“It will be an integrated, comprehensive way to access a system of care,” said Schwartz, explaining that a woman could have a mammography, schedule same-day surgery for a biopsy and have a diagnosis within 24 to 36 hours. Typically it takes patients a few days to several weeks to get results, he added.
Mt. Sinai physicians would be on staff, and doctors from the Five Towns would be recruited to join the practice, Schwartz said. Patients would be referred to local hospitals as well as to Mt. Sinai. “It is unrealistic to send everyone to Mt. Sinai,” said Dr. Mark Callahan, who holds several titles at Mt. Sinai, including chief executive officer of its Accountable Care organization and senior vice president of ambulatory care. Callahan said that patients with common medical problems, such as pneumonia, could be referred to local facilities. More serious cases, such as transplants and advanced surgeries, would be sent to Mt. Sinai.
Nelson Toebbe, chief executive officer at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, said he views the proposed facility as more of a partner than a competitor. “People like receiving good medical care, and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is always pleased to partner with excellent providers,” Toebbe said. “St. John’s is affiliated with many of our area’s physicians. Together we provide quality care and services, and we would be happy to receive referrals from this new facility, too.”
Some community members and leaders oppose the plan. About 40 residents voiced their disapproval at the Jan. 14 school board meeting, saying they want the property sold to the JCC of the Greater Five Towns or to a yeshiva. Board Trustee Uri Kauffman said he is against the sale because renovation of the property would eliminate the ball fields and recreational space, except for the playground, that the community has come to treasure. “We would lose that open space,” he said. “There will be too many vehicles in an area choked with traffic.”