Today’s news:

SE Qns electeds help fund health clinic

Southeast Queens elected officials handed over a check for more than $400,000 last week to a Springfield Gardens health care clinic that was on the verge of closing earlier this year.

City Council members Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), James Sanders (D-Laurelton) and Tom White (D-Jamaica) gave a $414,000 check to the Springfield Medical Center, at 134-64 Springfield Gardens Blvd., Friday. The money will go toward maintaining and operating the facility as well as future upgrades.

“Lack of access to quality primary care is a major issue in southeast Queens, where we’ve recently suffered the loss of two major hospitals,” Comrie said. “The funding that will be directed to the Springfield Medical Center will go a long way to ensure that our constituents won’t have to make difficult choices regarding their health during these tough economic times.”

Comrie said the center had been operating at a high capacity and that the funds would alleviate some of the stress on the site.

Mary Immaculate in Jamaica and St. John’s hospitals in Elmhurst closed in early 2009. The borough’s Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills had shut down in the fall of 2008.

The Springfield Gardens site nearly closed this year due to a projected $1 billion deficit across the city Health and Hospitals Corp’s system, but the Council was able to allocate money to keep it open, Sanders said.

“This is what the City Council needs to do — be proactive,” Sanders said. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility.”

White said the center will help “improve the quality and accessibility of health care to the children and families of our districts which have been severely impacted by the economic downturn and foreclosure crisis.”

The Council awarded a total $2.75 million in funding to 10 neighborhood and school-based clinics, including the Springfield Gardens Clinic, Long Island City High School, Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Family Health Center and other sites across the five boroughs.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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