2012-05-04 / Editorial/Opinion

A Common Sense Solution To Our Hospital Problem

Lori Lapin Jones, who has never been elected to make the big decisions on issues that affect the people of Rockaway, is now in charge of one of the biggest issues and might well be in charge of who lives and who dies. While that might sound to some like hyperbole, it is not. Jones will soon decide what will be done with the shuttered Peninsula Hospital Center and her decision will be based not on what is best for the community, but what is best for the creditors who are owed millions by the hospital. She has the legal right to do what she must to recover that money for the healthcare union, MediSys and the myriad of businesses and individuals who are owed money, but we believe she also has a moral imperative to do what is right for Rockaway. There is a common sense solution to the hospital problem that she should broker and vet. St. John’s Episcopal Hospital should take over PHC, consolidating administrative functions into one and reopening such vital functions as an emergency room and urgent care facilities back to the middle of the peninsula. This can only be done, we believe, if Local 1199 of the Healthcare Union, the representatives of the hospital’s staff, waives some of the millions it is owed in order to save the 700 jobs that were lost when PHC closed. With a deal like that in hand, perhaps SJEH could be induced to move some functions to PHC and consolidate others in order to reopen the vital facility. Without such a deal, however, there is little chance the Far Rockaway facility could make the merger work. What it comes down to for the union is a quick infusion of cash or jobs for its members. To us, it is a no-brainer, but it might be otherwise for the union. Of course, that might not be a good deal for Lapin, who is beholden to the Eastern District Bankruptcy court and the hospital’s creditors. We will have to wait and see.

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