BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO
Peconic Bay Medical Center experienced a 4.3 percent increase in patient admissions through July, making it the fastest growing hospital in Suffolk County and the second fastest in all of Long Island.
While hospitals throughout Long Island are generally showing a decline in patient admissions, Riverhead’s Peconic Bay Medical Center were up 4.3 percent this year. In terms of patient admissions, it is the fastest growing hospital in Suffolk and the second fastest on all of Long Island.
The figures were released by the Nassau Suffolk Hospital Council this week and reflect 2010 results as of July 31. Only South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside exceeded the PBMC growth rate, with admission increasing there so far this year by 5.8 percent.
Two factors account for the growth, said PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell.
Census data shows that population has increased by double digits in the hospital’s service area, he said. At the same time, he credited the opening of the Kanas Center for Advanced Surgery last September with attracting many doctors who wanted to perform their surgeries at PBMC.
He also cited the addition of a robotic surgery specialty at the hospital in May, predicting that it would continue to draw patients and reap benefits for Peconic Bay.
Most Long Island Hospitals showed an average decline of about 1.5 percent in patient admissions so far this year, according to the council. Eastern Long Island Hospital reflected a slight decline in admissions by .17 percent while Southampton, PBMC’s other sister hospital, showed a .08 percent increase. Stony Brook, which is the hub for the three East End hospitals, showed a slight decline of .1 percent.
Exploring the similarities between Peconic Bay and South Nassau, Mr. Mitchell said both undertook major construction projects and both implemented the da Vinci Surgical Robotics program this year. Dr. Hannah Ortiz of Mattituck was the first surgeon to use the da Vinci Surgical Robot and has completed 20 gynecological operations with it.
The robot enables doctors to perform less invasive surgeries, lessening recuperation time, Dr. Ortiz said last spring.
The robot is also being used in prostate and renal surgeries, Mr. Mitchell said. On Monday, Dr. Katan Badani, who leads one of the largest and most comprehensive robotic oncology programs in the country at Columbia University Medical Center, was onsite at Peconic Bay training surgeons there in urology surgeries.
Prior to installation of the da Vinci Surgical Robot, PBMC hadn’t performed prostate surgeries in about seven years, Mr. Mitchell said. Urology surgeries will account for significant growth in the next year or so, he predicted. Mr. Mitchell also said he expects Peconic Bay will become a destination hospital for orthopedic surgery as that department continues to grow.
The ability to attract doctors in a wide array of specialties and to assure that they have top-notch training and state-of-the-art operating facilities and equipment means that more area residents will be able to be treated close to home, Mr. Mitchell said.
“If you provide quality services where people live, they prefer to go to a hospital closer to home,” he said. “It’s just the right thing to do for the community,” he said.