NEW YORK—For 140 years, the Floating Hospital has provided health care service to the city’s most vulnerable. Previously based in a mobile boat, the clinic is now on firm ground and opened its renovated clinic in Long Island City on Monday.
Started in 1866 as a clinic to help orphans and poor immigrant families, the Floating Hospital clinic in Long Island City now provides health care to 10,000 people, serving mainly the homeless.
Earlier this year, the clinic was awarded a $1.3 million stimulus package for reconstruction.
U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), praised the clinic’s performance over the years. Saying the clinic has not only provided health care, but also contributed to the economic development by providing jobs.
“We are so fortunate that they chose Long Island City,” said Maloney.
Sean Granahan, president and general counsel of the Floating Hospital, said the goal is to have a place “for the community where they can get compassionate care by compassionate caretakers.”
The clinic provides medical primary care, dental, and mental health services.
According to the Floating Hospital Website it "never refuses necessary treatment for a homeless family because they are unable to pay."
“We turn no one away,” said Lana Farina, who works as a psychologist at the clinic.
More Than Just Medical Care
Joe Lippi works as a health educator at the Floating Hospital at the Long Island City clinic.
Having studied psychology and public health, Lippi came into contact with the Floating Hospital in an unusual twist. He was working as a volunteer photographer on an annual hospital boat trip.
As a health educator, Lippi gives health education to those in the waiting room.
He said that the patients usually come in waves as they are picked up by a special transport service from the shelters.
Lippi spends most of his days giving health education to homeless children, between 4 and 10 years old. Teaching them the basics of health care, such as teaching them washing their hands.
“It hurts but helps you in the long run," he said is the way he tries to explain the kids about the swine flu vaccine.
After the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, it was not possible to have the ship on the water anymore, because there was no place to dock, said Cynthia Davis, outreach manager of the Floating Hospital.
Davis said the ship went to Brooklyn, but the situation was inoperable because the water was too turbulent.
"I miss the ship dearly because it was unique. Many of the kids had never been on a ship before,” said Davis.
Davis said she believes that after the ship was sold it was turned into a restaurant.