Congresswoman Grace Meng and representatives for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst to announce that $3 million in funding was secured for a new labor and delivery unit at the hospital. The announcement comes in the middle of Women’s Health Month.
The project was kicked off when Meng led a wall-breaking ceremony on the fifth floor of the hospital. Afterward, Meng toured the current labor and delivery unit in order to see where the renovations will occur. Construction is scheduled to take place over the spring and summer of 2022.
In addition to leading the wall-breaking ceremony, Meng took part in a patient baby shower. The shower featured educational presentations on prenatal care, breastfeeding, safe sleep, nutrition, the hospital’s doula program and tabling by community-based organizations such as Commonpoint Queens and Queens Museum. Following the presentations, patients had the chance to win prizes by answering trivia questions related to well-baby care.
“All families deserve a modern, safe and equitable maternal health care experience, and investments like this are needed to ensure that the hospital can continue to provide efficient, high-quality and state-of-the-art services that local residents need and deserve,” Meng said. “It is also crucial to meet the growing needs of the area. When the COVID-19 crisis began, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst was in the heart of the epicenter and this project is an example of how we must build back better and stronger as we work to recover from the pandemic. I’m excited for this renovation to begin and look forward to the upgrades benefiting Queens families for decades to come.”
The project aims to support Elmhurst’s goal of improving health indicators for pregnant women and decreasing maternal and infant mortality rates in underserved communities. The initiative’s federal funding was made available through the Community Project Funding Program that Meng and Ocasio-Cortez championed in the House of Representatives. It also came through the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I am beyond ecstatic and grateful to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and to Representatives Meng and Ocasio-Cortez, for their commitment to our hospital and to improving the lives of our patients,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Helen Arteaga-Landaverde, MPH. “Our expectant mothers and newborns will greatly benefit from these investments in infrastructure and improving patient care and patient satisfaction at our facility.”
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation, serving more than 1 million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. The Elmhurst branch is the major tertiary care provider in Queens. It is a premier health care organization for key specialties, including surgery, cardiology, women’s health, pediatrics, rehabilitation medicine and renal and mental health services.
“We deliver over 2,200 babies per year at Elmhurst, but this number is expected to increase significantly due to a growing demand for our OB/GYN services,” NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s Director of OB/GYN Services Dr. Frederick Friedman said. “The ability to modernize and upgrade our labor and delivery suite and optimize our birthing program will support a new generation of healthy, flourishing kids in our community.”
In 2021, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst received almost 700,000 ambulatory care visits and over 130,000 emergency room visits.