2014-02-07 / Top Stories

Pols Fight for State Funding for St. John’s

Local elected officials are hoping to give a booster shot to the struggling St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. With $1.2 billion in state capital funding being proposed to help hospitals across the state, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Senator James Sanders are trying to acquire a chunk of it to reimburse Rockaway’s only hospital for its Hurricane Sandy-related expenses.

Goldfeder has introduced legislation in State Assembly which would provide St. John’s Episcopal Hospital with $4.3 million. Senator Sanders introduced the bill in the senate.

“St. John’s Episcopal is the only healthcare facility available to serve nearly 100,000 families on the Rockaway Peninsula,” Goldfeder said in a press release. “We must continue to fight for our most vulnerable communities and ensure they have access to urgent and quality healthcare service without leaving their backyard.”

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital was vital to the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and incurred many additional expenses and losses because of it. Goldfeder is hoping that the hospital can be reimbursed for the costs of services that were provided to the community during and after the storm.

“St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is very grateful for the long-term support of Assemblymember Goldfeder and Senator Sanders and their efforts to restore the millions of dollars expended during Superstorm Sandy,” CEO Richard L. Brown said. “During that difficult time, the only issue was caring for the many sick, elderly and homeless community members who entered our doors seeking shelter and medical assistance - and not the cost or how it would be recouped. These much-needed funds would help our recovery and aid us in upholding our mission of service to the people of the Rockaways.”

Goldfeder sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, asking him to set aside some of the $1.2 billion for St. John’s. The money is set to be distributed to hospitals, nursing homes and long term care facilities that provide community based care. Goldfeder noted that this funding would be crucial to help St. John’s so that it can continue to grow and succeed.

“This funding will go a long way and allow St. John’s Hospital to continue to provide our communities in southern Queens and Rockaway the quality healthcare we deserve,” said Goldfeder. “We must ensure that St. John’s has the tools necessary to protect its current services and expand, in order to serve our community and keep our families healthy for many years to come.”

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is a 257-bed facility that remains as the community’s only hospital after Peninsula Hospital closed in 2012. The hospital serves a community of about 170,000 and has had to close a detox center and lay off employees to cut costs. St. John’s CEO Richard Brown told the New York Daily News that the funds are necessary to expand the insufficient emergency room, built in the 1960s to serve 15,000 patients annually. St. John’s, the only local hospital, now sees 40,000 ER patients each year.

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