Ellis growth plan at $78M

Ellis Hospital plans to invest $78 million to build a new emergency department on its Nott Street ca

Ellis Hospital plans to invest $78 million to build a new emergency department on its Nott Street campus, renovate and expand the former Bellevue Woman’s Hospital and build a satellite emergency department in southern Saratoga County as part of its evolution into a regional medical provider, officials announced Tuesday.

Ellis will pay for the projects through state grants, donations, by borrowing and through income from services, said Ellis Medicine President and CEO James W. Connolly.

Connolly said the changes reflect the medical system’s new strategic plan as submitted to the state Department of Health, which has to approve three certificates of need. “These plans signal that we’re entering a new, innovative phase of our evolution as Schenectady’s health care system,” Connolly said.

As part of the change, the Ellis Hospital corporation has renamed itself “Ellis Medicine.”

Cris Cioffi, chairwoman of the corporation’s board, said “Changing our organization’s overall name to Ellis Medicine demonstrates that we’re more than a single place — we’re a body of knowledge and a system of health care services, stretching across multiple locations.”

Ellis is seeking to:

—  Renovate and expand the former Bellevue Woman’s Hospital, now called the Bellevue Woman’s Center on Troy-Schenectady Road in Niskayuna. Ellis plans to build a 11⁄2-story addition on the campus that will contain private patient rooms and allow for the consolidation of medical services. The goal is to create 36 patient rooms with 40 beds, expand the normal newborn nursery and neo-intensive care unit, install a new imaging center, redesign the lobby and add a cafe. The cost is $15 million with a tentative date of late 2010 to break ground.

Ellis took over Bellevue in 2007 when the state mandated that it close to save money. At the time, Ellis said it would maintain women’s health services at Bellevue until it could build a new tower on its Nott Street campus. This latest announcement means Ellis is no longer considering the tower concept.

Connolly said “We think it would be a major mistake to build a big tower. We are concentrating on women’s care, infants’ care and long-term care and on emergency room care.”

—  Expand its Nott Street emergency department from 30 to 60 beds and build a 230-vehicle parking garage nearby. Ellis will also improve privacy in the emergency department, create space for cardiac and pediatric patients and improve electrical switching equipment. The estimated cost of these projects is $45 million with a tentative date of mid-2011 to break ground.

Connolly said when it is complete, the emergency department will be capable of handling 80,000 visits per year, double the current 40,000. After it opens, “We will convert the emergency department at the McClellan campus into an urgent care center.”

—  Build a 12-bed emergency department in either Clifton Park or Halfmoon. Ellis officials are considering two sites for the facility, envisioned as open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Connolly said Ellis is expanding into Saratoga County to help meet emergency care needs of the fastest growing area in the region. “We are consolidating two ERs in Schenectady, and why not take those resources and put them into the Halfmoon-Clifton Park area where they are needed.”

Estimated cost is $3 million to lease and equip a building as an emergency department. The goal is to open the facility in the second quarter of 2010.

Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett said the proposed facility is welcome in his town. “The prospect of a wonderful state-of-the-art facility being located in Clifton Park is exciting and good news for residents. This is really going to bring the level of health care facilities to a new level and would be a benefit to residents for many years to come.”

–  In other changes, Ellis has renamed the former St. Clare’s Hospital as the Ellis Health Center on McClellan Street. Ellis is converting the former hospital into a medical home that will provide family and pediatric medicine, dental care, outpatient adolescent mental health, insurance enrollment assistance and full access to a spectrum of outpatient services. Estimated cost of this project is $7 million and the medical home is scheduled to be open by November.

“The medical home will provide and integrate services for all populations, but particularly it will make medical services more accessible to people with little or no medical insurance,” Connolly said.

The medical home will offer connections to community agencies such as the City Mission, the Schenectady Neighborhood Assistance Program, the YMCA, the YWCA, Hometown Health, Schenectady County Public Health and the Schenectady County Community College, Connolly said.

— Ellis will also move its 82-bed Residential and Rehabilitation Center from the Nott Street campus to the Ellis Health Center on McClellan Street by March 2010. The cost of this project is $8 million.

Ellis will use the space vacated by the nursing home to increase its medical surgical beds at its Nott Street campus. Ellis is certified for 450 beds but is currently using about 380.

Ellis took over St. Clare’s in 2008 after it surrendered its license. St. Clare’s decided to close after the Berger Commission said it should merge with Ellis to reduce duplicative medical services and to save money.

“These plans result from an extensive planning process that included community input in the form of more than 70 community meetings and several public surveys. They also incorporate a detailed financial analysis given the backdrop of today’s economy,” Connolly said. “We’ll pay for these projects through operations, borrowing what we can, and as always, we’ll be counting on the continued generosity of our community to make our vision a reality.”

Categories: Schenectady County


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