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St. Mary’s expands reach with office in Elmhurst

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Bayside’s St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children expanded its operations into Elmhurst earlier this year just shortly before the neighborhood’s St. John’s Queens Hospital shuttered its doors permanently.

The hospital, which has its flagship site at 29−01 216th St. in Bayside, opened a new office at 91−31 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst’s Emigrant Bank Building in late January. The site primarily provides home care service and offer specialized pediatric nursing, home health aide and personal care aide as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy to patients.

“This is a very cost−effective option and we always want to bring the child home to his family,” said Lynn Gardiner Seim, vice president of the hospital’s community programs. “One in five kids has a special health care need, so demand is growing for care and services in the home.”

The site, which is one block from the Queens Center Mall, was chosen because it is centrally located, hospital spokeswoman Leslie Johnson said.

The St. Mary’s office opening preceded the February closings of St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica. Last week the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp. announced it would cut 400 jobs and close a dozen community health care programs to save more than $100 from next year’s fiscal year budget.

The site provides home health care services to residents in the five boroughs, as well as Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Although its expertise is care for children, the office can also aid adults.

The new Elmhurst operation is already serving several hundred people and phone inquiries from those interested in becoming home paraprofessionals exceed more than 100 per week, Seim said.

“With hospitals cutting back, this is an opportunity for employment,” she said. “Home care is an area of growth.”

Johnson said the office offers on−site training at a state−of­−the−art laboratory for employees, including nurses, home health aids and assistants. It is designed to primarily offer home health care for economic reasons.

“Home care is the most cost−effective method of delivering care,” she said. “And it will probably allow us to expand.”

Johnson said the office focuses on patients who are recovering from illnesses or injuries, as well others who have the need for long−term services. Patients may be referred through St. Mary’s in Bayside or other hospitals, she said.

St. Mary’s is the largest provider of long−term home healthcare in the state. The hospital provides rehabilitation and specialized care for children with special needs and life−limiting conditions.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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