Hospitals closings draw congressional fire

With an eye on patients, financial management, and jobs, Congress has recently taken an active role in hospital closings.

For example, the planned Sept. 1 closure of Peninsula Hospital in Queens, N.Y., has drawn the attention of Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-N.Y.) who called for an investigation into Peninsula's fiscal management, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The struggling hospital is diverting ambulances to other hospitals for fear of not meeting minimum standards. The New York State Department of Health on Tuesday recommended the hospital not admit any new patients and transfer existing patients to other facilities, reports NY 1.

On the brink of closing, Peninsula could be the fourth hospital in Queens since 2008 to close its doors, leaving only one hospital left in the Rockaways area, according to the article.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, five Democratic candidates for state Senate and Assembly are objecting to the closing of Senator Garrett W. Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital, slated for June 2012, reports the Lehigh Valley News. Following the decision of Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) to shut down the facility because of financial reasons, protesters argue the closure risks the jobs of 600 workers, reports the New Jersey Herald. Although the shutdown could save $44 million a year, according to the Department of Human Services, critics worry it will leave patients out on the streets, according to the article.

For more information:
- read the NY 1 report
- here's WSJ article
- check out the Lehigh Valley News article
- read the NJ Herald article

Related Articles
Hospital CEO offers cost-saving tips for ailing hospitals
Borders' closing teaches hospitals to adapt
Hospitals closing ERs despite increased visits
Hospital pulls back from the brink of closing