The Rockaways’ Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center is up and running despite complications left behind by Superstorm Sandy, but is doing so on intermittent power.
The center’s two sites, one on Beach Channel Drive and another on Central Avenue, have been running on generator power and have not been able to connect to any electrical grid. The Beach Channel Drive site, powered by the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), emerged from the storm with a fried electrical panel that LIPA has not yet assessed.
“[The panel] was underwater,” said the health center’s CEO, Dr. Peter Nelson. “We’ve tried to reach [LIPA] but without success.”
The facility has also been experiencing difficulty with keeping the generators running; they continue to break down and run out of gas, according to Nelson. Most days they have at one point lost power, but it is always restored within a few hours.
Nelson says the power outages “absolutely do not” affect patient’s safety.
Since Sandy, the Addabbo Health Center has seen a 75 percent drop in patient presence, and Nelson believes it is because Rockaway residents are preoccupied with restoring the lives they once knew.
“The most basic needs of human beings are safety and security. If your security is not taken care of, they push through [any sickness],” he said. “We have the capacity, even with the intermittent power, to take care of a whole lot more people than are coming to us.”
Nelson and his staff continue to wait for LIPA so they can resume business as usual.
“We are very much open,” he said. “We just need LIPA to come.”