The one hospital on the Rockaways may quickly lose nearly all of its beds underneath a proposal to transform it right into a “micro-hospital” — which might additionally see as much as 1,000 jobs misplaced.
State well being division officers have backed plans to successfully intestine St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, regardless of its pivotal position in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the Queen’s Eagle mentioned.
The hospital handled Queens’ first-known COVID-19 case almost a yr in the past, and is within the zip code that had the Massive Apple’s second-highest loss of life fee in the course of the peak, the native newspaper mentioned.
St. John’s is already the one full-service hospital on the peninsula — with 257 beds and 1,126 workers — however a consulting agency working with the state has made ideas to drastically minimize capability.
Essentially the most excessive proposal would remodel it right into a 15-bed “micro-hospital” — which a supply instructed the Eagle is the Well being Division’s favored proposal.
Mayor Invoice de Blasio on Wednesday mentioned he was “1,000 p.c” towards the plan — saying the state is “out of contact with actuality.”
“The Rockaways have taken it on the chin for generations,” he mentioned, insisting the realm wants extra medical companies slightly than being additional “disadvantaged.”
“I don’t understand how the state may think about akin to a plan,” he mentioned at his each day briefing.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards instructed The Publish that the proposal was a “loss of life sentence” for the local people.
“St. John’s Hospital serves black and brown communities and it’s the one hospital on the Rockaways peninsula,” mentioned, including that pregnant ladies would have “to go away the peninsula to have a child.”
“Is that this how we deal with our well being care heroes. We’re going to place them on the meals line?” he requested.
“I’m calling on the state to rescind this proposal. We have to construct extra hospitals in Queens,” he insisted.
St. John’s Board Chair Rev. Lawrence Provenzano mentioned the transfer would minimize 1,000 workers and devastate the predominantly low-income and working-class communities who rely upon the realm’s solely hospital.
“How will you scale back well being companies from this group after they clearly want extra?” Provenzano instructed the Eagle.
“What number of extra individuals would have died if the Division of Well being’s plan for St. John’s to turn out to be a 15-bed micro-hospital would have occurred earlier than the height of the pandemic?” he added.
The 15-bed micro-hospital is essentially the most excessive of the proposals outlined. One other would flip it right into a 30-bed “well being plex” with 337 workers, whereas the least drastic would maintain 91 of the present 257 beds by eliminating obstetrics, new child and pediatric companies, the outlet mentioned.
Division of Well being spokesperson Erin Silk mentioned the state “has been working with the administration of St. John’s Episcopal for a number of years in an effort to realize improved well being outcomes and entry within the Far Rockaways.”
St John’s agreed to work with one other hospital, Mount Sinai South Nassau, which employed ToneyKorf Companions “to assist develop strategic choices,” Silk instructed the Eagle in an announcement.
“The Division appears ahead to working with the management of St. John’s Episcopal in reviewing these choices, amongst others, and is continuous to offer substantial working assist to St. John’s Episcopal,” she mentioned.
Although cost-cutting measures have been thought of for years, the severity of the proposals nonetheless shocked group leaders.
“We’re ready to gear up for a battle,” Richards mentioned. “If anybody thinks they’re going to shut this hospital, they’re incorrect.”