Ulster County to triple hospital bed capacity in preparation for COVID-19 surge

Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, Dr. Michael Doyle, and County Executive Ryan at Mary’s Avenue campus of HealthAlliance.

Ulster County will increase its hospital beds from about 100 to 335 by adding 235 beds at the St. Mary’s Avenue campus of HealthAlliance in Kingston.

“I would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his continued leadership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “His ability to rapidly mobilize resources across the state and his relentless drive to protect New Yorkers will undoubtedly save lives, including many here in Ulster County.”

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Ryan said the action serves the goal of increasing regional capacity, “meaning Ulster County and the surrounding counties.” Ulster has two hospitals – Ellenville Regional Hospital, and the two campuses of HealthAlliance, one on Broadway and one on Mary’s Avenue (formerly Benedictine Hospital).

The Mary’s Avenue campus is destined to become the main hospital in Kingston, thanks to a $92 million plan that broke ground last fall. But at the moment, much of the building is not being used, with most of Kingston’s hospital services delivered on the Broadway campus.

Capacity would be increased “primarily by retrofitting parts of the former Benedictine Hospital,” stated a release. Ryan said “there’s a good number of beds and rooms that will be very quickly ready to go. And there is another set that will require some degree of construction work, not adding any new major pieces, but bringing rooms online that haven’t been online for several years, fixing things here and there, some utility pieces. But because it used to be its own freestanding hospital, the bones are there.”

The county currently has 20 ICU beds and 25 ventilators. The goal is to increase those numbers to 80 and 100. Ryan said today’s announcement was about boosting overall capacity, and the county still needs to acquire the needed equipment to increase the portion of ICU beds.

Ryan said in addition to adding rooms and equipment, the county is also seeking to boost staff. “That’s the other critical resource we’re working on.”

Things are moving quickly and it’s not yet known when all beds will be up and running. “Plans for this are ongoing and a date for operations has not yet been determined,” stated Westchester Medical Center Health Network, which operates the hospital.

The county currently has 133 diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

There are 8 comments

  1. Ed

    Get the lab up and running antibody sweep tests. Test the staff, then run all our essential workers thru, then everyone else. Let’s go for the jugular here. In house blood tests will inform staff use, identify donors and let the “resolved” get back to work.

  2. Bruce E. Woych

    Privitizing Health Care in NYS was a disaster for Kingston and now it is clearly demonstrated as a catastrophic disaster for the entire State. The so called Berger Commission sanctioned by Governor Pataki blindly traded
    neoliberal market dogma and profits for medical human needs and the healthcare delivery system itself. Profit driven assessments under a fallacy of efficiency doctrines pushed business incentives, greed and gullibility over the cliff of authentic guidance. In short it was a sell out and people have no clue what actually was taken from them in Ulster County because the coverage has been biased in favor of the powers that pushed the deal.
    See: https://cbcny.org/sites/default/files/media/files/PRESENTATION_11292016_0.pdf
    You will see that one of the major thrusts of the Commission was to evaluate Hospitals as if they were money making Hotels. As such one of the primary assessments was that there were too many beds. Now the entire state is paying the price. And don’t forget, when you assess the damage of that wrecking crew for profits, make sure you add on the original 53 million of public taxpayer money that was wasted on reorganizing the
    unnecessary merger (which has been and still is a complete failure). And while your at it now add on the glowing (ka-ching) $92 Million mentioned above and don’t think that’s the last or the full sum of it. All public money spent to benefit the more “efficient” private sector so they can refer us down to westchester couinty at our own expense. And oh yeah…, keep in mind that this emergency renovation is not being paid for by the private sector either.
    And with all the news broken into bits & pieces (and prices) along the way of this past 12 year fiasco, we are still being promised a never never land of state of the art medical care in the future.
    Accountability is non-existent because no one is telling the full story of how we lost our medical care delivery system in Kingston; and Why it happened. 12 years later, it is just more of the same.

  3. Bruce E. Woych

    On line resources for the Berger Commission (prior to Covid-19 Pandemic).
    The Berger Commission: 10 Years On | CBCNY
    cbcny.org/research/berger-commission-10-years

    This presentation, from the CBC panel discussion “The Berger Commission: 10 Years On,” reviews how health care services in New York City have evolved since the New York State Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century, known as “The Berger Commission” issued its recommendations in 2006.
    Berger Commission – New York American College of Emergency …
    www.nyacep.org/content/64-berger-commission

    The group became known as the Berger Commission, for Stephen Berger, the investment banker chair. The Commission divided the state into 6 regions. Regions were determined by existing statute. Each region had a Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) with up to 12 members each.

  4. Matthew Greenberger

    Someone better tell these people to start actually protecting themselves and start social distancing. I just went to walmart and everyone was close to each other and nobody had and type PPE gear on. Eveyone in that store is breathing and touching eveything. Majority of people aren’t taking this serious and thats why the number of infected people have surpassed China.

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