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Flushing Hospital finances in the black

As the number of hospital beds citywide continues to fall at an alarming rate, the health of existing hospitals in Queens is of great concern to borough leaders and residents.

Against this backdrop, Community Board 7 asked that representatives of Flushing Hospital present an update on the facility’s fiscal health and its plans for the future.

The outlook was rosier than might have been expected, considering the fact that it was in the red a little over a year ago, and a decade ago things looked bad for the hospital before it was absorbed by the Medisys Health Network, which also owns Jamaica and Peninsula hospitals in Queens, and Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn.

Started in 1884, Flushing Hospital was the first Queens hospital. In 2009, the not-for-profit teaching hospital had 325 beds, 40,000 patients were treated in its emergency department, 50,000 patients were seen in its ambulatory care center, and 2,5000 babies were delivered.

JoAnn Ariola, a spokeswoman for Medisys, said the hospital has been doing better financially and has now been profitable for more than a year.

That opens up many options for the facility, located at 45th Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing, and Medisys hopes to move forward with plans to increase its presence in the Flushing community once it becomes eligible for a mortgage, Ariola said.

“Due to ... the very great doctors that we have, Flushing Hospital has seen a very nice swing into the black,” she said. “If we can stay in the black for two more years, we can qualify to build an all-new campus, which we plan to do.”

Ariola also said a makeover is coming to Flushing Hospital, which she called “the hospital with personality” because its physical appearance is currently so unattractive.

“The lobby is completely in shambles ... [so we are] building kind of like a whole new first floor,” she said.

The upgrades to the first floor will include modernizing the lobby to include a waterfall as well as other appealing touches and building a brand-new, state-of-the-art out-patient wound care center. The ribbon-cutting for the lobby will take place in the next several months, Michael Hinck, spokesman for Flushing Hospital, said Tuesday.

The hospital has recently added new elevators and a brand-new MRI suite and is currently raising money to redo its cafeteria. It is also looking to add a cardiac catheterization facility later this year.

“We are continually upgrading and improving and redesigning our facility,” Hinck said. “Flushing Hospital has experienced a renaissance in the past couple of years. Our patient volume is very high. I think more and more people are getting the word that Flushing Hospital is a quality facility that rivals any other facility in the area. ... It offers all the services of a major city hospital, and it offers the personalized care you’d see in a tiny community hospital. And that’s really what we strive to do.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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