Jamaica Hospital: A History Of Helping

16 Jamaica Hospital

BY NATALIA KOZIKOWSKA
Staff Writer

Since it was first established in 1891, before Queens County was even a part of the City of New York, Jamaica Hospital’s mission has been to provide the best possible treatment for patients. This is especially true over the last few decades, as the hospital underwent major transformations.

Led by its board of trustees, in the late 1970s, Jamaica Hospital was brought back from the brink of financial doom. Although the odds were stacked against them, in the years that followed, the facility did a complete 180 after it was rebuilt to feature some of the most modern technologies.

Today, Jamaica Hospital is recognized for its world-class medical staff and has established itself as one of the most respectable institutions in the City. The hospital serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn and despite the growing need for healthcare facilities across the country, it has kept up with demand.

According to Michael Hanck, director of public affairs, Jamaica Hospital sees an average of 300 emergency room patients on a daily basis. This is a stark difference from when the hospital first opened more than 120 years ago, in a rented, four-bedroom home in Jamaica.

Between the hospital’s main campus on the Van Wyck Expressway and its multiple ambulatory care centers, which are scattered across Southeast Queens and Brooklyn, the institution sees more than 300,000 outpatient visits annually.

“Our emergency department is open 24/7 for people who need care urgently,” Hanck said. “Our ambulatory care centers are open six days a week and we have weekend and evening hours. So our role is to be there for the community whenever they need us. It always has been.”

The hospital’s ambulatory care centers provide a full range of service, including pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine, gynecology, podiatry, surgery, gastroenterology, social services, dental, cardiology and even dental.

Jamaica Hospital’s emergency department, a Level 1 Trauma Center and Stroke Center, is one of the busiest in New York and the only one in Southern Queens. It is designated as a New York City Hypothermia/Cardiac Destination Facility and also includes a dedicated pediatric emergency room, chest pain center and fast-track for minor injuries.

“Our philosophy was adopted decades ago,” Hanck said. “A long time ago, Jamaica Hospital had a vision of bringing healthcare into the community and becoming an established healthcare center. We’ve moved from a hospital-centric to a patient-centric model and our emphasis is on promoting wellness in the community. By doing this, we are keeping them healthy.”

In addition to many of its unique services, Hanck said the staff at Jamaica Hospital sets the medical center apart from other hospitals in the City.

“Most of our employees are from the community. They have ties to the community and care about the community,” he said. “I think that’s a very unique feature, because a lot of our staff have started here and have grown here and have a stake in the institution.”

Reach Natalia Kozikowska at (718)357-7400 Ext. 123 or nkozikowska@queenspress.com or @nkozikowska.