August 21, 2013 | 1156 views
Financial woes plague St. John’s
Hospital takes action to stay afloat
Faced with rising operating costs, hospital units that lose money and a need for space, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, the only remaining hospital on the Rockaway Peninsula since last year’s closing of the Peninsula Hospital Center, is taking measures that administrators hope will keep it a viable facility that serves more than 110,000 residents including many in the Five Towns and Queens.
The 257-bed hospital shut down its chemical dependency unit, which was losing $1.4 million per year, according to St. John’s officials. The space will be converted into a medical/surgical unit with an additional 15 beds.
Family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics clinics previously located in St. John’s were moved to the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Centers, at 1288 Central Ave. in Far Rockaway, and at 6200 Beach Channel Drive, in the Arverne section of Queens, as of Aug. 1.
“EHS is considering all necessary action, including possible layoffs, to adjust expenses with income in order to preserve the viability of health care operations,” said interim Chief Executive Officer Richard Brown, referring to Episcopal Health Services, which owns the hospital and its two nursing homes. Louisiana-based Pitts Management runs the hospital’s daily operations, and employs its CEO, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
The changes will give the hospital the room officials say they need for a planned $15 million expansion of the emergency department. When the project is completed in 2015, St. John’s will be able to accommodate 50,000 patients annually. It currently treats 30,000 emergency patients per year in a space built for 15,000.
The initial phase of the renovations is being funded with $4.3 million in state grant money and is expected to begin this fall, according to Brown, who succeeded Nelson Toebbe in July. Toebbe stepped down due to health reasons, hospital officials said. The remainder of the money is expected to be raised by the hospital’s fundraising Development Board and secured through further grants.