Today’s news:

Montefiore may create an advisory board for new Westchester Square facility

Bronx Times

Depending on who you talk to, there is an advisory board for the Westchester Square Medical Center taken over by Montefiore Medical Center. Or there isn’t.

A Montefiore spokesperson said they were “not aware” on any advisory board being created for the soon-to-be-renamed Montefiore Westchester Square.

But Community Board 10 chairman John Marano said that Montefiore had asked the board to supply names for a community advisory panel.

Several local people confirmed they were asked to sit on such a panel.

Einstein and Jacobi medical centers have similar boards, and consumer or community advisory boards are common for many medical facilities.

The new Westchester Square facility would have an emergency room and ambulatory care with specialty services, but will not be a full-service hospital.

“They don’t need to do an advisory board, from what I understand,” Marano said of Montefiore, “but felt that it would be a good idea. We said, ‘Yes, we thought it would be a good idea also.’”

Marano said the idea of an advisory panel came up after a January board health and human services committee meeting.

He said among those recommended were Deborah Hunt, a nurse who chairs the committee; Lou Rocco, president of the Westchester Square Civic Association; Mohamed Ali of the square’s Muslim community, and local activist Hannah Acampora.

Marano stressed it is still a tentative plan.

“I don’t want to lose an opportunity to have an advisory board,” he said. “They are going to be the eyes and the ears of Montefiore. They are going to bring the different needs, wants and concerns of the community.”

Several Westchester Square area community leaders contacted by the Bronx Times Reporter confirmed that they were asked by CB 10 about sitting on an advisory board. They included Sandi Lusk of the Westchester Square Zerega Improvement Organization; Lisa Sorin, excutive director of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District; and Rocco.

“Much needed input”

Rocco said he hoped the board would provide some much needed input between the community and Montefiore. While there were issues in the community with the existing hosptial, he said he was glad the building would not be vacant.

“The building is not going anywhere,” he said.

Some of the community’s concerns include idling ambulances causing pollution, he said.

Montefiore’s spokeswoman did not confirm that they are creating a community advisory panel, but said they are already working with the community.

“Montefiore has a history of being a committed member of the communities in which we operate,” she said a statement from Montefiore. “In that tradition, we have already been working closely with members of the Westchester Square community and feel very grateful for the the input and support we’ve already received from so many. We look forward to offering accessible, high quality health care services in the neighborhood and to deepening our engagement with our community partners over time.”

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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