Far Rockaway: Peninsula Hospital Employees Say 2012 Vital Signs Are Looking Up


The following is a NY Daily News article:

After a tumultuous 2011 that put Peninsula Hospital on the brink of closure, employees say the new year signals a fresh beginning for the troubled institution.

The hospital, which is being reorganized under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, recently struck a tentative deal with its largest secured creditor, the 1199 SEIU union.

Under the agreement, the union would get $10 million over the next three years, union and hospital officials confirmed on Wednesday. The union was owed about $20 million before the financially strapped hospital declared bankruptcy.

Doctors, nurses and the new administration of the Far Rockaway facility are looking for a fresh start this year.

“They are going in a positive direction,” said Mary Kampa, a nurse.

Dr. Wayne Dodakian said he’s seen admission time plummet since the new regime took over, a vital cost saving measure.

“That’s a huge game changer,” Dodakian said. “There was an air of gloom over this place [before\].”

The situation was so grave in August that schools were taking Peninsula’s name off application lists for medical students, second-year resident Herschel Kessler noted.

The hospital has since splurged on a marketing blitz to attract the top talent. They’re combing through applications now, Kessler said.

“I say we’re back on track,” he said.

Long-time nurses said the hospital had been in a slow decline for more than a decade, but the last few months have been like a jolt from a defibrillator.

“We have been challenged. We’ve all been taken out of our comfort zone,” said Jeannie Butler, a nurse at Peninsula for 36 years.

Peggy Frontera, a nurse for 37 years, said when her son needed an emergency appendectomy last month, she took him to Peninsula, something she admits she wouldn’t have done in August when there was “panic.”

“I was confident enough to bring my son here,” she said.

Eisen Alimerio, a critical care nurse, said that after a hard-fought battle to keep the facility afloat, employees are doing more with less.

“Everyone is working on a different level,” he said.

The deal between the hospital and the union paves the way for additional financing to come in from white-knight investor Revival Home Health Care.

“There’s nothing that’s preventing us from moving forward as planned,” said Peninsula CEO Todd Miller.

(Source: NY Daily News)