Peconic Bay Medical Center’s planned critical care tower took a giant step forward this week with news of a $5 million gift from the John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation.
The donation, which hospital officials said is among the largest in PBMC’s history, was announced Monday during a charity golf event at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton. It will go toward establishing a cardiac care program at the Riverhead hospital that officials are calling “the first comprehensive cardiac program on eastern Long Island.”
In a statement, Mr. Kanas said “establishing a comprehensive cardiac program is a game-changer for our region.”
“During a heart attack, time is life,” the former North Fork Bank CEO said. “If cardiac care can be performed here in a timely way, we will save lives and strengthen the communities we serve.”
As the News-Review first reported in April, the cardiac care program is part of a larger $60 million project to build a new critical care tower at PBMC.
The tower will entail a significant two-story expansion of the existing emergency department and will house the cardiac care program, hospital officials said. The program will include two state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization labs, an electrophysiology suite, recovery rooms and an 18-bed intensive care unit/cardiac care unit, according to a press release.
“We are deeply grateful to John and Elaine for their tremendous generosity,” PBMC president and CEO Andy Mitchell said in a statement. “Together with Northwell Health, we are creating a world-class medical center on the East End [of Long Island]. We can offer a full range of advanced services to the community that it so desperately needs.”
The donation wasn’t the only major news publicized during the charity golf outing. It was also announced that Dr. Stanley Katz will step down from his position as chairman of cardiology and interventional cardiology at Northwell, where he has been for 25 years, and move to the East End, where he will lead the heart center at PBMC.
“He is a remarkable individual and nationally renowned,” Mr. Mitchell said in a telephone interview Tuesday. He added that he has known Dr. Katz for about 25 years and has a close working relationship with him.
“He recognizes the huge unmet need out on the East End, loves the lifestyle on the North Fork and wants to come here and change health care himself,” Mr. Mitchell added.
In addition to Dr. Katz joining the PBMC family, Eastern Suffolk Cardiology also announced it will be ending its relationship with the Stony Brook University health system and joining Northwell. That combination is “huge news” for PBMC patients, Mr. Mitchell said.
“Dr. Katz will be practicing with a group of highly respected, extremely competent community cardiologists at the same time that he is going to come out here and set up the heart center,” he said.
Eastern Suffolk Cardiology currently has locations in Riverhead, Wading River, Hampton Bays and Southampton.
The critical care tower would make PBMC the first licensed trauma center on the North Fork and be among the most costly projects in the hospital’s history, Mr. Mitchell previously told the News-Review.
Under the proposal, the hospital would build a two-story extension over its existing emergency room. The new ER would add four updated trauma bays to the hospital’s existing bays with upgraded equipment and connections to the larger Northwell Health network, allowing 24/7 monitoring of patients’ conditions.
Atop the new structure would be a Federal Aviation Administration-approved helipad capable of landing Suffolk County, Coast Guard and Northwell Health helicopters, Mr. Mitchell has said.