(March 15, 2022 at 3:45pm)

QUEENS, NY – Prior to Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement last week of a plan to establish a new health care facility on the Rockaway Peninsula, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., along with State Senator James Sanders Jr. and Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson, sent a letter to the Mayor earlier this month, urging him to open a New York City Health + Hospitals facility on the Peninsula, where families have insufficient access to health care despite having been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and other health problems.

The elected officials write: “COVID-19 exposed and exacerbated so many of society’s problems, but few have been laid bare more than the gross, unjust health disparities beyond this virus that our Rockaway residents on both halves of the peninsula experience daily. According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s 2018 Community Health Profile of Community District 14, Rockaway residents experience diabetes, obesity and hypertension at higher rates than mainland Queens and the rest of New York City. Meanwhile, rates of premature death tied to infant mortality, cancer, heart disease and drug-related incidents are higher — in some instances, disturbingly higher — than the rest of The World’s Borough and the City as a whole.”

The officials note that despite having to cope with these issues, Rockaway residents are served by just one overburdened hospital, St. John’s Episcopal, and a smattering of smaller health care clinics. The addition of a NYC Health + Hospitals facility on the Peninsula would help address health care disparities and give Rockaway families more access to the medical care they deserve, according to the officials.

The letter continues: “Mr. Mayor, your winning campaign was centered on solving the disparities in our societies, specifically the ones families of color have suffered through during the COVID-19 pandemic. By funding and constructing an NYC Health + Hospitals facility on the Rockaway Peninsula, we can begin to address these inequities and dramatically improve the overall health and well-being of those who call Rockaway home.”

The letter can be read in full by clicking here.

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