A “healthier Queens County” will require carefully planned and targeted changes.
Queens residents are more likely to be foreign-born and more likely to speak a language other than English, compared to New York City, New York State, or the nation. Language competence in Queens’ healthcare is not a luxury; it is a necessity.
Mitigating the effects of hospital closures of recent years requires an enhanced balance of inpatient and outpatient resources as well as the acceleration of ongoing efforts to avoid preventable hospitalizations, improve chronic-disease management and reduce length of hospital stay.
The hospitals and other medical facilities located in Queens serve residents of other locales, and some of the Queens population is served by hospitals and medical facilities outside the borough. It is essential for us to plan with an eye toward regional care, to optimize availability and hold the line on costs.
Queens’ residents are slightly more likely than NYS residents overall to experience a preventable hospitalization for a condition related to diabetes. Hospitalizations for uncontrolled diabetes and short-term complications of diabetes are well above statewide norms. Diabetic care and preventive programs should therefore become a high priority. Moreover, as is true elsewhere, hospitalizations for congestive heart failure, bacterial pneumonia and urinary tract infections account for just over half of the preventable hospitalizations in Queens. The need to address preventable hospitalizations is clear, and must be a top-of-the-list activity.
Finally, with nearly two-thirds of emergency department visits deemed inappropriate, it is essential to shore up preventive medicine, wellness care and health education, to save precious healthcare funds and improve quality of life across the board.