have died of 9/11-related illnesses. Three of them died since March.

And yet, fewer than 1,000 federal agents and other employees who worked at Ground Zero or whose offices were in the federal buildings that dot lower Manhattan have registered with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.