On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Teresa Colon was sitting outside a new medical facility that recently opened in downtown Jamaica, having her blood pressure taken.
“Is it high?” she asked medical assistant Shellane Gill, who responded by saying it was slightly above normal.
Colon is one of several area residents taking advantage of the Empire Gate Medical Group’s office at 88-10 Parsons Blvd. Its mission is to provide quality healthcare in the medically underserved community.
“I’m very happy it’s here,” Colon, who lives about a block away, said. “It’s very convenient.”
The office accepts all forms of insurance including Medicare and Medicaid. It’s open seven days a week, including holidays, and there is no appointment necessary. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends. It also has staffers to translate for Spanish-speaking clients.
The brand-new facility was built from the ground up and has 12 examining rooms, two stress test rooms, a medical lab and an X-ray room. Construction took about eight weeks. There are three doctors on staff now — Dr. Eric Moskow, the founder of EGM, Dr. Shauna Schwartz and Dr. Gregory Suprin — but in approximately three months, three more will be added. A long term-goal is to have the office open 24 hours a day.
“This is the best alternative to overcrowded emergency rooms with long wait times,” said Mike Jarmuz, a spokesman for EGM.
Area leaders have been trying to attract a new hospital and more primary medical facilities for the last few years, but there has been little interest. Moskow said he didn’t understand why. He said the community is in need of primary medical care and he was up to the challenge of bringing it to downtown Jamaica, an area with many low-income residents and new immigrants. He bought the space at a cost of $1.25 million and invested $600,000 more for the renovations.
“We want to build a multi-specialty practice that can serve the needs of the community,” Moskow said. “Clearly, we want to invest in the community and create jobs and obviously the mission statement is to keep people healthy, keep them out of the hospital and for them to have a personal relationship with a physician that is there for them.”
This is EGM’s second location. The first is at 2381 Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Manhattan. For more information on EGM, call (718) 291-8111, or visit the office online at empiregatemedical.com.
Sylvia Cebollero, 58, of Jamaica was all smiles as she finished up her first visit. She heard about EGM when passing by and being handed a flier and decided to give it a try. She was so pleased by the service she said she is going to recommend it to her whole family.
“It’s very good,” she said. “Everyone is so pleasant. ... I just told my doctor, Dr. Schwartz, that I am going to be telling my daughter to come here with my grandchildren because they have a pediatrician here — Dr. Suprin. I’ve been telling my daughter, ‘You can’t just take your children to the doctor when they are sick, you have to take them on a regular basis.’”
The center is not only a welcome sight to residents, but to long-time pharmacist Curt Constable, who owns the nearby Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy. He was invited by Moskow to take a tour of the facility soon after it opened, and he was impressed by what he saw. He was also pleased Moskow was reaching out to community members like himself in order to be good neighbors.
“I was very impressed with the scope of the facility as well as the knowledge that Dr. Moskow had of the neighborhood and its people — the cultural aspect as well as the socioeconomic aspect,” Constable said. “There are a multitude of ethnicities here.”