Hospital Closures in Brooklyn and Queens: The Sick Get Sold out

(Original Photo: Mark Coggins/CC)

Why are New York City’s hospitals disappearing? Ari Paul explains in the March 15 issue of the BQ Brew. (Original Photo: Mark Coggins/CC)

There is a national trend of closing hospitals under the guise of saving taxpayers money. Brooklyn and Queens have been and continue to be negatively affected by the same trend, despite the fact that closing hospitals doesn’t actually save anyone money. The bed to patient ratios in Brooklyn and Queens are considerably lower than the state average of 3.1 per 1,000 patients, 2.3 and 1.7 respectively. Not only do patients and their families suffer, but so do the thousands of healthcare workers that have lost their jobs. There is no bail out in sight for the sick, uninsured and under-insured working class neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

•Parkway Hospital – Opened 1963, closed 2008. Located in Forest Hills, Queens, it had 251 beds and employed approximately 600 people. Half of those employees were members of the healthcare union SEIU/1199.

•Mary Immaculate and St. John’s Queens Hospitals – St, John’s was founded in 1891 and served the Elmhurst, Queens area. Mary Immaculate, founded in 1902, was located in Jamaica, Queens. Both closed in 2009. The hospitals were run by Saint Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers and were sold to Brooklyn Queens Health Centers of New York(BQHC) when Saint Vincent’s filed for bankruptcy in 2006. BQHC created a separate subsidiary, Caritas, that would own and operate the hospitals while maintaining their Catholic identity. Due to mismanagement, Caritas filed for bankruptcy and the hospitals were forced to close. They collectively had approximately 422 beds and treated an estimated 100,000 emergency room patients per year. 2,500 – 3,000 jobs were lost.

•Peninsula Hospital Center – Opened 1908, closed 2012 due to lack of funds and a lab that failed state health inspection. The closing of this hospital leaves only St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and a few urgent care centers on Far Rockaway. Peninsula Hospital had around 170 beds and served a community of over 100,000 residents, Approximately 1,000 jobs were lost.

•Victory Memorial Hospital – In operation in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for 107 years, Victory Memorial closed its doors for good in 2008. It had 254 beds. Its closing has left 300,000 residents to use the already overburdened Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park or Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park. Over 900 jobs were lost.

•The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Caledonian Division – Caledonian, affectionately nicknamed Caly by the Flatbush, Brooklyn residents it served, was opened in 1910. In 1982, “Caly” merged with The Brooklyn Hospital and officially became The Brooklyn Hospital Center. It had 190 beds and an emergency department that was vital to the 20,000 residents who have inadequate or no insurance.

•St. Mary’s Brooklyn Hospital – Opened in 1882, closed in 2005. Located in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn St. Mary’s saw an average of 36,000 emergency room patients a year, many with little or no insurance. It had over 240 beds. 930 jobs were lost.

Ava M Capote

(Photo: Diego Lopez/CC/Flickr)

Why are New York City’s hospitals disappearing? Ari Paul unfolds the story behind NY’s healthcare attrition in the March 15 issue of the BQ Brew. (Photo: Diego Lopez/CC/Flickr)