Aug. 21, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards presented representatives of Elmhurst Hospital with a $3 million check for capital funding on Monday, Aug. 21, to help centralize its maternal and neo-natal services unit (NICU).
The presentation took place in front of the hospital — which is also known as NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst — at 79-01 Broadway, where Richards was joined by hospital staff and Assembly member Catalina Cruz.
Richards’ office is allocating the $3 million to the hospital so it can renovate a space to house both its NICU and mother-baby unit. The units are currently on separate floors at the hospital, and the new space will see both units located on the same floor. Work on the project will begin in January and is expected to be completed by June 2026.
The goal of the project is to improve the patient experience for Queens families, Richards said, while providing efficient support and services to infants in need of critical care.
He said such services can only be delivered efficiently if these units are on the same floor.
“The patient experience will be stronger and patient outcomes will be brighter, and of course that enables us to have stronger connections with our newborns as well, especially for the families,” Richards said.
Richards said that Elmhurst Hospital is the heartbeat and anchor of the community, and he praised its staff for their work throughout the pandemic. The hospital celebrated its 190th anniversary last year.
“So every single day the doctors and nurses not only save lives, they bring new lives into the world… I consider it God’s work especially the work you do in the NICU.”
Helen Arteaga Landaverde, the CEO of Elmhurst Hospital, said that the funding was crucially important to the facility and the borough, noting that the population of Queens is growing fast.
“Queens we’re flourishing, we’re growing, and this is where the money is going to really help because we are part of this growth,” Arteaga said.
Arteaga said the $3 million will help the hospital continue to deliver and care for new babies as well as their mothers.
“This funding will go so deep into our community, so deep into our beloved walls and, more importantly, it shows respect for our clinicians and for the work we do here.”
The announcement marked the start of a weeklong initiative of public programming events and funding announcements in northwestern Queens by Richards called Borough Hall on Your Block.
The initiative aims to engage residents with Richards’ office and connect them with public resources. Events include town hall meetings, employment and resource fairs, youth programming, and a block party. Richards will also be at Travers Park in Jackson Heights on Thursday where he will announce $1.05 million in capital funding toward the reconstruction of the basketball courts at the park.
The $3 million capital funding is sourced via the city’s expense budget. Every year, each borough president is allocated funds from the expense budget to be spent in his/her borough.
Since taking office in December 2020, Richards has allocated more than $32 million in capital funding across Queens’ healthcare network, including more than $10 million to NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst alone.
Meanwhile, Frederick Friedman MD, a director of Elmhurst Hospital, said the $3 million funding will help improve patient care at the facility.
“This incredible contribution to our facility will no doubt improve the three ‘C’s’ of patient care — comfort for the mother, connectivity between patient/staff/family, and also most importantly care of the mother/baby unit and for all of the individuals who are in this hospital.”