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Ellis Hospital to take over Bellevue operations Nov. 1

The Commission cited the hospital's increasing debt as a reason for its closure -- a fact that Bellevue supporters and administrators worked hard to prove false.

Bellevue's long-term future is still uncertain. Connolly has asked the Department of Health to conduct a feasibility study as to the impact three hospital campuses would have versus one or two.

The Berger Commission, which reviewed health-care institutions across New York, has also mandated that St. Clare's Hospital merge with Ellis.

Connolly said the outcome of that study would determine how long Ellis would be operating on Bellevue's campus.

Connolly said the staff at Ellis feels appreciative that something has been decided. He said his staff is looking forward to working with their colleagues at Bellevue.

Saile said the staff at Bellevue, who will soon become Ellis employees, are a bit stressed with the change.

"Change is stressful and does prompt questions, but they are happy that the hospital has been saved and our mission is achieved," Saile said. "They are now just waiting to hear from Ellis as to what the future looks like for them."

Since the Berger Commission's recommendations became public, Bellevue supporters rallied the community and political leaders asking that Bellevue be exempted from the recommendations.

The state Senate passed a bill exempting Bellevue from the Berger law, but the Assembly bill never made it past the Health Committee.

Saile said she was disappointed that Bellevue administrators never received a personal meeting with Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

"For women's sake, I feel we should have at least been given a meeting with him so he could have heard first had about our issues," she said. "We deal with 100,000 women a year. These women want to know that full attention has been paid to this issue."

Saile is the most pleased that Bellevue's struggle has allowed for a discussion about the importance of woman's health issues.

"Many people view this as a real victory for women," Saile said. "In the last few months, we've spoken as much about women's issues was we did in 1920 when we won the right to vote."

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