Bushwick Hospital Patches Drafty Windows With Duct Tape, CEO Says

By Meredith Hoffman on September 20, 2013 8:57am 

 Wyckoff Heights Medical Center has begun major improvements to services but hasn't repaired its windows, the CEO admitted.
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center has begun major improvements to services but hasn't repaired its windows, the CEO admitted.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

BUSHWICK — After years of losing money and struggling to stay open, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center has started turning a profit, but administrators haven't invested in fixing drafty windows — instead, they're patched with duct tape, CEO Ramon Rodriguez recently admitted.

"We have duct tape on some windows at Wyckoff...You can feel a breeze coming through," Rodriguez said of cracks around the window frames. "I probably shouldn't be saying that."

Rodriguez spoke about the problem in a meeting Wednesday with Bushwick Community Board 4, which he addressed to speak about the hospital's recent improvements, including an expanded pediatric center, hospice workers and a 24-hour staff physician service.

"I think we're doing something right," Rodriguez said, noting that the hospital made $2 million in 2012 after losing $16.7 million in 2011, as Crain's New York Business previously reported.

But for some people who live near the hospital, news of the duct tape repair work deterred them from using the facility.

"I don't see why it's not a priority," Charvey Gonzalez, a Bushwick resident and the legislative director for state Sen. Martin Dilan, said of the cracks. "It would make me apprehensive about sending someone there...I'd be concerned."

Rodriguez said he was working on having building issues fixed, but he gave no timeframe for the repairs while at the meeting Wednesday.

Hospital spokeswoman Beryl Williams-Augustin said the next day that the holes "did not affect the quality of the care at Wyckoff" and that Rodriguez was "being very transparent about some of the challenges he inherited."

"I believe that Mr. Rodriguez was emphasizing the fact [that] although many positive changes are underway at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, there are still some infrastructure improvements that need to be made," she said.

Williams-Augustin added that the cracks would be repaired.

"Making infrastructure improvements is a priority," she said. "Many improvements have been made and that effort is ongoing."

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