Peninsula Hospital May Be Saved By Revival Home Health Care


peninsula-hospitalBy Barbara Benson

The trustees of Peninsula Hospital are negotiating the final details of a purchase agreement with a group of investors. Although they have not yet signed a deal, the board is meeting on Thursday to finalize the transaction.

If a deal is struck, the transaction will be an unusual hospital bailout. The investment group is Revival Home Health Care, a 10-year-old for-profit agency that largely serves the New York area’s Orthodox Jewish community.

The Revival deal includes both the hospital and Peninsula’s nursing home. If the deal is signed, and the purchase is approved by the state Department of Health, it would be city’s the first Orthodox-owned hospital. It is assumed that Peninsula hospital probably would be run as for-profit entity, like Revival, according to two sources with knowledge of the deal. Revival would appoint a new Peninsula board.

In its mission statement, Revival writes that its original mandate, to serve New York City’s aging holocaust population, “has expanded to include the care of all segments of the population. We are committed to our founding principle: to provide the highest quality home health care services.”

The transaction has the support of a segment of Brooklyn’s Orthodox community. Peninsula would join other city hospitals in meeting the cultural needs of the Orthodox community. Maimonides Medical Center, for example, draws 35% of its patients from Borough Park, Brooklyn, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the country.

Peninsula would cater to the small but significant Orthodox community in its own catchment area.

That group traditionally has not used the only other hospital in Far Rockaway, Queens, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. Instead, they have favored Long Island Jewish Medical Center or Manhattan hospitals. Orthodox-friendly hospitals such as LIJ have kosher kitchens and Shabbos elevators that do not require manual operation, and they are staffed with Jewish doctors who have strong cultural ties to the Orthodox communities they live in.

Revival’s strategy of course, would be to provide quality medical services to all New Yorkers, not just its Orthodox residents. But the Orthodox community’s loyalty could make a significant difference to the health of Peninsula’s bottom line.

Revival was founded in 1994 by Rabbi Yaakov Spitzer, a holocaust survivor who later sold the company. Revival’s website hints at how influential the company can be in feeding patients from the Orthodox community to select health care providers.

“Since our inception, we have become an integral part of our community’s health care network, serving as a resource center for health related issues,” it says. “We help them navigate a health care system that can confuse and overwhelm even the most sophisticated patient.”

On Tuesday, a state health department spokesman said the hospital’s emergency department remains open and is serving patients on a walk-in basis. The hospital is also still admitting patients, but “the ambulance diversion continues, pending a plan to be submitted by Peninsula demonstrating its ability to accept patients.”

Any deal signed with Revival would have to be approved by state health officials. The state’s approval is not a sure bet, given its reluctance to provide any state funding to keep Peninsula afloat.

The state’s former health care restructuring panel-the Berger commission-had recommended that Peninsula and St. Johns merge into a single entity, and that a new hospital be built with an inpatient capacity of between 350 and 400 beds. The commission never mandated that Peninsula should close, but it its final report said that “two separate, inefficient and outmoded facilities” should not serve an area of Queens “which is experiencing major development and population growth.” The Berger commission recommendations were never implemented.

{Crains NY/ Newscenter}