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Lawmakers, Community Leaders Oppose Closure Of Hospital In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- State Senator Malcolm Smith called for an investigation into the planned closure of the Peninsula Hospital in Queens.

Smith joined other elected officials, along with community leaders and local residents at 90 Church Street Sunday, when he announced that he filed papers with the State Department of Health to request a formal in-depth review of the hospital's fiscal management.

Peninsula Hospital Center is the only hospital in the Rockaways and South Queens with the New York State Department of Health Stroke Center designation.

"I am urging the State Health Department, NYS Attorney General and the NYS Comptroller's Office to suspend accepting the closing plan until a formal investigation and audit is complete," said Smith.

"This closure can potentially cause irreparable harm to a community already facing many challenges. Peninsula Hospital Center renders all levels of health care service through its community-oriented Family Health Center, providing over 35,000 patient visits each year," he added.

The hospital is scheduled to close on September 1. Smith told WCBS 880 that he met with the hospital's president about a month and a half ago when he learned the hospital was in danger of closing, and that he was shocked to hear that the hospital was in a fiscal crisis.

"While I understand the financial concerns involving the decision to close, the medical needs of the residents of Queens warrant a review and investigation of all possible alternatives, including potential restructuring, consolidation and mergers, or a scaling back of services. Closure of Peninsula Hospital Center could jeopardize the health and well-being of many Far Rockaway residents that depend on the services," Smith said.

Do you agree with Sen. Smith's call for a fiscal review of Peninsula Hospital? Sound off in our comments section below…

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