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DOH closure report irks Rockaway pol

Peninsula Hospital lost millions of dollars in 2009 and 2010, according to a report by the state Department of Health.
TimesLedger Newspapers

The state Department of Health issued its final report on the shuttered Peninsula Hospital last week, and local lawmakers are not satisfied.

The four-page report documents and attempts to explain the Rockaway facility’s collapse in April and follows a May public hearing in which Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was roundly criticized for ducking out early.

Analysis in the report reveals the hospital was burdened with more than $47 million of debt in 2009 and 2010 while MediSys Health Network ran the institution. Also, the report states patient admissions dropped in recent years as residents chose to go elsewhere for urgent and long-term care.

But U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) said the report did not answer vital questions as to why the 104-year-old hospital closed. He also said the health officials failed to provide a plan to meet the health care needs of patients in the community.

“Residents and former employees have serious questions and concerns regarding the closure of a hospital that was both a major medical care provider and employer in the area,” said Turner. “The report does little to nothing to address how the state plans to meet the needs of local residents as they move forward. I implore the Health Department to act responsibly and clue local residents in about how they plan to address what could constitute a potential health care disaster in the wake of a single storm or any other medical emergency. The behavior of the DOH has been nothing but disappointing, and I truly wonder what their endgame is.”

In a peculiar twist, Consumer Reports magazine named Peninsula Hospital one of the safest facilities in the city in a report released last week. The hospital earned a 52 out of 100 rating, giving it the second-best rating in the entire city.

But U.S. News & World Report conducted its own survey of the best hospitals in the city, and Queens facilities barely had a pulse. Only Forest Hills Hospital made the top 44, as it tied with three other facilities at 40. New York-Presbyterian, University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell topped the rankings for the metropolitan area, as the report named the institution the city’s best.

Factors used by U.S. News to compile the rankings include survival rates, safety measures, nurse-to-patient ratios and other data and surveys of specialists around the country.

All the rankings are available at usnews.com/besthospitals.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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