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Queens Chronicle

Peninsula employees work to save hospital

MediSys leaving as institution’s sponsor

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Posted: Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:32 pm, Thu Aug 25, 2011.

Legislators and healthcare workers are making a last-ditch effort to keep Far Rockaway’s Peninsula Hospital open after MediSys, the institution’s parent company, told the board of directors that it no longer wants to be involved with the hospital, according to several officials affiliated with the facility.

MediSys told the board it will no longer be Peninsula’s sole corporate member as of Aug. 22 — a decision made after MediSys officials allegedly were angered by the hospital board of directors’ recent vote to rescind their parent company’s letter of closure to the state, according to Mary Burke, a registered nurse at Peninsula since 1981.

A state official said Peninsula Hospital has until Friday to submit a plan to keep the 104-year-old institution open for 30 more days.

“We are trying everything in our power to save it,” Burke said, noting individuals discuss possible ways to keep the 173-bed hospital afloat on a nightly radio program at myrockawaysmedia.com.

Another rally for the hospital will be held Monday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the St. Francis De Sales schoolyard in Belle Harbor.

The hospital, which could close as early as September, has already shuttered non-acute care sections of the hospital, including the hospice unit, but the emergency room is still open and accepting patients.

“On the weekend, all our critical care beds were filled,” Burke said.

If the hospital closes, St. John’s Episcopal will be the only hospital left in the Rockaways, which has a growing and aging population of about 100,000 residents, many of whom live in the area’s six senior citizen housing developments and numerous nursing home facilities.

“If there’s an emergency on the beach, where would people go?” asked Barbara Larkin, past president of the Belle Harbor Property Association.

Borough President Helen Marshall said her office is working with the state Department of Health with the intent of saving the hospital.

If the hospital does close, Marshall spokesman Dan Andrews said “there has to be a medical presence on that campus.”

“People have to be able to access quick medical care,” Andrews said.

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