“This opens up a whole spectrum of services that we either have not been able to deliver the way they need to be delivered in 2019, or improve the services that we’re delivering,” Michael D. Israel, president and CEO of WMCHealth told the Business Journal during a May 16 preview tour of the new ambulatory care pavilion on the Valhalla campus of the Westchester Medical Center.
The facility represents a $230 million investment by WMCHealth, which said it has been the largest health care construction project in Westchester since Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital opened at the medical center in 2004. The building encompasses 280,000 square feet and comes with 250 parking spaces, eight elevators and a lobby just over 24 feet in height.
“This building gives us operating rooms that do not conflict with what goes on in the main hospital,” Israel said. On the first floor of the new center is the home of WMCHealth’s advanced imaging and heart and vascular services. The ambulatory surgery center is on the second floor with eight operating rooms for general use and two devoted to cardiac catheterization. The two cardiac catheterization laboratories dedicated to ambulatory patients bring to eight the total number of “cath labs” on the campus.
There are 36 private holding spaces for patient use before and after procedures, a new vascular interventional radiology lab and a new transesophageal echocardiogram procedure room.
Floors three through eight are designated for a mix of medical practices and office space.
The first two floors of the building were being opened for the first patients on May 20, with all eight floors expected to be in full use by the fall.
Among the high-tech medical equipment in the center, which was provided through an agreement WMCHealth has with Philips, one of the world’s largest electronics and health care manufacturing companies, is a new spectral-detector-based computed tomography (CT) scanner. The machine reduces exposure, cuts testing time and produces highly-detailed images for study.
Zvi Lefkowitz, director of radiology at the hospital, told the Business Journal, “It’s an absolute revolution and a new generation in CT scanning and we offer this not only here but also at the inpatient center, so we’re one of the few institutions in the country that has both an inpatient and now an outpatient spectral scanner.”
The room housing the scanner has been designed for patient comfort and to relieve patient anxiety. It incorporates subdued lighting, overhead video screens and images of landscapes and animals projected on a wall. “(It’s) a whole new experience for the patient and from the physicians’ standpoint a whole new diagnostic capability,” Lefkowitz said.
Julio Panza, chief of cardiology at the medical center, said that for his specialty, “This building will serve as a platform for not only continuing the work that we’re doing, but also to expand our prevention and health promotion programs.”
Panza said the ambulatory care center will help transform the way medicine is practiced in the Hudson Valley.
“There’s a shift of medicine from inpatient to outpatient and that includes procedures that traditionally only had been able to be performed in the inpatient setting. That includes cardiac catheterization, interventional cardiology – procedures such as placing stents in patients who are ambulatory – and electrophysiology – the studies of the rhythm of the heart – placing of pacemakers and other devices. There are a whole array of procedures that used to be done only in the hospital that now can be done on an outpatient basis and that is part of what this building is about.”
Israel said that with the new facility, “I think we will be able to deliver a level of care that’s not only the highest available out there, but also generates the highest patient satisfaction. It is going to provide a level of care, a level of service, the best technology, to the residents of not only Westchester but the Hudson Valley. That’s what we’re here for.”