NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For all intents and purposes, the state Department of Health is shutting down a struggling hospital in the Rockaways.
Out of concern for patient safety, Peninsula Hospital has been told to stop accepting new patients and transfer existing ones. Ambulances will also be diverted.
The hospital is expected to suspend all of its emergency room operations beginning Wednesday as it continues to work on a financial plan.
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The Health Department said due to its financial status the hospital can't meet minimum standards required by the State Hospital Code.
The Health Department released a statement saying it "continues to work with the Peninsula Hospital board to evaluate any potential plans that could provide long-term viability for the hospital."
Joseph Miele, chairman of the hospital board, told 1010 WINS he thinks a shutdown can still be avoided and hospital officials will be presenting a plan to state health officials in Albany later this afternoon.
The Health Department could decide as early as today whether they will allow a take over or shut the hospital down.
People in the community are still hoping for a last-minute deal.
The threatened closure of the 104-year-old facility would leave only one hospital serving the Rockaways and its 100,000 residents, with new beachfront condos ready to bring more.
The 174-bed facility is said to be $60 million in debt, much of it owed to vendors, coupled with losses in Medicaid funding.
The next nearest hospital is St. John's, about 40 blocks away. Residents said it's already crowded and not full service, meaning trauma cases — like gunshot wounds and other major medical emergencies — would go to Jamaica Hospital, 10 miles away.
If Peninsula Hospital does shut down, it would be the fourth hospital to close in Queens since 2008.
Peninsula Hospital Center is the only hospital in the Rockaways and South Queens with the New York State Department of Health Stroke Center designation.
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