Healthcare Business News

$300 million in aid sought for N.Y. public system

By Melanie Evans
Posted: November 12, 2012 - 3:00 pm ET

Under a proposal announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. would receive $300 million for repairs to five hospitals damaged by superstorm Sandy, including two that are expected to remain closed for admissions until next year.

Bloomberg said the $300 million would be included in a $500 million emergency capital request to be voted on by the City Council on Nov. 13. The funding would repair electrical systems, elevators, boilers and other damages at the city-owned hospitals, the mayor said. The remaining $200 million would be to repair damaged schools.

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Storm damage forced the Health and Hospitals Corp. to evacuate and then close Bellevue Hospital Center and Coney Island Hospital. Nine hospitals in New York and New Jersey evacuated because of the storm, which hit the New Jersey coast two weeks ago. Bloomberg said the storm also caused damage at the Health and Hospitals Corp.'s Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, Harlem Hospital Center and Metropolitan Hospital Center.

Alan Aviles, president and CEO of the Health and Hospitals Corp., said Coney Island Hospital resumed its outpatient services three days after the storm and its emergency room was expected to begin limited operations by the end of the month, but the 371-bed hospital would not admit patients until the first week in January. The 778-bed Bellevue Hospital Center was expected to open its outpatient services in one week, he said. Bellevue will require state approval to begin limited operations of its emergency room on backup power in order to open by the end of the month. Bellevue is expected to reopen its hospital to admissions by the first week in February.

HHC will need to replace boilers and electric panels at its Coler campus, as well as repair elevators and undertake asbestos abatement, an HHC spokeswoman said in an e-mail. The storm damaged the roof of Harlem Hospital. The Metropolitan Hospital also suffered roof damage, and flooding destroyed the electrical, mechanical and heating systems for the hospital's administrative building.

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