More than 100 people rallied against St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital's proposal to cut emergency room hours at its Cornwall Campus. The change could save the hospital more than a million dollars, but as YNN's Meredith Zaritheny reports, protesters say there are some things more important than the money.
CORNWALL, N.Y. -- "I can't tell you how many times I've had the ambulance take me to this emergency room and be treated," said Dorris Kozika, a Highland Falls resident.
For 88-year-old Dorris Kozika, keeping the emergency room open around the clock at the Cornwall Campus of St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital, she says, could mean the difference between life or death for her and thousands of others in surrounding communities.
"I have A-Fib. If you have an attack in the middle of the night, what do you do if you live in Highland Falls?" asked Kozika.
Kozika is just one of more than a hundred people that came out to rally against the hospital cutting back its emergency room hours. Hospital officials are looking to close the emergency room between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m., saving the hospital a projected $1.2 million.
"They're putting their pockets ahead of the community’s needs and you've got five towns minimum that rely on this hospital in case there is an emergency," said Assemblyman James Skoufis.
Emergency room patients would instead go to the hospital's Newburgh campus, which is about five miles away. Assemblyman Skoufis is calling on the community to sign a petition in opposition of the hospitals plan that will be sent to the Department of Health. Skoufis may be collecting signatures, but other lawmakers say something more needs to be done save these critical ER hours.
"If you're going to close the emergency room half the time, how about you get half your tax exemption taken away? Maybe that will make them rethink doing it," said Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis.
"We need this hospital," said Koziak.
YNN reached out to St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital and a spokesperson said the hospital will not be commenting at this time.