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.
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.