For Immediate Release
Contact: Randi Hoffman, 212.785.0157, ext. 118
NEW YORK, February 10, 2009 - Nurses are deeply concerned about the impending closure of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, Queens.
“This hospital cares for those without resources; they do not have a lucrative patient mix,” said Therese Wittner, RN, nursing representative for the New York State Nurses Association, which represents 260 RNs at the facility. “This hospital closing will leave an already shortchanged and underserved community with even fewer healthcare resources and surrounding hospitals will become even more overburdened.”
It was announced today that the New York State Department of Health has given tentative approval to the plan to close the hospital by Feb. 28. Caritas Health Care, the hospital’s owner, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court on Feb. 5.
Mary Immaculate has 162 certified beds and offers the community cancer care, critical care, and behavioral health services. Monsignor H. Fitzpatrick Pavilion, an affiliated nursing home, has 115 beds.
On Saturday, Jan. 31, Nurses Association members were among the hundreds who attended a midday rally at the hospital hosted by City Councilman James Gennaro. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall spoke about the low number of hospitals beds available to Queens residents.
In 2008, Mary Immaculate totaled over 40,000 emergency room visits and 65,000 outpatient visits, a number not easily absorbed by the area’s surrounding medical facilities.
“Mary Immaculate needs a long-term investment of state and federal funds so that it can restructure and continue to serve this community,” said Wittner. “Reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare are below cost for the services provided. We must keep the pressure on our elected officials to craft a solution now.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 36,000 members, it is the state's largest union and professional association for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.