2010-12-03 / Letters

Serving The Community For Many More Years

Dear Editor,

On behalf of Peninsula Hospital Center and Peninsula Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation, I want to thank the editor (in his Opinion piece of November 26, 2010) for reminding our expanding community that the support of our elected officials is essential to the continuing growth and financial stability of the Hospital Center. The reality is that there have been no fewer than nine cuts to Medicaid reimbursement by New York State in the last three years affecting hospitals and nursing homes. It is a known fact that the vast majority of hospitals within the State of New York are operating in the red.

Government and insurance reimbursement rates continue to decline while operating costs and essential technology expenditures continue to escalate. Hospitals are called upon to respond to an increased demand for health care services along with the need to upgrade ever-advancing diagnostic and treatment technology. Clearly, we need our elected officials to recognize the critical importance of health care in our communities and respond accordingly.

Peninsula Hospital Center and Peninsula Center for Extended Care and Rehabilitation is the largest employer on the Rockaway Peninsula. The vast majority of our dedicated, caring staff and attending physicians live here in our community. In 2010 alone, twenty-nine new physicians joined our growing medical and dental staff.

In 2009, Peninsula Hospital Center became a sponsored member of the MediSys Health Network by partnering with Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Brookdale University Hospital & Medical Center. This health system, including Peninsula Hospital Center, brings together a vast amount of network resources which includes 10,000 employees, two Level I Trauma Centers, scores of Ambulatory Care Centers and other health and support assets throughout Queens and Brooklyn. Our new affiliation with the MediSys Health Network has been extremely helpful to the Hospital Center in the recruiting of new board certified physicians, i.e., the new Director of Anesthesia. Our surgical services continue to grow and expand particularly in the area of ambulatory surgery. Additionally and perhaps most noteworthy, MediSys has made network-wide, a significant investment of almost $85 million dollars in the design, purchase, training and installation of the EPIC electronic medical records system (already in the first phases) which is scheduled to “go-live” at Peninsula Hospital Center within 12 to 18 months.

At the same time, while faced with continuing budget and reimbursement reductions, we strive to make wise and significant investments in our future. As the Hospital Center moves forward into the next decade, it will be upgrading its Nuclear Cardiology Department, X-ray technology in its Emergency Department, inpatient Dialysis technology – all within the first quarter of 2011. Other anticipated improvements include new surgical technology, new patient monitoring technology and the expansion of our diagnostic imaging services.

It is certainly true that there are many challenges which affect all of us in the healthcare industry. Additional Medicaid and Medicare cuts are being proposed as this letter is written. More than 100 years ago, Peninsula Hospital Center made a commitment to provide excellent medical care to the Rockaway community. The passage of 103 years and the addition of serious fiscal challenges have not diminished that commitment. Peninsula Hospital Center and the Medi- Sys Health Network remain committed to serving the Rockaway community for many years to come.

ROBERT LEVINE
CEO, PHC

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