St. John's Episcopal Hospital Could Be On Life Support

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Queens residents are worried that the last surviving full-service hospital on the Rockaway Peninsula could be in trouble.

Economic pressure has left St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway under siege, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Thursday.

“They’re struggling and they have to find creative ways to get out of the hole,” Assemblyman Phillip Goldfelder said.

For residents, the hospital could be the difference between life and death.

“They really need it. There’s no other hospital,” Marilyn Williams said.

The Rockaway Peninsula lost Peninsula Hospital to economic pressure in 2012. St. John’s is facing similar pressure.

More than half of the patients at St. John’s are on Medicaid, which means that the hospital has been losing money for  a long time. The new Federal Affordable Care Act could worsen the money crunch.

St. John’s has 257 beds and a busy emergency room that is jammed with patients. It’s the only emergency room in that part of the city.

“There’s about 150,000 people here. We are it,” explained CEO Richard Brown.

For many people the hospital could be the difference between life and death.

“If you’re having a stroke or a heart attack you die,” Williams said.

Officials are hopeful that the state won’t let the hospital die and are pushing for extra aid from Albany. Hospital management is hoping to sell off its nursing homes and find a white knight.

“We’re looking for affiliating with a larger organization,” Brown said.

That white knight could be Catholic Health Services or North Shore Medical Center. which have both felt economic pressure of their own.

St. John’s recently relocated several clinics and closed a substance abuse treatment program as part of cost cutting measures.

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