By Steve Mosco
Residents in Rockaway have one of the city’s safest hospitals at their disposal, but the only snag is it closed in April.
Consumer Reports magazine released its nationwide ratings of hospital safety last week and Peninsula Hospital in Edgemere finished second in the city behind NYU-Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.
Hospitals were rated on a 1-to-100 scale and Peninsula scored a 52 — good for second safest in the city. The shuttered hospital fared better than some of the most respected hospitals in the city, including Mount Sinai, Beth Israel and New York-Presbyterian.
Peninsula filed for bankruptcy protection last year when it was faced with $13 million in debt. Since state Department of Health officials closed Peninsula Hospital Center in April, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway is experiencing a 35 percent increase in emergency room visits and inpatient volume has climbed 11 percent, according to a St. John’s representative.
St. John’s scored a 34, far below the facility it replaced as the go-to hospital for Rockaway residents.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy and shutting its doors, the Department of Health in March ordered Peninsula to stop admitting patients and cancel all surgeries after inspectors observed poor conditions in the hospital’s laboratory.
The magazine used six criteria in its ratings: infections, communications, readmissions, radiation exposure, complications and death rates.
“The best hospitals didn’t do as well as I think they could. And they know that,” said Dr. John Santa, director of Consumer Reports’ Health Ratings Center. “The best hospitals know we’ve got to do better. The problem is not by any means are all hospitals acknowledging that in making this a high priority.”
Harlem and Kings County hospitals were the lowest rated in the city and among the worst places for treatment in the country. Harlem Hospital in Manhattan got a score of 20, the second-worst in the nation, while Kings County in Brooklyn scored 22, the fourth-worst.
“Public hospitals in New York have a lot of work to do around these issues,” said Santa.
Hospital ratings in Queens include Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with 42, New York Hospital Queens in Flushing with 41, Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica with 38 and Flushing Hospital Medical center with 36. Forest Hills Hospital was the lowest rated care center in Queens, scoring 32.
No hospital in the country rated a perfect 100 — the closest being Billings Clinic in Billings, Mont., which scored a 72.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.