The persistent hard work of the Peninsula Hospital Center’s board of directors finally paid off late last week as a deal was finalized to have Revival Home Health Care take control of the hospital and its dayto day operations.
The deal came as good news to the hospital’s more than 700 employees, many of whom live in the Rockaways, who feverishly protested the hospital’s closing in hopes of saving not only their jobs but for many, their local hospital.
The deal is pending final approval by the NYS Department of Health, but PHC’s Board of Directors have agreed to allow Revival to take over the day-to-day operations, effective immediately. The emergency room is open and ambulances are back up and running as of last Friday. They had been diverted elsewhere since August 22.
Todd Miller, who has been named Chief Restructuring Officer, spoke to The Wave this week about Revival’s newest undertaking. He will be working with the staff in place at the Hospital Center to restructure its operations both medically and financially. There is no word yet on whether Revival will retain existing CEO Robert Levine.
According to Miller, Revival is a family of health care companies which include a full service certified home health care agency, medical equipment company, ambulance care, pharmacy and a pending long-term care facility.
“We’re looking at the hospital and nursing home to round our continuum of health care for New York City,” Miller said. “We plan on maintaining Peninsula Hospital as a not-forprofit hospital; strong community hospital operating to meet the needs of the community from both a cultural and clinical perspective.”
Miller says that Revival, an Orthodox Jewish operated organization, will not make PHC a strictly religious operation.
“We’re not an Orthodox Jewish hospital,” he said. “We expect that, just as the employees here are reflective and representative of the diverse population of the Rockaways, we expect patient population to be the same.”
“This is truly a community hospital in every sense,” Miller said. “The people who provide care at Peninsula Hospital also live here and their families access this hospital for health care. The employees were not only fighting for their jobs, but access to health care as well.”
The focus right now Miller said, is to pump some fresh money into the hospital to restore its day-to-day operations and begin investing in some new programs that will lead towards the restructuring of the hospital.
“We need to get the hospital’s financial health back in order,” he said. “We need to backfill certain functions that were not being performed well enough under MediSys’ control.”
Things such as payroll, billing and collections are vital he says, to restructuring the hospital. As far as staff goes, he says it’s too early to tell if there will be any reduction or addition in staff.
“Our objective is to grow the hospital,” he said. “But at the same time, we want to be the best, not the biggest.”
In the interim, Revival has agreed to lend $8 million to the hospital, but wouldn’t comment yet on whether PHC will file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. PHC’s debt is believed to be somewhere in the tens of millions.
“What we really need here is a fresh start. We will address many longstanding financial challenges for this hospital. We are very happy that Peninsula Hospital Center’s 104-year tradition of providing quality health care close to home will continue.” The agreement has received support from the New York State Department of Health and 1199 SEIU. Leah Gonzalez, spokesperson for 1199 SEIU, the union that represents PHC’s employees, says they fully support Revival’s proposal to take over the hospital.
“1199 SEIU has made every effort possible to save Peninsula Hospital from closure,” Gonzalez said this week. “We have reviewed Revival’s efforts and support their proposal. The instability of safety net hospitals is the regrettable result of continued and repeated cuts to healthcare funding. It is more important than ever that we protect vital Medicaid and Medicare funding from additional cuts at the federal level.”
The New York State Department of Health says that, based on the agreement reached last week, they decided to immediately end ambulance diversion and are currently reviewing the deal further.
“We are still in session with PHC and Revival to determine what further reviews and approvals are needed from the state,” DOH spokesperson Jeffrey Gordon said. “Ambulances are running and the emergency room is open but there is no specific time frame for the approval of the deal.”
Revival is a Brooklyn-based health care agency, whose certified Home Health Care branch was founded primarily to serve the Orthodox Jewish community. The agency was founded in 1994 by Rabbi Jacob Spitzer who wanted to find a way to serve the aging holocaust survivor population in New York. The agency has since grown to service patients of non-Orthodox Jewish faith in not only New York City but the lower counties adjacent to the city and Long Island as well.
PHC board of directors worked hard to find an investor such as Revival who was willing to undertake the large task of restructuring the failing hospital. “We’re ecstatic about Revival,” PHC board member Joe Mure said. “They seem very enthusiastic.”
Mure says the deal took a lot of hard work and admitted that at times it was stressful, but in the end it was all about keeping the hospital open, in working order and saving hundreds of jobs on the peninsula.
“We wouldn’t take no for an answer,” he said. “We’re really excited about teaming up with them.”