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Calling it "a new beginning," Jamaica Hospital Medical Center declared a victory last week in its successful efforts to rescue bankrupt Flushing Hospital. The announcement by David Rosen, president and CEO of the Jamaica institution, officially confirmed that 1,400 jobs at Flushing had been saved.
The financially-troubled Flushing Hospital was saved largely through the involvement of Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a former Queens resident, whose agency provided millions of dollars needed to rescue Flushing from bankruptcy.
1199 President Rivera and McLaughlin.
Cuomo, who had family members born at Flushing Hospital, called the Flushing turnaround "a miracle."
"Its a beautiful story," he said. "Its a case of refusing to take no for an answer."
He expressed pleasure at returning to Queens because no one will make fun at his "New York no I mean Queens accent."
HUD officials said that the federal agency insured Flushings $28 million mortgage and approved the release of $2.75 million from a reserve fund to enable Flushing to upgrade the facility. A HUD spokesperson said that all of Flushings creditors had been repaid.
Although the celebrants never mentioned it, the event involved roles played by three hospitals.
In a written statement, HUD pointed a finger at New York Hospital Queens, the former Flushing manager, which had "decided to close" Flushing Hospital and sell its assets. But in March of 1999, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Conrad Duberstein, replaced NYHQ as manager with Jamaica Hospital.
In an interview after the ceremonies, State Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, a major player in the rescue of Flushing, accused New York Hospital Queens "of dismantling the Flushing facility and moving its highly-rated medical services to NYHQ to attract Flushings patient base to that hospital."
Paul Picard, a spokesperson for NYHQ, commented, "we wish Flushing Hospital the best of luck."
McLaughlin said there were roadblocks to Flushings recovery.
"Its over four years ago since Senator Frank Padavan and I passed landmark legislation to rebuild this critical health care institution. During that period our efforts were dashed by attempts to undermine and close this essential center of health care in our community."
After a concert by a New Orleans-style jazz band, Rosen opened the program, asserting that Jamaica Hospital had "excised the demons from Flushings troubled past."
He said the rescue of Flushing Hospital was made possible by the community, a dedicated hospital staff, the union led by 1199 President Dennis Rivera and legislators including McLaughlin and HUD.
Rosen said that Flushing was the oldest hospital in Queens and said it would not have remained standing if it werent for HUD officials.
"They worked around the clock," he said. "They are bureaucrats in the best sense of the word. It took us 14 months to achieve financial stability."
The Jamaica president said there is "still some heavy lifting to do" included renovations in the hospital and the addition of two more ambulances.
The crowd of mainly hospital workers cheered when Rosen cited Dr. Deborah Asnis for her work in diagnosing the first cases of West Nile Virus last summer. Asnis is the Hospitals director of infectious diseases.
Rosen said that within months of replacing NYHQ, Flushing achieved a positive cash flow and returned to profitability. He noted Flushing reopened 43 beds and added an inpatient psychiatry service and other health services.
"The emergence from bankruptcy, especially in such a short time frame, is a powerful signal to the health care industry that the turnaround is real," Rosen said.
The Thursday event included talks by Borough President Claire Shulman, 


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