2007-01-26 / Community

peninsula Hospital Center:

$20 Million For Refinancing, Medical Upgrades
By Howard Schwach

A city agency will meet early next month to vote on a $20 million dollar civic facility revenue bond that would bring new capital to the Peninsula Hospital Center for much-needed medical upgrades, a spokesperson for the hospital center said.

On February 8, The New York City Industrial Development Agency will hold a public hearing to vote on a number of projects, including the bonds for the local hospital center, which is located at 51-15 Beach Channel Drive.

According to a public announcement made by the agency, the money will be used for refinancing a 1998 bond issue, as well as "various capital improvements, renovation and purchase of equipment."

Liz Sulik, the center's Director of External Affairs, says that the changes are more exciting that the formal notice implies.

She lists some of the new amenities that will come to the hospital as a result of the bond money, which includes a new cardiac catheter lab, an upgrade of the radiology department, a new linear accelerator, new operating suites, a new state-of-the art technology system that will allow doctors access to records and information, and

some "general improvements."

"Nothing comes cheap when you're talking about the cost of health care equipment or services," Sulik said.

The Industrial Development Agency is empowered by the State of New York to issue revenue bonds to provide funding for qualified projects, such as hospital upgrades.

The money comes on the heels of a November 2006 report that closed several hospitals in the city and recommended that Rockaway's two hospitals, the Peninsula Hospital Center and St. John's Episcopal Hospital, merge and build one new building in the center of the peninsula that would serve all of Rockaway's health-care needs.

In addition, at last week's "State of the Borough" speech, Borough President Helen Marshall once again called for a completely new hospital in Rockaway as an addition to the two existing units.

Sulik declined to comment on the hospital commission's report calling for a merger.

"We are getting bigger and we are getting better," she said of PHC. "We'll let the rumors lie where they are."

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