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Bellevue Hospital in NYC partially reopens

NEW YORK Bellevue Hospital Center announced on Monday that it will be reopening with limited services about three weeks after the hospital was shut down and evacuated because of superstorm Sandy.

"We are very pleased to welcome back patients and staff to Bellevue," New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) President Alan D. Aviles said in a press release. "It was only a few weeks ago that this historic public hospital suffered devastating damage from a monster storm that required the evacuation of all patients. For the first time in 275 years of serving its community, Bellevue was forced to close. Today, our doors are once again open 24/7 while we continue the slow but certain road toward recovery with a shared sense of purpose focused, as always, on our commitment to our patients and the community we serve."

Beginning on Nov. 19, Bellevue will offer walk-in non-emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer limited adult and pediatric outpatient primary care clinics and routine OB-GYN services to women from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday.

Emergency care services are expected to return in limited capacity in December, and full operations should resume in February 2013.

The hospital, which is located in lower Manhattan, lost its main power during the storm. It proceeded to run on backup generators through the storm, but when the National Guard discovered that there was 17 million gallons of water in the flooded basement, the decision was made to shut the hospital down and relocate the remaining patients on Oct. 31. About 500 patients were moved to other area hospitals.

More work needs to be done, and cleanup efforts will continue. The hospital sustained serious damage to its electrical, water, steam and elevator systems especially due to the flooding in the basement.

Other hospitals that were significantly damaged or were evacuated because of the storm include Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, the Manhattan VA Medical Center and NYU Langone Medical Center in lower Manhattan.

Coney Island Hospital, which moved 200 patients prior to the storm, reopened for walk-in and outpatient services on Nov. 3. Inpatient and emergency room services remain closed. Aviles and hospital staff will speak about the recovery process and tour the facilities -- especially the emergency room which was badly damaged in the storm -- on Tuesday.

One hundred Manhattan VA patients were evacuated prior to the storm due to the hospital's close location to the evacuation zone by the East River. As of Nov. 16, extensive damage to the electrical systems, building circuitry, heating, fire protection, elevator, water pumping, and information technology support structure of the medical center remain. Flood damage had affected over 150,000 square feet of the facility. All Manhattan VA Medical Center staff are working at other facilities, and services usually provided at the location are being taken care of at other Manhattan VA Medical sites. There is no projected date as to when the facility will be fully operational, the hospital said in an emailed statement.

During the storm, NYU Langone Medical Center's main power and two backup generators gave out, forcing the evacuation of 300 patients at the peak of the storm. As of Nov. 16, the facility was offering limited services at its main campus. Physician practices and other practices located in the Skirball location have mostly opened, and the outpatient pharmacy in Schwartz Health Care Center is open between Monday and Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. All other NYU Langone sites are operational and patient appointments have resumed. Tisch Hospital, physician offices located in Schwartz Health Care Center (HCC), 400 East 34th Street (Rusk), outpatient lab testing services, the blood bank, and the emergency room remain closed.

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