2005-03-04 / Community

PHC Officials Sound Off About Crain’s Story

Last Week, Crain’s New York Business did a story that noted that Peninsula Hospital Center in Rockaway was one of eight hospitals that are candidates for closure because they are running in the red or because they duplicate services of other, nearby hospitals. The following comments were made too late for inclusion in last week’s front page story, but were deemed important enough to run this week.

Comments of Liz Sulik, PHC’s Director of External Affairs

As many of you have read, Crain’s New York Business newspaper published an article that stated Peninsula Hospital Center was on a list of hospitals “ripe for shuttering.” The alleged sources for that article were an “unnamed” group of Chief Executive Officers of other New York hospitals and three consultants who may well have their own self-interests at the heart of their opinions. Unfortunately, the Daily News and the New York Post also picked up on this story, as did some of the television news stations.

The Greater New York Hospital Association has issued a strong statement calling the article irresponsible and we are drafting a letter to the editor in response to Gale Scott’s article. As confirmed by the Governor’s office late on Tuesday, no hospitals have been scheduled for closure nor have any been singled out for closure – most certainly not Peninsula Hospital Center. The Governor has suggested forming a commission to look into the possibility of reducing hospital beds in New York State, but at this point, such a commission has not been put in place. The commission, if put in place, will also carefully and responsibly consider the community’s needs and economic factors in addition to many other aspects before making any recommendations.

Many challenges lie ahead for the health care industry and Peninsula Hospital Center remains steadfast in its mission to meet those challenges as we move forward. We are continually working with our elected officials, our union leaders, our staff and community leaders to secure the future financial viability of the Hospital Center and, we will continue to make capital investments in new technology, programs and services to enhance the quality health care we now provide.

Peninsula Hospital Center will continue for many more years to fulfill its vital role in the community as a provider of quality health care and of services not available elsewhere in its catchment area, and will continue to provide increasingly excellent programs and services to address all the healthcare needs of those we serve.

Robert Levine, CEO of

Peninsula Hospital Center

Peninsula Hospital Center is astonished by the information provided by people unfamiliar with the quality health care services provided by all of our excellent and dedicated employees along with our medical and dental staff who care for the residents of Rockaway. We continue to see the hospital and nursing home and rehabilitation center’s business growing, our emergency department and outpatient visits continue to increase and with the anticipated population growth in our catchment area, the demand for the Hospital Center’s services will only increase. We are the largest employeer in the Rockaway community and for almost 100 years, have helped to meet the health care needs of this peninsula. We are the only designated Stroke Center for Southeast Queens and the Rockaways and coupled with our Traumatic Brain Injury Unit, we have excelled in providing many unique services not found in our region.

Joel Miele, President of the Board of Directors, Peninsula Hospital Center

The craziness in the Crain’s article is that the State Health Department has always treated Rockaway as one health district in terms of allowing either this hospital or St. John’s to provide new services to the Rockaway community. If we asked for a new piece of equipment and St. John’s already had that equipment, we were turned down. The Health Department looks at the two hospitals on the peninsula as complimentary.

If either hospital closed, it would affect the health care in the entire community. We do not duplicate services with other Rockaway hospitals.

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