For more than 150 years, The Floating Hospital has been one of the city’s most resilient private charity hospitals but the coronavirus pandemic posed seemingly insurmountable challenges to its mission to provide healthcare for more than 5 million people over the years, regardless of a patient’s insurance, legal status or their ability to pay.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and community leaders on Saturday, April 17, to announce she had secured more than $4 million in resources for the Long Island City-based nonprofit as part of the American Rescue Plan’s investments to expand health services and access to COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities.
“I am so glad to say that we have finally turned a corner in recovering from this crisis. With safe and effective vaccines and every single New Yorker over the age of 16 eligible to receive one, I am hopeful and optimistic about our city’s future,” Maloney said. “But we wouldn’t be here without organizations like The Floating Hospital, whose incredible staff stepped up and stepped in as the COVID-19 crisis bore down on our city. Even in the face of staff and revenue shortages, The Floating Hospital has continued to provide lifesaving care to underserved communities and played a pivotal and indelible roll in our response to the COVID-19 crisis. They have ensured that everyone, especially those in typically underserved communities, got the help they needed and deserved.”
The Floating Hospital can use the funding to expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver preventive and primary health care services to people at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including by modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units.
“With a healthcare system here in Queens that was overburdened well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck with deadly, unprecedented force, greatly expanding access to quality healthcare deserving of our families must be a top priority of all our leaders on all levels of government,” Richards said. “With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, we’ve done just that. These critical funds, which will be used right here at the Floating Hospital, will help expedite our COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts in underserved neighborhoods and boost our collective health of our communities.”
Founded in 1866 and now land-based, the organization operated a succession of vessels which cruised New York Harbor giving their indigent children and caregivers a break from overcrowded tenements. While aboard, The Floating Hospital’s staff of pediatricians, dentists, nurses and social workers provided healthcare services, while other staff members provided instruction on good child-rearing practices, a tradition that continues at its clinic at 41-43 Crescent St. in Long Island City and at several satellite clinics that serve homeless families and domestic violence victims.
“We are grateful for this extraordinary support that will help ensure The Floating Hospital remains a safety net for all New Yorkers, especially during this global health crisis that still has a grip on our city,” The Floating Hospital Executive Director Ellen Baker said. “Representative Maloney and the Queens borough president’s office have been steadfast champions of our mission to provide compassionate, high-quality healthcare and more to all who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. This grant will make certain that we can do just that, and continue to provide much needed support for our city’s most vulnerable families during the pandemic.”