Jamaica Hospital awarded $150 million in state funding for emergency department expansion project

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Jamaica Hospital has received $150 million in state funding from Governor Kathy Hochul to support the expansion and modernization of its emergency department to improve patient care in the community.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Hochul announced $200 million in state funding to expand emergency departments at Jamaica Hospital and Rochester Medical Center. 

“Access to quality emergency care is a critical component of a strong, stable and equitable health care system,” Hochul said. “The funding awarded to these hospitals through the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program will help dramatically improve emergency care in these communities and provide their residents the top-rate care they deserve.”

Acting State Health Commissioner James McDonald said that with the help of the funds, both hospitals will be able to modernize and expand their emergency departments for underserved communities. 

“As New York is a national leader in providing first-rate health care, I applaud Governor Hochul for her dedication to making sure our healthcare system, especially emergency rooms, has the resources to provide high-quality care for all New Yorkers,” McDonald said. 

Jamaica Hospital was awarded $150 million through Statewide IV to construct a new 48,534-square-foot, three-story basement addition on an adjacent property now being used as a parking lot for physicians. 

Among the 13 Level 1 Trauma Centers in New York City, this project will enable Jamaica Hospital to build an expanded and modernized emergency department to adequately meet the community’s needs. Built more than 30 years ago and designed to handle about 60,000 trips annually, the emergency room now receives roughly 120,000 visits each year, not factoring in the increased visits it experienced at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councilwoman Lynn Schulman, who represents the community where Jamaica Hospital resides, said she couldn’t be more thrilled to hear of the much-needed investment. 

“When I ran for City Council in 2021, I made expanding hospital capacity the focal point of my platform and this is a huge step toward ensuring that every resident in Council District 29 has access to quality, stable and equitable emergency services,” Schulman said. 

Schulman added that it’s also encouraging to see state leaders, particularly the governor, laser-focused on expanding hospital capacity and making sure every New Yorker has access to healthcare regardless of their ZIP code. 

“This is just the beginning and I look forward to working with the City Council, the state Legislature and the governor to ensure that all of our hospitals and healthcare facilities have the resources they need to deliver the care that our residents deserve,” Schulman said. 

The Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program is aimed at supporting efforts to reduce health care costs and improve the health outcomes of New Yorkers by expanding access to inpatient, primary, preventative and other ambulatory care services as part of regionally integrated health care delivery systems. These awards are also focused on projects which will help ensure the financial sustainability of safety net health care providers, and the preservation or expansion of essential health care services.

Statewide IV was established pursuant to Public Health Law and authorized up to $200 million for emergency department modernizations of regional significance. To receive funding, hospitals must demonstrate how the proposed project will strengthen and protect continued access to health care services in communities.

Only Level 1 Trauma Centers serving a high percentage of Medicaid patients were eligible to apply. Level 1 Trauma Centers provide the highest level of trauma care to critically ill or injured patients. The Department of Health will award another $950 million through additional phases of Statewide IV. Hochul’s proposed fiscal year 2024 executive budget also includes $1 billion in additional funding to establish Statewide V.