Threatened Closure Of Peninsula Hospital In Queens Worries Residents, Staff

If Doors Shut Only One Facility -- St. John's -- Would Be Left To Serve 100,000

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens hospital is in desperate need of a lifeline.

Peninsula Medical Center is going bankrupt and facing closure. Now, employees and patients say the fight is on, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

It’s the talk among patients and staff in the Edgemere section of Queens.

“No, we cannot close the hospital. It’s not acceptable, not acceptable,” one resident said.

“You don’t have to wait four hours to see a doctor. They let you right in with the children,” said Michael Pruitt of Far Rockaway.

The threatened closure of the 104-year-old facility would leave only one hospital serving the Rockaways and its 100,000 residents, with new beachfront condos ready to bring more.

“It’s a shame, really. Everybody in this community, including myself and my family, we’re all from this neighborhood,” X-ray technician Kevin Harnisher said.

Harnisher said he loves his job, but is one of about 1,000 workers facing unemployment.

The 174-bed facility is said to be $60 million in debt, much of it owed to vendors, coupled with losses in Medicaid funding. Chronic arthritis sufferer Ruby Smith has lived across the street for decades.

“There’s only two hospitals out here. We really need Peninsula,” the 72-year-old said.

In a statement, a hospital spokesperson said, “[We have] attempted to make Peninsula financially viable in the current difficult economic market. Without a long-term solution that puts the hospital on the path to fiscal recovery. An organized closure may be the only option.”

Longtime nurses have planned a rally for next Wednesday to fight the closure.

“There’s no way one hospital in this community will last. It just cant happen,” one nurse said.

The next nearest hospital is St. John’s, about 40 blocks away. Residents said its already crowded and not full service, meaning trauma cases — like gunshot wounds and other major medical emergencies — would go to Jamaica Hospital, 10 miles away.

If Peninsula Hospital does shut down, it would be the fourth hospital to close in Queens since 2008.

  • Arline Handin

    To Rick

    Aliens (spelled with one ‘l’) should not get any medical treatment nor should they remain in this country, I was not talking about aliens. There are many others on medicaid. Or didn’t you know that !

  • Arline Handin

    To Dan Te – I think you’ve got it backwards. There are too many uninsured patients which resulted in the fiscal problems.

  • rick

    i thought illegal alliens are good for country too bad queens hahaha

  • Pamela LoGiudice

    For all of those who would rather criticize and judge rather than show support: SHAME ON YOU. It’s bankrupt bc there is more money going out than there is coming in. BC the hospital has no source of additional revenue set up like thousands of other hospitals.. BC the board LIED and tried to hide the financial status of the hospital and had they disclosed that information action could have been taken way before it got to this state. Bc the majority of the patients are medicaid/medicare recipients. No hospital can survive like that. But I guess those patients don’t matter. The hospital is jam-packed every day. They get very little funding, their equipment is old, but they do the best they can with what they are given and the patients and the community appreciate all that they do. No one expects a rally to solve the problem. The hope is that the situation will get the attention it deserves. This will be the 4th hospital to close in Queens in 3 years.. that’s outrageous! The State needs to STEP UP and do SOMETHING. Our Elected Officials need to step up and do something. I don’t know about you but having to be put on a waiting list for a treatment I needed yesterday is NOT OK with me. Turning out Hospice patients is NOT OK. If in need of emergency care, driving over ten miles, and along the VAN WYCK no less, or having to go to ANOTHER BOROUGH to get to a hospital with a trauma unit is NOT OK. And it SHOULD NOT be ok with anyone else!

  • DanTe

    And what exactly does a “rally” do? NOTHING.

    Stupid idiots and their noises.

    Close the obviously useless hospital – useless as in hardly anyone uses it. If people used it, it wouldn’t be bankrupt.

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