SE Queens leaders worry Jamaica Hospital will suffer

SE Queens leaders worry Jamaica Hospital will suffer
Bruce Flanz (from l.), who was chosen to be the new president and CEO of Jamaica Hospital, poses with former state Sen. Anthony Seminerio and former Jamaica Hospital President and CEO David Rosen during a fund-raiser two years ago. Photo by Dee Richard
By Ivan Pereira

Community leaders in southeast Queens said they hope David Rosen’s federal indictment on bribery charges and his removal as head of Jamaica Hospital will not negatively affect the future of the medical facility, which is grappling with an overcrowded emergency room and a crush of other patients.

Elected officials and community members said they were shocked when Rosen, the president and CEO of MediSys, the parent company of the medical facility, was charged by the U.S. attorney last Thursday in a massive corruption scandal that involved state Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), who allegedly took bribes from Rosen in return for favorable treatment of the hospital in Albany.

Jamaica Hospital and Queens Hospital Center are the only two major medical centers now serving southeast Queens in the aftermath of the shuttering of March Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica in 2009. Its emergency room has had huge increases in patients from southeast Queens for primary and emergency care according to hospital officials and the borough president.

City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said he knew Jamaica Hospital was in need of assistance from Albany for years and there has been recent concern about its financial health, but he was appalled that Rosen may have used illegal means to get the hospital help.

“I don’t understand why he just didn’t go to the powers that be and get [assistance] the right way,” the councilman said.

The board of directors for MediSys terminated Rosen’s contract after his indictment, according to a hospital source. An emergency board meeting was held Monday night and Vice President Bruce J. Flanz was elected as the new president and chairman of the board, according to MediSys.

Adjoa Gzifa, chairwoman of Community Board 12, which covers most of southeast Queens, said she hopes the recent events do not hurt Jamaica Hospital’s status in the state Legislature. The state has already proposed cuts to health-care services across the board, and the chairwoman does not want the scandal to give lawmakers another reason to slash funding for the hospital.

“I really don’t know about the corruption, but I know we cannot lose Jamaica Hospital. To do that would put a stronger burden on our community. This is a hospital that is in a place that is in need for dire services,” she said.

Gzifa urged Albany to think about the thousands of Queens patients who use the medical facility and not any bad seeds in the boardroom, when they look at the situation.

“You cannot say we cannot fund them because there was corruption,” she said. “If we did that, then we should just say let’s fire all the state Assembly people because there was plenty of corruption up there.”

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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