St. John’s Receives Major Money for Maternity Ward

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More upgrades will be coming to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. On Friday, August 3, Councilman Donovan Richards announced $1,025,000 in City Council funding dedicated to the local hospital’s new Labor and Maternity Ward.

On Tuesday, August 7, St. John’s finally opened its new Emergency Room after Phase 1 of its renovation was completed. However, a few days prior, Richards also shared some good news about major funding for a new Labor and Maternity Ward at Rockaway’s only hospital. The announcement comes at a time when it is desperately needed. 

St. John’s serves more than 110,000 residents. According to a 2016 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report, New York City had an infant mortality rate of 4.3 (per 1,000) infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, a slight increase since 2014 (4.2 per 1,000 live births). In 2016, the Rockaway’s infant mortality rate was 5.2. From 2013-2015, the Queens maternal mortality rate was 22.0 (per 100,000 births).

 In communities of color and low-income areas, the disparities are even more severe. In 2016, the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) created a Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM) surveillance system using measurement methods developed by the CDC.

In a 2017 City Limits op-ed, Hannah Searing, Deborah L. Kaplan and George L. Askew representing the Bureau of Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health in the Division of Family and Child Health at DOHMH said, “each year in New York City approximately 3,000 women suffer a life-threatening complication during labor and delivery. For every woman who dies from a pregnancy-related condition, 100 women almost die. In addition, SMM increased 28 percent in New York City from 2008 to 2012, from 197 severe events per 10,000 deliveries in 2008 to 253 in 2012, and the percentage was higher than the national rate. The research also exposed racial inequities.

“To address these devastating disparities, the State and City must invest more in our local hospitals to improve the health and safety of mothers and infants, especially in communities of color,” Councilman Donovan Richards said. “While we seek to add more healthcare options on the peninsula, we also have to vastly improve the conditions in our current health facilities. It is an honor to secure this critical funding for St. John’s and all of the mothers and babies who will benefit from this new state-of-the-art labor and maternity ward. I’d also like to thank Speaker Corey Johnson for his partnership in providing the necessary funding to move this project across the finish line.”

“Our city is facing a maternal mortality crisis, so now more than ever, it is imperative that New York mothers receive the best medical services,” Speaker Corey Johnson said. “The Council’s $1.025 million investment in St. John’s Hospital's Labor and Maternity Ward ensures that the female and infant residents of Far Rockaway will be treated with the utmost care and attention in the only hospital that provides maternity healthcare in the area.”

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