Expansion Project Blueprints Brought to Life

aylour Scanlin, Foundation & Marketing Executive Director, and Carthage Area Hospital CEO, Richard Duvall.

BY: Olivia Belanger
The start of 2019 brings positive news to the community, with Carthage Area Hospital soon to start bringing their expansion project’s blueprints to life.

    The $60 million project will be done in two phases. The first, scheduled for the spring, will include a Rural Health Center for outpatient care and a two-story inpatient unit, which would also house emergency, surgical and maternity services.

    CEO Richard A. Duvall said the idea is to consolidate all of the clinics into one facility, costing about $14.5 million. Besides the prep work, the grounds and the road infrastructure will also happen next year.  The second phase will include construction of administrative offices and a roadway being built out to Route 26.

    The new Rural Health Center’s site, located off Cole Road behind the Meadowbrook Terrace Assisted Living Facility, was approved by the Town of Champion Planning Board on Dec. 1, 2018. Conditions on which the site was approved include the water flow requirement for fire services, looping the water supply to Route 26, the realignment of a dried stream and the dedication of the lighting when the roads are turned over to the town – all of which have been added to the hospital’s site design maps.

    The new location will put the hospital outside of the Metropolitan Statistical Area designation and will allow for more funding options for the Rural Health Center.

    To help pay for the phases, the hospital applied for a $25 million state grant in March, but is still awaiting a response. Most recently, the hospital received a $3 million state grant on Tuesday following their Consolidated Funding Application.

    Mr. Duvall said this money will be applied directly to the second phase.

    The hospital is also beginning a campaign to raise $3 and $4 million for the new hospital in a three-year period. Mr. Duvall said the campaign is still in the very early stages, with a feasibility study just finished in November. The initiative is hoped to be launched in the spring.

    Construction on the hospital building originally began in 1962 and the facility opened in 1965. The most significant overhaul of the campus was a 2007, $9.2 million renovation that included an obstetrical and maternity center, a new surgical wing with four operating rooms in a new wing and a modernized medical and pediatric care wing in the original building.

    The review of the hospital’s future began in 2016, when the board of directors asked Mr. Duvall to prepare a five-year plan. The original goal was to explore a hospital renovation.

    Early in the process, however, it became apparent that renovation was not an appealing path to follow. In addition to the physical problems, the hospital’s footprint has gradually spread from the hospital across two villages and four off-sites clinics. By creating a larger, single-site campus and the hospital could deliver services far more efficiently.

    The difference in cost of new versus renovation is small. Renovating the hospital and adding clinic space would cost $44 million, according to a feasibility study. The estimated cost of building a new clinic and administrative space is $49 million.

    A cost of $15 to $20 million to furnish, add necessary fixtures and medical equipment would apply to either option.

    In addition, a renovation would have to be done over 10 years and accommodate keeping the hospital in operation while the work is done. That upheaval could damage the good customer service reputation the hospital is working hard to build and continue.

    The new building will also be designed to accommodate the advancing technology of medicine, while accomplishing that in a renovation would be difficult.

    The timetable for the new construction is about three years.

    Further developing the hospital’s relationship with Crouse Health will also be a main priority for next year, Mr. Duvall said.

    After forming the clinical affiliation last year with two other Northern New York hospitals, the management, physicians and staff from all partner hospitals are working together to develop systems that will “transform” the health care system in the north country.

    Crouse Health employs 3,300 staff members between two hospitals and 500 license beds. Crouse was already affiliated with Northwell Health, the state’s largest health care provider, reaching more than two million people in New York City’s metro area each year.

    “We at Crouse feel one of our greatest assets is our culture. It sets the tone for quality care, which drives our finances as well,” said Crouse President and CEO Kimberly A. Boynton in 2017. “We all are committed to success in our communities, to the health of our communities, to our patients and our employees.”

    In regard to the rest of 2019, Mr. Duvall the building replacement is the primary goal.

    “I would say about 80 percent of our energy is going to be focused on that and continuing to provide the high quality care that we do,” Mr. Duvall said.