May 31, 2006

Hospital Expansion Ready To Roll

Independent / Courtesy Peconic Bay Medical Center The hospital's expansion will provide a new emergency room, with private patient rooms and a new separate section specifically geared toward the town's prison inmate population. (click for larger version)

Independent / Lisa Finn Southold Town Police Chief Carlisle Cochran and Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell tested the waters as they took the town's new World Cat for a trial run. (click for larger version)
After months of planning, the much-anticipated expansion of the Peconic Bay Medical Center is set to begin.

Andrew J. Mitchell, President and CEO of the PBMC, came before the Riverhead Town Board during last Thursday's work session to discuss updated facets of the planned expansion and present new renderings of the project.

The additional 60,000 feet at the medical center, explained Mitchell, will encompass a new operating room complex, a first-time ob/gyn "new life center," and a 10,000 square foot addition to the emergency room department that will include 20 private rooms for patients and a separate division to accommodate Riverhead's prison inmate population.

If the town board passes a resolution for site plan approval and approves a building permit at its meeting on June 6, Mitchell said the stage is set for groundbreaking on the new emergency room as soon as July, with the large, three-story building to follow in mid-fall.

Private emergency rooms are a plus not found in any other Suffolk County hospital, said Mitchell. "Patients today expect to have privacy, both visually and audibly," he said, adding that such privacy is difficult if patients are just curtained off in cubicles.

Another patient-friendly feature of the new facility will be the elimination of the registration area; all registration will be done bedside.

Also a bonus: A separate triage area will be set up on the side of the emergency room in a separate section, so that patients who come in with common "lumps and bumps, such as sore throats and sprains, won't have to see blood and guts," said Mitchell.In addition, the separate "ER within the ER" for prisoners, a new concept in emergency room design, will feature four treatment spaces, said Mitchell.

The new life center, which will be located on the third floor, will be a new obstetrics unit that will "incorporate very advanced, state-of-the-art" technology and programs, said Mitchell.

At last Thursday's work session, the CEO outlined plans for parking that include filling in a sump and creating a supplemental parking field, as well as working with Mercy High School to utilize some of its parking spaces.

The project, which began approximately two and a half years ago, will cost $50 million, of which the hospital plans to finance approximately $40 million. Mitchell announced that the Peconic Bay Medical Center had recently received a letter of credit from HSBC Bank and that the hospital board was planning to meet to discuss financing.

Councilwoman Barbara Blass had some questions regarding parking specifics, and Mitchell said he would be back before the board at tomorrow's work session to address them.

"The hospital is anxious to move forward," noted Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale.

Indeed, said Mitchell, with a team of specialists lined up in areas such as orthopedics and sports medicine, the goal is to move forward into a new era of medical care: "This is all part of our vision to bring a whole new level of health care service to the East End," said Mitchell. "The East End desperately needs a regional medical center."

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