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HealthAlliance Submits Plans For Kingston Campus

HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley has submitted plans for its consolidated campus in Kingston. The state assemblyman who represents the city says the revision is disappointing.

HealthAlliance submitted updated plans, including architectural renderings and construction drawings, to the New York state Department of Health and will present its Mary’s Avenue campus revisions to the City of Kingston Planning Board December 17 for project approval. Robert Ross is executive vice president of the Northern Region of Westchester Medical Center Health Network, of which HealthAlliance is a member.

“The project is 127,000 square feet; 79,000 square feet is new construction; 48,000 is renovation of existing space,” Ross says. “The new construction will include a 25,000 square-foot emergency department, newly constructed ICU, newly constructed birthing center, and renovations of all the patient rooms, a renovation of our same-day surgery suite, medical imaging, laboratory and pharmacy.”

He says once plans are approved by both DOH and Kingston, construction on the $92 million project may begin. Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill is relieved that the consolidation plans are moving forward, having waited since 2016 for the concrete plans.

“On the other hand, however, I think, again, like most of my community, we are sorely disappointed that health care is contracting so very much in our community. The size of the hospital when this whole thing is done will be less than half of what is was when it started. The number of patient beds is lower even than what was approved by the Department of Health last year,” Cahill says. “The improvements to the medical village, the creation of the medical village has been postponed with no definitive date in mind. And, most importantly, we are losing local leadership of our health care institution. Without any resident leadership here, it changes the entire complexion of healthcare delivery.”

He refers to the announced retirement of HealthAlliance CEO and President David Scarpino. Cahill says he welcomes the appointment of Westchester-based Robert Ross to oversee the hospital, but says the loss of specifically dedicated community-based leadership points to an even greater need for local input at the highest policy level. Cahill says he met with the WMCHealth executive vice president earlier this week.

“I expressed concern about the delay in starting the medical village since the medical village will house the professionals who will put the patients in the pipeline that will keep the hospital filled and running,” says Cahill. “Without the patient flow, we are doomed to continue the cycle we’ve been on to see a reduced patient load and therefore a reduced presence of the hospital in our community.”

Ross declined to comment on Cahill’s remarks. Separately, he addresses the plan’s changes.

“It’s not a scaling back but a looking at the overall program and determining how best to move forward with the program. And we, the dimensions of the building that were submitted had changed from the original announcement. However, the program is very similar,” says Ross. “We are renovating patient rooms. There’s going to be mostly private rooms in the program. We had originally thought about refurbishing the birthing center. We are now building a brand new birthing center. So based on the community needs and what we looked at the project and what we can do, two stories was sufficient to handle what we needed to do, along with the renovations.”

Meantime, Ross says WMCHealth is focused on being a leader in healthcare delivery.

“Medicine is moving much more toward outpatient services, and a lot of the work that we’re doing, and including what we’re doing in the new campus, is focused on appropriate outpatient services,” says Ross. “We’ve also made very, very large investments in telemedicine in Kingston and throughout the entire WMCHealth system.”

Assemblyman Cahill, meanwhile, says other healthcare groups have been expanding in the region.

“As Westchester Medical seeks to stabilize the flow of patients into the Kingston Hospital, they are also competing with Health Quest, which is creating a similar medical village at the Hudson Valley Mall to take patients and put them into their system,” Cahill says. “So there’s an urgency that has been here all along but does not seem to be being addressed.”

Health Quest announced those expansion plans for the Ulster County Mall in September, the same month it said it’s partnering with Marist College to create The Marist Health Quest School of Medicine, at the Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.

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