2010-06-25 / Front Page

Major Health Care Cuts Affect Local Hospitals

By Anne Marie Turner
Governor David Paterson’s plan to cut $775 million from state health care services will undoubtedly affect Rockaway’s two private hospitals, Peninsula Hospital Center and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, officials from those hospitals told The Wave this week.

ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL HOSPITAL ST. JOHN’S EPISCOPAL HOSPITAL Peninsula Hospital Center in Arverne will lose $588,000 in state aid, while St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway will lose $827,000.

Officials say these massive cuts come on top of several smaller cuts that have been made over the past few years, and the cuts have them very concerned.

John Gupta, the CEO of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, issued a statement that said, “St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is very concerned about the proposed State budget cuts. Certainly it will make our job of providing quality health care to the Rockaways and people of Queens that much more difficult. While we recognize the need for fiscal responsibility, the health care community has done more than its fair share.”

PENINSULA HOSPITAL CENTER PENINSULA HOSPITAL CENTER “The results of these reductions are evident by the record number of hospital closings in Queens and New York City,” he added.

Peninsula Hospital Center spokesperson Liz Sulik said, “The cuts recently imposed will certainly have a profound effect on all hospitals and nursing homes, including Peninsula Hospital Center, and we are still in the process of determining exactly how these cuts will directly affect us. Health care overall has already borne its fair share of budget cutbacks with this recent cut being the seventh in only two years. Of course, we are hoping that there are no further cuts resulting from the remaining items still being discussed.”

“Peninsula Hospital Center has a 102-year-old tradition of providing excellent health care, programs and services to our community,” Sulik added, “and in spite of the recent challenges, the Hospital Center will continue its tradition.”

According to Daniel Sisto, president of the Health Care Association of New York State (HANYS), “Health care providers have done more than their fair share in shouldering the burden of resolving the state’s fiscal woes.” He continued, “State leaders need to understand that any additional cuts and taxes will translate directly to more layoffs, loss of critical health care services, and the closure of health care institutions.”

These cuts, he said, are just another blow to New York’s fragile health care system. The cuts will cause job loss, cuts in supply, and all around reductions in needed health care services. As for his claim that we can expect future hospitals and health care facilities to close, he pointed to the recent closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.

Though the budgetary cuts will affect health care facilities, it is the residents of the Rockaway that will suffer the most, hospital officials say. They will be the ones losing needed health care services and the ones losing their jobs in the health care field.

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