Peconic Bay Medical Center is seeking a temporary certificate of occupancy that would allow its cardiac care unit to open by Feb. 14, according to PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell.
Mr. Mitchell and other hospital officials met with the Riverhead Town Board at is Thursday work session, where they explained that amendments to the site plan approved in February 2017 will also be needed.
The temporary CO will be good for six months, officials said. The town would then have time to review the changes to the site plan.
Kimberly Judd, an attorney for PBMC, said the town fire marshal has given them permission to move furniture and personnel into the building, but they can’t operate yet until they finish some “fire marshal items.” Once that’s done, they can apply for the temporary CO.
Mr. Mitchell said PBMC cannot apply for State Department of Health approvals until they get the temporary CO from the town.
“We’re targeting an opening date of Feb. 14 if all goes well over the next week,” Mr. Mitchell said, acknowledging how the opening would coincide with Valentine’s Day. “But I can’t guarantee the date yet. Once it gets up to the state level, we lose control over it.”
There’s a long checklist from the state Department of Health, of which about 95% is done, officials said.
The site plan calls for the construction of a $60 million, three-story addition of about 50,655 square feet for use as future emergency room space, a cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology suite and a new intensive care unit, along with two connecting bridges, a new heliport, and new elevator and stairs leading to an existing 244,720-square-foot medical center.
The new building is to the north of the property. Peconic Bay Medical Center is now part of Northwell Health. Officials held a ceremony to unveil the facility last month.
“The hospital has been going like gangbusters to do all the improvements that were approved by this Town Board in 2017,” said Jeff Murphree, the town’s building and planning administrator. “They are getting close to completion on a number of the elements of that plan.”
Some of the changes that are needed are a result of changes elsewhere, he said. For instance, some of the new, local ambulances are bigger than previous ones, requiring changes in the drop-off area, he said.
“The town will come up with contingencies to allow the hospital to move forward with what they have now so we don’t slow them up,” he said.
“This is a building that has been completely designed around critical care,” Mr. Mitchell said.
The first floor, which is still being designed, will have a large trauma center; the second floor, which is completely built out, is a 16-bed state-of-the-art intensive care unit that is linked by telemedicine to Northwell’s Syosset facility, which monitors patients in every intensive care unit, Mr. Mitchell said.
“It will be what’s called an E-ICU. Out staff will be there but they will be backed up by 24-hour intensive critical care, with nurses and physicians assistants also responding remotely,” he said
The third floor, which he described as “the premier part of the project,” includes “the entirely new cardiac care floor, which is a brand new cardiac catheterization laboratory, another room with a combination cardiac catheterization, and electrophysiology.”
Mr. Mitchell said it’s a complicated project, since that have to attach the new building to the original 1950s building.
Some parts of the project, like the helicopter pad, will take longer to complete, Mr. Murphree said.
The Town Board had created a special “hospital” zoning category in 2016 since the PBMC property was previously zoned “business center.”
Board members expressed support for PBMC’s plans Thursday.
“It’s a beautiful facility and Godspeed,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said.
“It’s nice to have quality health care on a local level,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said. “You don’t have to think Stony Brook or the city anymore.”