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THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
Holliswood Hospital began closing on Monday, August 12, making it the sixth Queens hospital to shut down in the last decade.

Health care in the borough continues to flatline one facility at a time, with Holliswood Hospital the latest to shutter its doors.

The 127-bed private psychiatric hospital in Jamaica closed on Monday, August 12 due to financial troubles, said a hospital official. Current patients will begin to be discharged, and after an estimated one to two weeks, the site will close permanently.

After Holliswood shuts off the lights, nearly 400 employees will have to look for work elsewhere, according to the borough president’s office. Some already have replacement jobs, but others do not, said hospital security guard Leroy Walker.

Walker, who has worked at the center for eight years, said the staff was informed on Friday, August 2 that the facility will close in less than two weeks.

“Then they were handing everybody pink slips,” Walker said. “[Management] isn’t looking out for us over here. I’m really heated about the way they treated us.”

Holliswood Hospital will let 376 employees go, including nurses, mental health technicians, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, pharmacists, psychologists and more. The largest single group consists of 58 registered nurses, said the borough president’s office.

Starting in April, Holliswood began negotiating with PSCH, Inc., a local nonprofit provider, to receive interim financing for the facility. However, the parties were unable to resolve “certain substantive deal terms and terminated negotiations” in late July, according to hospital officials.

Without additional funds, the facility “did not have the financial resources to keep the hospital open.”

This is the sixth hospital to close in the borough in the last decade following Parkway, St. John’s Queens, Mary Immaculate, Peninsula and St. Joseph’s.

“We live in one of the largest cities in America, and we continue to see hospitals closing,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “This is not only a burden for the patients, but for the people who love and care about them.”

Every patient currently in the facility is to placed throughout the communities they come from. Case managers and physicians are continuing to work with individuals to “make sure that every patient receives appropriate and continual care,” said Gay Hartigan, vice president of Holliswood’s corporate entity.

Now, Marshall said, it is a question of how to keep the borough’s remaining hospitals and health care centers sustainable.

One factor that likely contributed to Holliswoods’ closure was trouble with the reimbursement rate for care. Before announcing an official closing, officials began slowly letting people go, Walker said.

“We certainly believe this adds to what I have called in the past and continue to characterize as a medical crisis in Queens County,” Marshall said.

 

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