HealthAlliance retools Mary’s Avenue plans

An architect’s rendering of the planned Mary’s Avenue Campus refit.

Officials at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley have submitted design and construction plans to the state Department of Health detailing their $92 million proposal to merge all medical services at its Mary’s Avenue campus in Kingston.

The proposal includes a two-story addition to the building, expansion from 150 to 175 beds, a new birth center, and refurbished lab, imaging and intensive care units. HealthAlliance officials said they hope to present the project to the city’s planning board next month.

Advertisement

This latest realignment comes a decade after HealthAlliance was founded to carry out a state-mandated merger between the former Benedictine Hospital on Mary’s Avenue and Kingston Hospital on Broadway. At the time, hospital officials hoped to end decades of competition, redundancy and fiscal loss by splitting medical services between the two facilities under the oversight of a single corporate entity.

But in 2015, HealthAlliance conceded that the “two hospitals, one company” concept was not working, based in large part on an industry-wide trend towards preventative care and outpatient treatment which left an excess of empty beds at both facilities. In 2016, HealthAlliance entered into a partnership with Westchester Medical Center, which provided access to funding and new services needed to support the consolidation plan. Under the plan, all medical services will be shifted to Mary’s Avenue. The Broadway campus, meanwhile, will become a “medical village” with office space for a wide range of healthcare providers.

In a statement, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) called the plan “welcome, though overdue, news.” Cahill called “the decision by WMC to scale back overall plans for the facility from a 200 bed hospital with a new four story wing to a 175 bed hospital with a two story building is, however, in a word, disappointing. Equally concerning is the failure of WMC to immediately move forward with plans for the so-called ‘Medical Village’ on the Broadway campus.” He also stated that “rebuilding the patient base that has shrunk by over 50% in the last few years can only come from referrals by health care professionals who would populate a state-of-the-art medical enclave, such as that proposed for the Broadway campus.”

The plans released Tuesday show a scaled-down version of the original proposal. Rather than expand from 150 to 200 beds by means of a four-story addition, the new proposal would increase capacity to 175 beds with a two-story, 79,000-square-foot addition. HealthAlliance Senior Vice President for Network Strategy Josh Ratner said Tuesday the reduction was driven primarily by the elimination of a physical medicine and rehabilitation unit after market analysis determined that those services were already available in the region, including at WMC partner Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie.

The proposal calls for conversion of nearly all of the beds in the hospital into single-occupancy rooms, touted as an improvement to patient care and comfort. The proposal also includes a brand-new emergency room, birth center, 10-bed intensive care unit and imaging department. Other units will undergo extensive renovation. When completed, the hospital will be a fully integrated acute care facility, HealthAlliance said.

The total price of the Mary’s Avenue upgrade comes to $92 million. The overall consolidation process, including the creation of the “medical village” at the former Kingston Hospital site, is expected to cost $133.6 million. Of that, $88.8 million will come from the state’s Capital Restructuring Financing Program. The remainder will come through fundraising and the health network’s own financing. 

HealthAlliance officials say they are awaiting DOH approval of the design. The project also needs a sign-off from the city’s planning board. Once the approvals are in place, they expect the consolidation project to be complete in two to three years.

There are 2 comments

  1. Bruce E. Woych

    What happened to the first 68 Million tax payer dollars that was initially granted to force the merger and virtually destroyed systemic hospital care in Kingston? Then there were other “millions” tossed about as conversion money from public tax payer funds. then thee was an 80 million dollar agreement, but that offer was placed in the hands of Westchester Medical leaders, perhaps because so much had been bungled in local hands or perhaps because Westchester Medical Administrators are better connected politically? So no there is another deal, a full decade plus later and after much public advertising of futuristic promises ( pipe dreams sold with advertising money that might have gone to medical care?). But according to the local paper release this latest money pit of 90 million (tax payer money) will be augmented by a public fund raiser for nearly another 40 million; for a total of 139 MILLION dollars of public money to fix a system that was not broken; and indeed, was treated in its assessment like a hotel market deal (too many rooms? what about catastrophic coverage?). And this will all go towards creating a private profit for a very small group of people that have taken over. Now we are being promised luxury one patient rooms presumably because the “market” demands it (again–just like it were a hotel accommodation once more- but this time as the excuse to implement the model not destroy one as before). And for what? So that the system can run on a ‘for-profit’ – ‘private equity’ marketing strategy to create a revenue stream for private owners and investors. Public Cost is a public Loss. But the factual outcome that comes to mind is that our hospital system was wrecked to make way for a hospital that will wreck our household and family finances to access, and all under the premises and promises of better care and efficiency. But perhaps most outrageous, is the fact that Kingston and the vicinity lost its great care that had worked for over a century. Citizens have now suffered over a decade as the near bankrupted order made promises it could not keep and referred us to out of town systems at our own expense; if we had a choice at all. How many local citizens have been hurt directly or indirectly (financially/ physically?). And now we are handed still another version of a public relations prefabricated promotional release of something (?) based upon a tired concession to failed service and poor memories of what has already transpired under our noses.
    Did we need another architecturally designed blueprint of this schema? Tell it to the wind.

  2. Bruce E. Woych

    In a politicized arena of privaitization and press releases reproduced as news, accusations of ‘fake’ news become redundant.
    advertising drives the truth and that is considered unmentionable except in reality journalism that speaks truth to power. All others are censored for’cause’ that is uncomfortable. Making health a question of injustices reproduced by economic incentives and carried by news reports as information for the public, may not be as unethical as obstruction of justice itself, but it is certainly deceptive when reports are necessary for the public to make truly informed decisions let alone ‘trust’ journalism to be a resource of truth itself. So the question is not whether a press release created by private concerns and special interests should be ignored, but rather that comments that challenge it should be left to the public rather than the professional journalists that engage in the facts and concerns of their community trust? A step further; should a public comment by a vested stake holder in the community be censored? Once again: Here is the comment made on this article:

    What happened to the first $68 Million tax payer dollars that was initially granted to force the merger and virtually destroyed systemic hospital care in Kingston? Then there were other “millions” tossed about as conversion money from public tax payer funds. then thee was an $80 million dollar agreement, but that offer was placed in the hands of Westchester Medical leaders, perhaps because so much had been bungled in local hands or perhaps because Westchester Medical Administrators are better connected politically? So no there is another deal, a full decade plus later and after much public advertising of futuristic promises ( pipe dreams sold with advertising money that might have gone to medical care?). But according to the local paper (Daily Freeman on Wednesday, November 28, 2018) this latest money pit of $90 plus million (tax payer money) will be augmented by a public fund raiser for nearly another $40 million; for a total of $139 MILLION dollars of public money to fix a system that was not broken; and indeed, was treated in its assessment like a hotel market deal a decade ago : (too many rooms? what about catastrophic coverage? The appropriate assessment for Public Health, by the way, is beds per capita of an area, not sales of room and board). And this will all go towards creating a private profit for a very small group of people that have taken over (with a wrecking ball mentality).
    Now we are being promised luxury one patient rooms presumably because the “market” demands it (again–just like it were a hotel accommodation once more- but this time as the excuse to implement the model not destroy one as before). And for what? So that the system can run on a ‘for-profit’ – ‘private equity’ marketing strategy to create a revenue stream for private owners and investors. Public Cost is a public Loss. But the factual outcome that comes to mind is that our hospital system was wrecked to make way for a hospital that will wreck our household and family finances to access, and all under the premises and promises of better care and efficiency. But perhaps most outrageous, is the fact that Kingston and the vicinity lost its great care that had worked for over a century. Citizens have now suffered over a decade as the near bankrupted order made promises it could not keep and referred us to out of town systems at our own expense; if we had a choice at all. How many local citizens have been hurt directly or indirectly (financially/ physically?). And now we are handed still another version of a public relations prefabricated promotional release of something (?) based upon a tired concession to failed service and poor memories of what has already transpired under our noses.
    Did we need another architecturally designed blueprint of this schema? Tell it to the wind.

Post Your Thoughts