BY JON CRONIN
With four Queens hospitals closing in the past several years, the borough’s healthcare needs are vastly underserved, borough leaders said.
At a recent Queens Chamber of Commerce breakfast, Queens borough President Melinda Katz said that southeast Queens has been hit particularly hard following the closure of several hospitals— such as Mary Immaculate and Holliswood Hospital— in recent years.
She noted that a number of other hospitals— including St. John’s Queens Hospital in Elmhurst, Far Rockaway’s Peninsula Hospital Center and Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills— have closed during the past decade due to the sites’ beds not being filled.
“One of the things that we’ve been looking at over the past few years is developments that are also looking to put in free standing ERs,” said Katz.
Katz said that she recently took tours of Manhattan sites— such as the former St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, which is a free standing ER— with U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and she believes that similar ERs would help southeast Queens. She said that many borough residents have to travel to Brooklyn or the North Shore for their healthcare.
The free standing ER opened in 2014 and was run by then-North Shore Jewish Long Island Health System, now known as Northwell Health.
In Queens, during the past few years, Northwell Health has opened several urgent care clinics in the northern section of the borough.
For Southeast Queens, the Community Healthcare Network recently announced a $7 million expansion of its site at 97-04 Sutphin Blvd in Jamaica, which accepts emergency walk-ins. The project, which was partially funded by $1 million from Katz’s office, will include the construction of a second and third floor addition and expand its capacity to provide medical, dental and supportive services by adding 10 exam rooms and a triage room at the health center.
Another $19 million expansion is on the way at the Joseph P. Addabbo Community Family Health Center in Arverne.
The expansion, which is expected to be completed by spring 2019, will accept emergency walk-ins. A total $3 million of the project is funded by Katz’s office.
The 20,689-square-foot expansion would bring the site’s exam room capacity from 41 to 62 rooms. The project will feature additional exam rooms, plus clinical support space, a new atrium, training facilities for staff and 84 new off-street parking spots to serve additional patients.
It would also bring new specialty medical services to the facility, such as physical therapy. Additional services expected to be offered at the new facility are internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology specialists, pediatrics and dental care.
The project is also supported by the mayor’s office, Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and other partners. The health center will expand its current 22,000-square-foot facility to an adjacent city-owned lot, where it will build over 20,000 square feet of new healthcare space. The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the health center closed on the sale of the long-vacant, city-owned lot early last summer.
The project would create approximately 31 permanent jobs and 97 construction jobs.