Little Falls Hospital officials, elected representatives and members of a construction crew took part in a kick-off for the hospital’s renovation and expansion project outside the Burrell Building on Tuesday, with shovels and sledgehammers in hand.
“This is going to be the most visible part of the project from the community’s prospective,” said Michael Ogden, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer during the event, referring to the demolition of the Burrell Building. “The rest will be happening inside the hospital walls.”
The 88-year-old building is scheduled to be razed within the next seven to 10 days as part of the project. It was originally used as a home for nurses, and more recently as office space and storage.
The hospital’s $12.3 million project is being funded by several sources, including a state Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL NY) grant, a Kirby Foundation grant and through bequests.
The five major components of the proposed project are:
•Renovation and relocation of the surgical area and operating rooms;
•Renovation and relocation of radiology;
•Modernization, consolidation and relocation of rehabilitation services (physical therapy and occupational therapy);
•Renovation to accommodate expanded cardiology services; and
•Replacement of an inadequate backup electrical service, replacement of aging and slow elevators and construction of a dedicated, at-grade entrance for emergency room patients transported via ambulance.
Abatement work is already under way at the hospital.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The plans for the expansion started with the need to address the hospital’s increase in outpatient services. “It’s really a recognition of our demand for service in the community, in the area and the Mohawk Valley,” said Ogden, listing the several areas where outpatient services are needed, including radiology, emergency room, rehabilitation services and physical therapy.
“It’s a reflection of that, and we saw the need to improve the facilities to increase patient satisfaction and allow us to provide better services,” he said.
One of the issues the project will also address is the entrances for ambulances.
Ambulances currently do not have direct access to the hospital’s existing entrances, which are also at a 20 percent grade. Kate Reese, community relations director, said in an e-mail this makes “wheeling patients into the area a challenge.”
“There will be a new emergency entrance directly off a side street, at grade level, large enough to accommodate two ambulances,” said Reese. “The new entrance will have a direct impact on patient outcomes, improving critical response time and time to treatment.”
The hospital has put nearly $8 million into improvements since 2006, when it became an affiliate of Bassett.
Those improvements included an emergency department expansion, a new dialysis center, a new adult day care center and renovations to the 25-bed inpatient unit. The dialysis center is operated by Bassett and the day care center by affiliate Valley Health Services.
Page 2 of 2 - Contributing: GateHouse News Service