NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on March 30, 2023, announced plans to open a new comprehensive community health center in Far Rockaway, Queens to expand access to primary care, women’s health, dental, vision and mental health services for the peninsula community. The new health center will be located at 1720 Village Lane in Far Rockaway and is expected to open in 2025. The health system’s Board of Directors today approved a proposal to sign a 32-year lease for the 22,000 square foot site. The City of New York contributed $30 million to cover the cost of outfitting the space. The new community health center is part of the NYCEDC’s “Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action” and Mayor Eric Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, and Reinvent: A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery.”
“Bringing a quality health care center to New Yorkers in the Rockaways was a promise made in our ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,’ and today I’m proud to announce our $30 million investment to make this center a reality,” said New York City Mayor Adams. “The new health center, along with low-cost housing and key infrastructure investments, will revitalize Far Rockaway for years to come.”
“The days of deliberate disinvestment in the health of Far Rockaway families are officially done. From thousands of units of housing to a state-of-the-art library and now to a high-quality NYC Health + Hospitals facility, the $288 million rezoning of Far Rockaway, which passed in 2017, continues to pay dividends for this community — one that is more than deserving of holistic investment,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I’m proud to have worked with the Mayor’s Office, NYC Health + Hospitals and our many other partners to deliver such a transformational project for the families of Far Rockaway, and I look forward to working with my partners in government, like Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers, to further expand access to high-quality healthcare across the Rockaway Peninsula in the months and years to come.”
“Today we are making an important step forward in bringing a new community health center to the Far Rockaways,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “When the space is finished, Far Rockaway residents will have easy access to high quality primary care. I want to thank Borough President Richards and the Mayor for their efforts in bringing this new health center to South Queens.”
“I’m proud that this new clinic will offer comprehensive, high quality primary and specialty care to our community in Queens. The new, state-of-the art facility will support the comprehensive needs of our patients and fellow New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay or immigration status,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health CEO Michelle Lewis.
“The opening of the Gotham Health Center will provide a state-of-the-art Community Health Center for Far Rockaway that will not only expand access to primary care and other health services but increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for local residents,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “The construction of this facility was made possible through the ‘Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action’ developed by the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group.”
The clinic still requires approval from the New York State Department of Health, which oversees the opening of all health facilities statewide, as well as other regulatory approvals and a signed lease.
A 2018 Community Health Profile of Rockaway and Broad Channel published by the NYC Health Department found that the area had unmet medical needs:
10% of adults reported going without needed medical care in the past 12 months.
Avoidable hospitalizations among adults was 1,345 per 100,000 adults, nearly 1/3 higher than the rate in Queens or the rest of New York City.
15% of adults had diabetes and 34% had high blood pressure, both substantially higher than in the rest of Queens or New York City.
These are leading risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and they are diagnosed and treated in primary care.
As a result, people in Rockaway and Broad Channel die prematurely at a higher rate than the rest of New York City, with heart disease being the leading cause of premature death.
In August, Mayor Adams announced the completion of two major projects transforming downtown Far Rockaway with 224 new affordable homes and major infrastructure upgrades across the neighborhood, enhancing street safety, climate resiliency, and quality of life for community members. The City is also building the new Far Rockaway Library for Queens Public Library in the same community, which is anticipated to open later this year. The projects deliver on key commitments from the “Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action,” a comprehensive plan released in 2016 to invest in the neighborhood and improve quality of life for local residents.