I wanted to share a note with you regarding an important and productive recent meeting Deputy Mayor Randall Rosenbaum and I had with both the CEO of Catholic Health Services and the CEO of St. Francis Hospital.
This past April Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy was appointed as the new President and CEO of Catholic Health Service of Long Island. As its new leader he wanted to meet with the Village officials of Flower Hill, the home of St. Francis Hospital. Also in attendance was Dr. Charles Lucore, the CEO of St. Francis Hospital, appointed three years ago. Both leaders expressed a genuine desire to be good stewards to the hospital and good neighbors to the surrounding community.
I took the opportunity to inquire about their acquisition of properties on Oaktree Lane. They confirmed they had completed purchase of just three properties on the block and were hoping to acquire 8 more, a process that could take many years to accomplish. Currently there are nuns living in one of the homes and there is a possibility that other clergy members may live in the other homes they acquire. Drs. O’Shaughnessy and Lucore informed us that they do not have any definite plans for the area and are beginning to prepare a long-term master plan process for St Francis Hospital.
I let them know that the Village is not interested in closing or changing any roads and that decades ago the Village placed the hospital in a special zone to limit the size and scope of their buildings. I also informed them that any request to change zoning or build on the properties they acquire, beyond what is allowed by the current code, would require public hearings, involving public input and review. I encouraged them to engage the community in their master plan process to properly incorporate our community’s input early on.
We learned that the hospital is currently operating at 105% of its capacity and they been evaluating their operations in preparation for this master plan process. There is a parking garage that is reaching the end of its useful life, and several trailers that have been installed over the years that need to be eliminated. Catholic Health Services is dedicated to St. Francis Hospital as its flagship hospital given the extraordinary care it provides and its national ranking for cardiac care and other services.
I hope this letter answers some questions that you may have regarding St. Francis Hospital and its recent activity on Oaktree Lane. The Village will continue to stay in contact with the hospital and share information that we receive. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns that you may have.
Mayor Brian Herrington