Just over three and a half years after Elmhurst Hospital was at the epicenter of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council Member Shekar Krishnan and his colleagues in government announced a “groundbreaking” $17 million in critical investment in the second oldest municipal hospital in New York City.
The public hospital has 545 beds in operation and sees more than 1 million patients each year, and delivered more than 4,000 babies in 2002.
“Elmhurst Hospital is the beating heart of Western Queens. It cares for us when we need it the most, and saw us through the worst of the pandemic,” Krishnan said. “As we recover and rebuild more equitably, this $17.5 million in NYC Council funding is part of how we provide all New Yorkers the quality healthcare we deserve. Thank you to all my colleagues in the NYC Council for fighting alongside me for our public hospital system.”
The allocation includes funding for several vital initiatives, each designed to elevate the leval of care and service provided at Elmhurst Hospital.
“Our public health infrastructure is deeply connected to the overall welfare of our communities. As we continue to prioritize the health of our neighbors across the borough, I am proud to join Council Member Shekar Krishnan to announce landmark funding towards Elmhurst Hospital,” said Council Member Linda Lee, who chairs the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Diseases. “The realities of the pandemic stressed our healthcare system to levels that our city had never seen, and we must ensure that we are prepared to offer quality and accessible care to the communities that are most severely impacted.”
The funding package includes $5,787,000 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), $2 million for a new Surgical Subspecialty Suite, $4.5 million for the expansion of the MRI Suite, $3 million for the creation of a Mother Baby Lab, $2 million for Elmhurst Cardiac Catherization (CATH) lab upgrades, and $180,000 for a Pediatric Adult Elergency Room upgrade.
“This significant allocation symbolizes our collective dedication to improving healthcare services in our community. These funds will fuel essential projects, elevating the standards of care and service at Elmhurst Hospital,” Council Member Nantasha Williams said. “Together, with unwavering commitment, we are taking significant strides toward a healthier, more resilient future for our residents. This funding isn’t just about supporting a medical institution; it’s an investment in the well-being and vitality of our neighbors. We are actively shaping a future where every community member can access top-notch healthcare, fostering a better, healthier, and more vibrant Queens for all.”
Council Member Lynn Schulman, chair of the Health Committee, joined her colleagues during the Oct. 23 presentation.
“Health care is a human right that requires access to affordable medical care and state-of-the-art equipment,” Schulman said. “That is why I am so excited to join local Council Member Shekar Krishnan and my Queens Colleagues to announce $17.5 million in funding for a new surgical suite at Elmhurst Hospital Center, that will enable patients to receive advanced care. Thank you to NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams for making this funding possible and for her commitment to our city’s public hospital system.”
Dr. Helen Arteaga-Landeverde, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, expressed her gratitude for the investment.
“The funding the Council has allocated to renovate our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, our Mother-Baby Unit, and Cardiac Catherization Lab, as well as enhance our MRI and Surgical Sub-Specialties Suites and provide an additional portable X-ray machine in our busy Emergency Department, will greatly enhance our ability to care for our patients and expand services in our growing community. Mil gracias!”.she said.
Speaker Adams visited Elmhurst Hospital on Oct. 11 to take part in a special homecoming celebration for patients, staff, community members and elected officials born at the hospital that focused on its efforts to reduce maternal mortality and promote health equity in the community.
“Elmhurst Hospital has a special place in my heart. I’m an Elmhurst baby, and I was actually born here back when it was called Elmhurst General Hospital,” Adams said. “Elmhurst Hospital is the bedrock of our diverse borough of Queens. The amazing hospital staff – our frontline healthcare workers – have seen our community through it all, shepherding us through challenging moments, and delivering new life into this world.”
Adams noted that as a public hospital, Elmhurst cares for the entire community, serving patients that are overwhelmingly from low-income, immigrant and underserved communities.
“Just like the residents of Queens, Elmhurst Hospital has been resilient through tough times,” she said. “When Elmhurst became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital staff went above and beyond to help manage an unprecedented crisis. Because of your hard work and commitment to patients, we were able to navigate the worst of the pandemic.”
To address the “significant and persistent racial disparities in maternal health and mortality,” Adams spoke of the Council passing an 11-bill legislative package last year.
“We enacted reforms that would require the city to train doulas and provide doula services in marginalized communities at no cost,” Adams said. “Our legislative package also increases public awareness about maternal health, and mandates transparency about the City’s efforts to address this crisis. While the Council is proud of what we’ve accomplished, we know that there is more to be done. I am hopeful that we will galvanize the support to enact reforms on all levels of government to deliver the support our mothers and children deserve.”