Jimmy Van Bramer responded to the report in the Queens Daily Eagle that the State Department of Health, along with ToneyKorf Partners LLC, presented plans to reduce beds at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway.
"The State's plans to cut capacity, lay off hundreds of employees and drastically reduce the size of the only medical facility that services Far Rockaway - during a pandemic, no less - must be stopped.
"For months, the Governor has made promises to expand access to vaccines and healthcare to Black and brown New Yorkers, who are dying from COVID-19 at far higher rates than their white counterparts. Meanwhile, his own Department of Health, with the advice of a consulting firm, is looking to drastically reduce St. John's Episcopal Hospital. The plans presented could turn St. John's into a 'micro hospital' with only 15 beds and lay off nearly 1,000 employees.
"To say this plan would be disastrous to the health and economic life of the Rockaways is an understatement. Far Rockaway had the second-highest COVID death rate in the city at the height of the pandemic. That's not a coincidence: It's about systemic inequalities in our healthcare system and who has access to quality care.
"Right now, we should be working to improve healthcare access for the Rockaways, not gut the only medical center.
"The promises the Governor made to New Yorkers of color are simply hollow if this plan moves forward. I'm calling on the State to halt these plans."