New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced plans last week to rebuild Queens Hospital Center, backing off a controversial effort to privatize the 408-bed public facility.
The facility had been one of three hospitals run by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. that the mayor had sought to spin off to private operators.
Giuliani said the $147 million construction of a new 200-bed hospital and ambulatory-care center in Queens and development of two community-based primary-care centers in the borough will be completed in five years. The project, which requires state certificate-of-need approval, will be financed with taxable bonds.
At a press conference last week, Giuliani emphasized his continued commitment to privatize Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn and other city hospitals when it makes sense. He said the Queens rebuilding project doesn't preclude a future sale to private operators.
The long-term lease of 460-bed Coney Island to Wayne, Pa.-based Primary Health Systems remains tied up in litigation. However, PHS remains committed to the deal and is preparing to file for CON approval in the coming weeks, said Ethan Geto, a spokesman for the company.
He said PHS "is totally committed to cooperating with any additional government reviews" should they be mandated by the courts.
Meanwhile, no progress has been made on the city's efforts to privatize 516-bed Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, one of the three original hospitals targeted in the privatization plans.