Penn Yan joins parade of expanding hospitals

Staff reports

Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic aren’t the only local medical institutions looking to expand. Fund-raising is under way for a multi-phase, $9 million renovation and construction project at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Penn Yan.

The hospital was opened in 1924 and named in honor of World War I veterans. More than 500 people work at the facility today, making it the largest employer in Yates County.

In 1984, a long-term care unit — The Homestead — was added.

The first phase of the renovation, already under way, includes relocating several departments.

More than 25,000 patients a year visit physical, occupational and speech therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation departments. The facilities will move from the second floor to space formerly occupied by the kitchen and cafeteria on the ground floor.

In addition, the pharmacy will be moved from the attached Medical Arts building to the hospital’s second floor.

Phase Two is scheduled to begin this summer and take about a year to complete. A new entrance and lobby area will be built, and green space will be expanded near the entrance, including landscaping for the main drive and parking areas. Parking will also be expanded.

The gift shop will be moved to the new lobby, and other upgrades and replacements will be made.

The final phase, which will begin by the middle of next year, is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

The emergency department will be redesigned to accommodate its roughly 8,500 patients a year. New walls and sliding glass panels will provide added patient privacy, replacing the curtains that now separate treatment areas. Registration and a waiting room for the emergency department will be in a  separate area from other lab and procedure registration.

A $1.5 million grant has been obtained under the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers program. In addition, $4 million will come from Finger Lakes Health Foundation. The local fund-raising effort, called the Cornerstone of Care Campaign, seeks to raise $1.5 million.

“This is a truly excellent hospital,” said James Dooley, president and CEO of Finger Lakes Health, which oversees the Penn Yan hospital. “(It is) staffed by an excellent medical staff and extremely dedicated employees that deserve enthusiastic support from community members it serves so well.”

Thompson Hospital officials are proposing a 45,000-square-foot, two-story addition that would house six larger, modernized operating rooms. Hospital officials estimate the cost at more than $28 million.

Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic is in the midst of a $3.5 million, 23,000-square-foot addition.

All local hospitals are awaiting recommendations from the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency’s Community Health System 2020 Commission, which is evaluating the need for hospital beds in the region as well as building and equipment needs. The agency’s recommendations must go to the state Health Department by June 30.