PHC Supporters Rally To Save Hospital
The rally provided more questions than answers as board members Steve Greenberg and Joe Mure addressed the crowd.
Greenberg recalled how it looked as if the hospital was going under last summer, but was back on track financially earlier this year.
He demanded an investigation of why the state’s Department of Health was not helping the hospital re-certify their lab, rather than closing the whole facility.
He said that St. Johns Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway is overcrowded and cannot serve all the residents of the peninsula.
If the hospital is lost, Greenberg promised to the crowd to continue to work to have some medical facility located at the site. Greenberg said that there was one last minute undisclosed effort they would try to stop the closing.
Greenberg said that he understands that the State Department of Health does not like Steve Zakheim because of past activities in the health care field, but that Zakheim has helped sick children to get their last wish. My heart is broken, said Greenberg, why doesn’t the DOH help us?
Joe Lynch, Chairman of the Breezy Point Cooperative, said he represents the 2,030 families on the western end of the peninsula. He said that technicalities were being used to take health care away from our residents. Larry Love, representing Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, said that our legislators were in Albany completing the budget. Goldfeder, he said, was meeting with the DOH and other state officials to keep the hospital open.
Msgr. Curran of Breezy Point, thanked the dedicated staff of peninsula and urged them to take care of each other. He asked God to bless our community and the people of our community.
Joe Mure, a local attorney, known for personally raising funds for the hospital, told how they have been working night and day to find a solution. Amanda Kohut representing Congressman Bob Turner said that the hospital was of great concern to the congressman. She said that Turner and Councilman Ulrich had sent a letter to the DOH demanding answers to our questions about the closing.
Lew Simon, Democratic District Leader, led the rally with his bullhorn.
He showed a notarized letter from the husband of the owner of Revival, Steve Zakheim promising that he and his wife, Susan Faye Zakheim, would donate $1,000,000 to the Peninsula Hospital to finance the effort to keep the hospital open. This money would be used to pay the expenses that the hospital will need to get its lab inspected and approved by the DOH. This donation would be made if the NYS DOH would grant the Peninsula Hospital an extension to the closure and there is assurance it will be enough to allow the hospital to complete the process to re-open. Zakheim states that he has $20 million in resources he could use for the hospital. Simon announced that the community would rally outside the hospital on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.
The rally concluded with the crowd shouting with Simon, “What do we want?” “Keep the hospital open.” “When do we want it?” “Now”.