Tag Archives: dr. peter nelson

Peninsula trustee keeps children’s program ‘in consideration’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

When one door closes, another one opens.

At least that’s what the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center is hoping for.

According to Dr. Peter Nelson, the health center’s CEO, the ill-fated future of Peninsula Hospital may mean security for the center and its children’s day treatment program.

Peninsula has housed the center and its programs for over 10 years. But last November, hospital officials said the center had three months to vacate the premises in order for the hospital to expand emergency room services in its stead.

The move left program officials and its 15 current students — most who suffer from profound behavioral and emotional difficulties — frantically scrambling for a new home.

The children’s day treatment program was later granted a six-month extension period in December, pushing the move-out date to June 30. But now that officials plan to pull the plug on the floundering Far Rockaway facility, Nelson said the court-appointed trustee — Lori Lapin Jones — may allow the health center to remain in its current building on Beach Channel Drive, which he said would put a halt to expedited efforts to secure a new location.

“I’m delighted that the worm has turned,” said Nelson, who said he recently met with the trustee to discuss the fate of the center. “The trustee, Ms. Jones, is very sensitive to the issues that relate to the children and the program that we’re providing. She said she would do everything that was within her power to see that we were kept in consideration for staying there. She could not make any guarantees, of course, but she said she would certainly make our issues known to the parties that were going to be the final solution for Peninsula Hospital. And she said she would hope that those parties would include us in terms of staying at the site so the children can have a continuing home for the program.”

Nelson said he also spoke with 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) officials, who represent the hospital’s workers and who Nelson foresees will be “the largest force in the decision-making process.”

“They spoke with the same kind of assurance,” Nelson said. “I feel like, at this point, our issue is being heard, and we just need to wait and see how things play out. Everybody is concerned about the children’s day treatment program, but there is no final say as to who would be purchasing the place, what they would be doing with it and so on. There are no guarantees.”

According to Kevin Finnegan, 1199’s political director, the union hopes the health center will be able to stay at the site.

“We hope to grow with them. That’s our plan — to preserve the stuff that’s there now and expand into the Rockaways. We love the Addabbo Health Center,” he said. “We’re pushing for the most robust ambulatory center that the Department of Health is willing to fund.”

While union officials continue to explore alternative options for the repurposing of the site, Nelson said he has put three options on the table. He said he was willing to sign a short-term lease, which would ensure the program another couple of years, to secure a long-term lease, which would allow the program to stay at its current site for 15 more years or to purchase the building.

“I’m fairly confident we’ll be part of the conversation with whoever might be interested at this point in terms of coming up with a solution,” Nelson said. “We’re still kind of the flea on the elephant’s rear end. We just don’t have the big resources to come in and solve people’s problems. We’re making a limited proposal, and anything is fine with me. I’m very flexible. My main bottom line is I want to have a place for the program. That would be a big step forward for us.”

Nelson said he expects solutions to “start crystalizing” within the next two weeks, but he’s crossing his fingers in the interim.

“It’s going to be soon,” he said.

As of now, the program and its students are still expected to move out by the end of June.

As Peninsula struggles, Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center has hope


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Officials of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center — and 15 students in the complex’s Children’s Day Treatment program — have been granted an early Christmas wish.

The health center and its treatment program have been housed by Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway for over 10 years. But over a month ago, Peninsula’s new management, Revival Home Health Care, said they needed the space back — and by the end of the year — in order to expand the hospital’s emergency room, according to officials.

Now — after first receiving notice to vacate the premises in only three months — Dr. Peter Nelson, the CEO of Addabbo Center, said the program has been given a six-month extension period, and they now have until June 30 to find a new home.

“We made progress in that Mr. Miller acknowledged that it would take longer for us to make the move than by December 31,” Nelson said about the recent — and successful — joint meeting he had with Todd Miller, the hospital’s new CEO, along with representatives from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Department of Education (DOE).

“There’s a lot to do, but I feel like I have great partners in the DMH and in the DOE to make this happen,” Nelson said.

But by March 1, if program officials cannot guarantee to the DOE that they can provide a suitable new location for its students in time for the June 30 cut-off date, then the DOE will start notifying parents of the students that there will be a different arrangement come next September, Nelson explained.

This would mean that the program would no longer exist and the children would probably be bussed to other programs off the peninsula, said Nelson.

“I have high hopes,” he said.

But if all goes well, the program’s new quarters may turn out to be just a hop and a skip away.

Nelson said program officials have their sights set on the land adjacent to the complex, which is owned by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), on Beach Channel Drive.

He said he was working closely with officials at the EDC, the Department of Mental Health, as well as elected officials, including State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., to move forward with the project, but no plans have been set in stone.

“That would be the best case scenario,” Nelson said. “Nothing is definite for another week or two, but the feeling about it is very positive.”

To be safe, program officials are still looking into other sites, said Nelson.

“I’m really working hard to keep the program open,” he said. “At the end of it all, it will be what it will be.”

And the treatment program isn’t the only one struggling to survive.

An embattled Peninsula Hospital has recently grabbed business headlines for being low on cash and is now in danger of not meeting payroll after December 26 without a cash infusion.

Peninsula and its creditors will return to court on Wednesday, December 14.

Hope for health center in Far Rockaway


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Officials of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center — and 15 students in the complex’s Children’s Day Treatment program — are hoping they won’t be left out on the streets the second the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day.

The health center and its treatment program have been housed by Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway for over 10 years.

But close to a month ago, Peninsula’s new management, Revival Home Health Care, said they needed the space back — and by the end of the year — in order to expand the hospital’s emergency room, according to officials.

Now — after first receiving notice to vacate the premises in only three months — Dr. Peter Nelson, the CEO of Addabbo Center, said the program has hope in its frantic search for a new home and more time.

“The message got through to him,” Nelson said of Todd Miller, the hospital’s new CEO, whom he had recently met with regarding the time frame of the removal process. “I think at this point, we’ve got his attention. He wanted to be reasonable, and he wanted to see that we were working hard to find a new place. I think we’ll be able to have more time to relocate than by December 31.”

Miller told The Courier that he has in fact granted the program an extension, but did not specify how long.

He said program officials, Peninsula personnel and representatives from the Department of Mental Health will meet next week on December 7 to discuss plans moving forward, including how much time will be actually needed.

“We’re not going to put them out on the street,” he said. “We’ve always been open to a solution that works for everyone. There was just a process that we needed to go through to make sure [program officials] were focused on the fact that they ultimately needed to find a new space.”

He said he was working closely with officials at the Department of Mental Health, as well as elected officials, including State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., to move forward, but no plans have been set in stone.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Miller is going to make a decision not to have the day treatment program at the hospital,” said Addabbo, who had also met with Miller to discuss the status of the center. “He feels that he wants to expand services of Peninsula Hospital, and I commend him for that and I commend him for his vision for the hospital, but it’s important to continue the program for the children and to find an alternative space for them.”

Addabbo said the one agreement made during his most recent meeting with Miller was that Miller would be “reasonable in providing the program enough time to find an appropriate, accessible space.”

“I appreciate that courtesy. It is an important program for these children, and the families depend on it,” Addabbo said.

The Children’s Day Treatment program provides clinical and academic services for children aged eight to 10, as well as therapeutic services — including individual and group therapy, psychiatry and parental guidance and counseling. The majority of the students are from the Rockaway community, according to officials, and suffer from profound behavioral and emotional difficulties.

“We’re just trying to make a plan about how we would move, when we would move and get them to work with us around that plan rather than work to try to evict us,” said Ronald Lamb, the program’s director. “I hope that it will lead to a mutually beneficial solution.”