HUD Coming To The Rescue Of Flushing Hospital – QNS.com

HUD Coming To The Rescue Of Flushing Hospital

Officials of the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) are prepared to undertake a long-term plan to restore troubled Flushing Hospital’s fiscal strength, the Courier learned exclusively.
Peter Ragone, a spokesperson for HUD Secy. Andrew Cuomo, said yesterday (March 9) that it was actively seeking partners to save the hospital.
"We have undertaken a mission to conduct an independent review of Flushing Hospital and we are prepared to move ahead on that front," Ragone told the Queens Courier. "We are currently working with other partners to find the needed funds."
Although HUD is not prepared to produce the $20 million needed to rescue Flushing Hospital in the short run, observers concluded that the federal bankruptcy court would most likely agree when it meets on March 10 to give Flushing Hosptal a reprieve.
"This is a very sensitive matter," Ragone said, "because of the bankruptcy court case being heard on March 10."
The HUD committment came after David Rosen, feisty president of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, flew to Washington last week to negotiate with the federal agency run by Cuomo, a former longtime Queens resident.
Rosen had been stung by the pull out of two cash-rich Manhattan hospitals he enlisted to save bankrupt Flushing Hospital.
Rosen sees his blue-glass hospital on the Van Wyck Expwy. as the white knight that can breathe new life into the financially-troubled Flushing Hospital. But his plan faltered last week when Lenox Hill Hospital cashed in its chips and abandoned the project. Two months earlier, a second East Side hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, dropped out after agreeing to help bankroll Flushing Hospital.
In addition to contacting HUD, Rosen is believed to be seeking funding from Fleet bank.
Rosen, who met with his board on March 8 and Flushing’s Board on March 9, was expected to report on his dealings with HUD at the March 10 bankruptcy court proceeding.
Rosen and Flushing board members will try to convince Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Conrad Duberstein to extend the life of Flushing on the basis of HUD’s new committment.
According to Larry Handelsman of Stroock, Stroock & Lavan, lawyers for Flushing Hospital, his client still has $2 million, enough to tide Flushing over until the end of April.
The bankruptcy court is also expected to rule on a motion by New York Hospital Queens to appoint an interim trustee to run the hospital in its final days. The judge could name Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
Handelsman, asked by The Queens Courier, if NYHQ would consider managing the hospital again, said they would not. That was confirmed by a source at NYHQ.
Dr. Robert Cantu, a Flushing Hospital surgeon and president of the Medical Staff Society, said "right now we’re on the edge, we need help."

More from Around New York