Talking healthcare on “Victoria’s Stars”

September 4, 2013 Denise Romano
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The future of health care in Brooklyn was in the spotlight on this month’s “Victoria’s Stars,” as host and co-publisher of this paper, Victoria Schneps, chats with Wendy Goldstein, president and CEO of Lutheran HealthCare, about her trailblazing career and issues now facing the borough’s medical establishment.

Goldstein said that her father, who was an engineer in early hospital design, was an “enormous influence” on her career choice and work ethic. She said that when she graduated from Baruch College, she was one of three women in her class of 35. At that time, “health care had become a business,” Goldstein recalled, talking about how she quickly climbed up the ladder in her field.

“At 23, I was dealing with the board of trustees. By 29, I was sitting at a table with Laurance Rockefeller,” Goldstein said. “I was intimidated, but I decided that I had to be extremely knowledgeable in an area.”

Goldstein eventually started working at Lutheran Medical Center.

“The essence of Lutheran is that they are mission-driven people who want to help others. In Sunset Park, we wanted to be part of the renaissance of the neighborhood,” she explained, adding that an old warehouse building was retrofitted for the hospital, which today has 65 outpatient sites.

“We are the last faith-based hospital in New York. It’s a very welcoming and inclusive atmosphere – they obviously hired a Jewish CEO and gave me the privilege to articulate this mission into the 21st century,” Goldstein said.

One of the things this mover and shaker is “most proud” of is the new stroke center that Lutheran has, made possible by surplus money from the sale of HealthPlus.

“We were able to bring together people and cutting edge technology,” Goldstein explained. “We offer you complete care from the moment you arrive in the ambulance to the moment you are ready to leave rehab.”

As for the health care crisis in Brooklyn, with the potential closures of Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center in the offing, Goldstein said that the focus should be on the patients, not the jobs.

“The issue and argument has to be about how we can provide health care in these communities,” she contended. “The portion of funds going to LICH should be invested in other area hospitals to serve the needs of the people in those neighborhoods. The future of the field is very complicated.”

This episode of “Victoria’s Stars” will air on Friday, September 6 at 5 p.m. on BCAT, which can be found on Time Warner channel 79, Cablevision channel 68, RCN channel 83 and Verizon channel 43. Gregori Romenski is the show’s producer.

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