By Howard Koplowitz
Doctors and elected officials cut the ribbon last Thursday on a state-of-the-art medical center in Cambria Heights they said would help fill the health care void in Queens after the closings of Mary Immaculate, St. John’s and Parkway hospitals.
“In the wake of recent hospital closures in Queens, it has been my goal to ensure that my borough has access to comprehensive health care services to offset the gap,” Borough President Helen Marshall said during the ribbon-cutting at the Queens-Long Island Medical Group’s new facility at 206-20 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights. “QLIMG’s recognition of this need permits residents of Queens to remain in the borough for state-of-the-art health care.”
The borough president has warned that the borough of 2.3 million people is on the verge of a medical emergency because of the shuttering of three hospitals in less than four months between November 2008 and February 2009.
“There remains a crucial need for hospital care in our borough,” she said. “Facilities like this are the answer. We want to prevent people from going into the emergency room. We just can’t keep on going to the emergency room because we’re overwhelmed.”
Dr. Nicholas Vogiatzis, president and chief executive officer of the Queens-Long Island Medical Group, said the facility “was designed for the comfort of our patients.”
“Queens-Long Island Medical Group and our partner, Emblem Health, felt it absolutely necessary to keep a firm commitment to health care in this community,” he said.
Primary care and specialty physicians along with a lab are housed in the facility. The center also boasts ultrasound, digital mammography and digital radiology equipment as well as a picture archiving a communications system that lets doctors read test results remotely.
State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) said the medical center is a godsend to the neighborhood.
“The services that you’re offering are services that we need in this community,” she said. “People will be healthier as a result of your being here. I’m sure this is going to be a great addition to our community.”
While the ribbon-cutting was held last week, patients had been seen at the center since mid-December, according to a QLIMG spokeswoman.
Kelli Singleton, president of the Cambria Heights Civic Association, said the facility was needed in the community.
“We are excited and we’re thrilled to have Queens-Long Island Medical Group be part of our Cambria Heights family,” she said. “We look forward to a long and successful partnership with them.”
Jack Friedman, executive vice president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, also brought up the need for services like the medical center in the borough.
“This is the kind of facility we need, especially in southeast Queens,” he said. “Queens is in a health care crisis right now in terms of facilities.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.