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What you need to know for 01/22/2018

St. Peter's wants to expand facility on Route 146 in Clifton Park

St. Peter's wants to expand facility on Route 146 in Clifton Park

St. Peter’s Health Partners wants to establish a medical campus on Route 146 by linking its existing

St. Peter’s Health Partners wants to establish a medical campus on Route 146 by linking its existing urgent care center with a neighboring office building.

The town Planning Board has recommended approval of the expansion of the urgent care center at Tallow Wood Drive and Route 146, just west of Clifton Park’s dense commercial corridor. The Town Board now must make the final decision.

Under the proposal, St. Peter’s would begin leasing 25,000 square feet of vacant space in the neighboring Executive Woods office park, while also adding 1,700-square-feet to the urgent care building. The parking lot between the two buildings would be expanded.

The goal, St. Peter’s representatives have told the town, is to create a “campus-like” setting in which doctors’ offices in a separate building adjoin the urgent care center.

People who initially come in to the health care system through the urgent care would be able to have follow-up visits on-site with pediatricians, ob/gyns, cardiologists and other doctors.

The location is less than a mile from the 24-hour urgent care center Ellis Medicine opened last May, but town Supervisor Phil Barrett said he sees no issue with the closeness of the competing medical organizations.

“That’s the way investment works,” he said last week. “Investment brings in more investment.”

No cost estimate was available for the project.

The Ellis facility offers 24-hour urgent care focused on emergency room care, while St. Peter is not proposing to operate around the clock, Barrett said. The St. Peter’s facility is open seven days a week but now closes at 8 p.m.; its proposal is to remain open until 10 p.m.

In recent years, southern Saratoga County, with its high growth rate and high-income demographics, has been a focus of attention for regional medical care providers. In addition to the Ellis facility, Saratoga Hospital and Albany Medical Center opened a 24-hour urgent care center last year in Malta.

St. Peter’s, at one point several years ago, was looking at establishing a major new facility on land in the town of Halfmoon, working through a private developer. It wasn’t clear last week whether it still is pursuing those plans; a St. Peter’s spokesman wasn’t available for comment.

The Tallow Wood Drive building has been a walk-in urgent care center, previously under Seton Health, for more than 20 years.

“With this, they’d have not only urgent care but if you have to follow up with a doctor two or three weeks later, you can come back there,” said town Planner John Scavo.

Barrett said he sees positives to the proposal, which will require Town Board approval as an amendment to a planned development district.

“Not only will it increase the availability of health care services close to home, but it would redevelop some vacant office space,” he said.

Barrett said he expects the Town Board to vote in either late January or early February.

The local zoning approval is needed before St. Peter’s can apply to the state Health Department for a “certificate of need” that it must obtain before actually proceeding.

St. Peter’s Health Partners was created in 2011 through the merger of Seton Health, Northeast Health and St. Peter’s Health Care Services, the parent company of St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. Albany Memorial Hospital, and St. Mary’s and Samaritan hospitals in Troy are also part of the merged system.

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