Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Group Protests Peninsula Hospital Closure With Sit-In

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TWC News: Group Protests Peninsula Hospital Closure With Sit-In
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Staffers, local residents and elected officials took part in a sit-in Tuesday at Peninsula Hospital in Queens as state health officials announced a day prior the struggling facility will close for good.

The New York State Department of Health has ordered officials at the 104-year-old facility in Arverne to submit a shutdown plan.

No patients have been admitted since the state down the struggling facility's lab down last month. And with the DOH saying it could be months before the lab reopens and paying patients could be admitted again, the trustee overseeing Peninsula's bankruptcy has decided to throw in the towel.

An investor stepped in last year to try to revive the hospital's finances but was unable to turn things around.

Some longtime employees who spoke with NY1 say they've been notified that Friday will be their last day and are questioning the decision.

"The DOH apparently is saying they had no choice but to have close us down because there is no money. However, Revival Home Care, who came to our rescue seven months ago when we were going down the toilet because of mismanagement, said absolutely not. We will do everything we can to keep this hospital serving this community," said Registered Nurse Mary Liz Grosseto.

"We're in a crisis of historic importance in the Rockaways. We are being had. Nobody is giving a straight answer to anyone," said City Councilman James Sanders.

Meantime, residents in southeast Queens are anxious about the medical void. The next closest hospital, St. John's Episcopal, is about two miles away.

"I have a child with cerebral palsy, another with sickle cell. It makes it very inconvenient for me if the child gets sick. Where do I take the kid, St. John's? I don't have a car," said one Arverne resident.

"If Peninsula Hospital were to close the death rate in this area would go up tremendously. And if that happens the onus will be on the DOH's shoulders," said Senior Hospital Fellow Dr. Wayne Dodakian.

The Health Department will monitor the closure and make sure patients have access to their records.

About 1,000 workers will be out of a job when the hospital shuts down.

There are hopes that Peninsula, if it is not fully reopened, can be used as a primary or emergency care center in the future.

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