2012-04-20 / Top Stories

Jones Turns In PHC Operating Certificate

Move Makes New Hospital Unlikely
By Howard Schwach

Sign outside PHC last week tells locals that the hospital is closed. Sign outside PHC last week tells locals that the hospital is closed. The operating certificate for Peninsula Hospital Center has been turned in to the New York State Department of Health as part of a package of papers involved with the complex closing of a state hospital, a spokesperson for the DOH told The Wave on Tuesday afternoon.

Insiders say that turning in the operating certificate is the final nail in the peninsula’s hope that a new hospital could grow quickly in the ashes of the old. Following months of efforts by its staff and the community it served for more than 104 years, the Peninsula Hospital Center closed its doors at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 9. Many locals, including some members of the board of director’s operating committee, continue to believe that the hospital could be taken over by another healthcare agency and reopen.

The key to that possibility, sources say, is whether or not the hospital, through Bankruptcy Trustee Lori Lapin Jones, still held the operating certificate.

Last week, just hours after the hospital was finally closed, Attorney John Macron explored the possibilities.

“The state’s Department of Health has requested that the operating certificate be turned in and it probably will be sometime today or tomorrow,” Macron said early Tuesday morning. “If the operating certificate is in place, the building can be sold as a hospital. If not, then the new owners will have to go through the entire process of going to the state for a certificate all over again.” “If it is not in place,” Macron added, “It will probably never be a hospital again.”

On Tuesday of this week, the state DOH issued a statement in response to a query about the operating certificate by The Wave.

“All of the paperwork associated with the closure plan has been submitted to the department of health,” said Jeffery Hammond, a spokesperson for the agency. Although the spokesperson did not specifically name the operating certificate, it was clear from his statement that it had been returned.

Some of the operating committee members continue to hope that something can be worked out, however.

“We refuse to give up even though we’re closed,” committee member Joe Mure, a local defense attorney, told the Daily News. He added that until the hospital’s operating certificate is revoked by the DOH, a new buyer could in theory come in.

“We are still actively negotiating with potential people to come in and take over the hospital,” Mure concluded. It seems, however, that Mure’s hopes were dashed by the submission of the operating certificate to the DOH.

And, while Mure says that he will continue to “work the phones” to come up with a new White Knight that would save the closed hospital, it appears at this point to local insiders that the potential for that is next to nil.

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