RUMC getting $13.5M for critical upgrades from City Council

CITY HALL — The City Council is putting up $13.5 million for critical upgrades at Richmond University Medical Center.

The funding for hospital emergency room improvements is part of a $82.1 billion budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Council on Wednesday afternoon.

The Council had asked th e de Blasio administration to allocate $10 million in capital funds for RUMC as one way to help correct historic inequalities in the only borough without a public hospital.

But none of the new money is ultimately coming from the mayor.

“We do not fund the voluntary hospitals in terms of traditional needs,” de Blasio said after the traditional budget handshake at City Hall.

Staten Island elected officials tried — and failed — to get the city to allocate recovery funds to the new emergency department at RUMC.  The hospital received more than $14 million in federal hazard mitigation money to help reduce damage during high wind events.

The overburdened hospital already serves a community where the most impoverished, underserved and minority Staten Islanders live.

But the new $60 million emergency room is also meant to be better equipped to handle an increase in patients during storms like Hurricane Sandy and after future development on the North Shore.

The department was designed to accommodate 25,000 annual visits, but sees an more than 65,000 each year now.

RUMC President and CEO Dan Messina noted the advocacy of Staten Island’s Council delegation and leadership under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan/Bronx).

“We’re excited about this project and the transformative impact it will have on emergency care on Staten Island,” Messina said in a statement.

Mark-Viverito set aside $10 million in her funding for capital initiatives. “Staten Island residents deserve quality, readily accessible healthcare,” she said in a statement.

Another $2.5 million comes from unused discretionary funds from last year’s budget, as well as $500,000 each from Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) and Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore).

Borough President James Oddo also planned to allocate $2.5 million. The hospital expected to get another $10 million for the new department through a donation campaign.

“As a Staten Islander and as leader of the minority delegation in the Council, I often do not agree with how the budget pie is doled out to programs that do not help my constituents,” Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) said. “But I knew that getting a slice to help RUMC build a new emergency department was vital to our borough.”

Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) said, “This funding will provide the bedrock for a complete revisioning of the emergency department for Richmond University Medical Center.”

“Staten Island is the only borough without a public hospital, but we are fortunate to have two private hospitals that have gone above and beyond to serve our community,” said Councilman Joseph Borelli.