As Peninsula struggles, Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center has hope

Officials of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center — and 15 students in the complex’s Children’s Day Treatment program — have been granted an early Christmas wish.

The health center and its treatment program have been housed by Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway for over 10 years. But over a month ago, Peninsula’s new management, Revival Home Health Care, said they needed the space back — and by the end of the year — in order to expand the hospital’s emergency room, according to officials.

Now — after first receiving notice to vacate the premises in only three months — Dr. Peter Nelson, the CEO of Addabbo Center, said the program has been given a six-month extension period, and they now have until June 30 to find a new home.

“We made progress in that Mr. Miller acknowledged that it would take longer for us to make the move than by December 31,” Nelson said about the recent — and successful — joint meeting he had with Todd Miller, the hospital’s new CEO, along with representatives from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Department of Education (DOE).

“There’s a lot to do, but I feel like I have great partners in the DMH and in the DOE to make this happen,” Nelson said.

But by March 1, if program officials cannot guarantee to the DOE that they can provide a suitable new location for its students in time for the June 30 cut-off date, then the DOE will start notifying parents of the students that there will be a different arrangement come next September, Nelson explained.

This would mean that the program would no longer exist and the children would probably be bussed to other programs off the peninsula, said Nelson.

“I have high hopes,” he said.

But if all goes well, the program’s new quarters may turn out to be just a hop and a skip away.

Nelson said program officials have their sights set on the land adjacent to the complex, which is owned by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), on Beach Channel Drive.

He said he was working closely with officials at the EDC, the Department of Mental Health, as well as elected officials, including State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., to move forward with the project, but no plans have been set in stone.

“That would be the best case scenario,” Nelson said. “Nothing is definite for another week or two, but the feeling about it is very positive.”

To be safe, program officials are still looking into other sites, said Nelson.

“I’m really working hard to keep the program open,” he said. “At the end of it all, it will be what it will be.”

And the treatment program isn’t the only one struggling to survive.

An embattled Peninsula Hospital has recently grabbed business headlines for being low on cash and is now in danger of not meeting payroll after December 26 without a cash infusion.

Peninsula and its creditors will return to court on Wednesday, December 14.

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