Tag Archives: Fort Greene Health Center

Corona immunization clinic set to close once again


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

It’s déjà-vu for two major immunization walk-in clinics as the city renews its plans to close the sites by the end of the month, according to union leaders.

In August, the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced it would close the Corona Health Center, located at 34-33 Junction Blvd., and the Tremont Health Center in the Bronx. After community protest, the city temporarily stopped the plan and rescheduled the closing for the end of 2013.

Yet, after keeping the clinics open into the New Year with funds provided by the City Council, closures are expected for the end of February.

“The function of immunization is prevention,” said Fitz Reid, president of Local 768, a union representing health care workers. “It’s not just job protections, it’s to protect the children, protect the public.”

The closures are expected to severely limit access to free and low-cost immunizations for low-income and poor families, protecting them from diseases such as the flu, meningitis, Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and others.

The DOHMH also plans on cutting the hours of its STD clinics, according to union leaders.

Public employee union District Council 37 tried to hold a meeting with the Health Department, but said it was not productive as no immunization representative attended. The group now wants to schedule a new meeting with the hope of getting their concerns heard by the department’s newly appointed commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett.

“We’re hoping that when she takes the reigns, we’ll be able to meet with her and have a productive meeting where we emphasize the importance of the clinics in the communities,” said Judith Arroyo, president of Local 436, United Federation of Nurses and Epidemiologists. “We’re just waiting for a response.”

According to Arroyo, the immunization clinics are necessary because they serve as the first step for immigrant families to learn about health care and begin immunization records for their children.

One of the major issues at hand is that every closure has been kept from the community, said leaders. Residents would then have to travel to the Fort Greene Health Center, located at 295 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, the city’s only walk-in immunization clinic.

“I continue to oppose the closure of the Corona immunization clinic,” Councilmember Daniel Dromm said. “The Department of Health unfortunately has decided to keep their plans for the center in the dark. Residents need to have access to these services, including school children who are required to have certain shots before attending class.”

The DOHMH did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

 

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Concern over closure of Corona immunization clinic


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A move to close two major immunization walk-in clinics has left community members looking for answers.

The City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced it will shutter the Corona Health Center, located at 34-33 Junction Boulevard, and the Tremont Health Center in the Bronx by the end of the month.

Together with community leaders and elected officials, members of District Council 37 (DC 37), a public employee union, rallied last week at City Hall to stop the DOHMH’s plans. Lillian Roberts, executive director of DC 37, called the closings “a threat to public health and safety” and noted they would come right when children are going back to school.

“Parents in this community already have a hard time finding a seat for their children in a real classroom,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “Now the city wants to make it harder for them to get their kids immunized for school.”

According to Councilmember Daniel Dromm, the Corona Health Center is in the heart of a heavy immigrant community where access to affordable health care is already limited.

“I just can’t believe they are going to close it,” said Dromm. “Elmhurst Hospital is already so overwhelmed and this is only going to add to their burden. It’s a very poor health decision. It’s going to have a devastating effect on the community.”

The walk-in clinics offered children over four years old, teens and adults immunizations for conditions including hepatitis, tetanus, measles, mumps, influenza and rubella.

“The loss of these immunization clinics will not only create a burden for hundreds of New Yorkers who currently rely on their service, but it could also lead to significant public health risks,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

After the Corona and Tremont clinics are closed, the Fort Greene Health Center, located at 295 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, will be the only immunization walk-in clinic in New York City offering free and low-cost immunizations.

“This is not a decision that the Department takes lightly,” said the DOHMH in a statement. “While we are reluctant to close clinics, the agency has decided to restructure and consolidate services to preserve essential functions and reduce overall cost of operations, knowing that less than one percent of all vaccinations in New York City occur at our clinics.”

According to the DOHMH, the Fort Greene center will remain open five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and there are still 50 primary providers in the Bronx and 22 in Queens that provide free or low-cost immunizations.

The DOHMH also said no staff will be laid off as a result of the closings.

Peralta and Dromm have each sent letters of opposition to the department’s plans to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and DOHMH Commissioner Thomas Farley.

 

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