Letters to the Editor

Mount Sinai’s behavior against Baptist Health ‘appalling’

As a lifelong Miami-Dade resident, whose grandparents lived on Miami Beach and used Mount Sinai Medical Center for their healthcare needs from the hospital’s founding in 1949 until they moved to mainland Miami, I am disappointed in the hospital’s efforts to derail having Baptist Health place an outpatient facility on Miami Beach.

Mount Sinai executives’ behavior, including its private, backroom lobbying to oppose Baptist Health’s membership in the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, has been appalling. Many were startled to read weeks ago that Mount Sinai’s CEO was opposing, as a “private citizen,” Baptist’s request for a Miami Beach facility on the basis of “traffic” and “neighborhood concerns.”

For Mount Sinai leadership to aggressively lobby against an additional, albeit competing, healthcare facility on Miami Beach is deplorable. Let the market decide: If patients choose Mount Sinai over Baptist Health for outpatient services, or vice versa, so be it. If the presence of both entities on Miami Beach results in each doing a better job and raising patient care and service, well, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Mount Sinai’s trumped-up issues of traffic and neighborhood concerns insult the intelligence of any Beach resident or elected official who has seen thousands of residential units and dozens of commercial buildings built on South Beach.

Fortunately, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, first embarrassed by its acquiescence to Mount Sinai a few weeks ago, made the right decision to reverse course and accept an application for membership in its chamber by Baptist Health, one of Miami’s top corporate citizens. What possible rationale could Mount Sinai have had to oppose Baptist’s membership in the chamber?

Together with its position and hardcore lobbying against Baptist Health’s request for an outpatient facility on South Beach, Mount Sinai has appeared disingenuous and deceptive. I hope Miami Beach officials will fairly consider the matter, cast aside Mount Sinai’s irrational protectionism and special interest lobbying, and vote to facilitate more healthcare choices on the Beach.

When it comes to gaining quality healthcare facilities, no decent person or company should oppose that, let alone a competing hospital that should be thinking first of the health and welfare of its community.

Jeff Bartel, Coral Gables