For Long Island Jewish Medical Center, a $300 million expansion project -- the largest in the North Shore-LIJ Health System's history -- is not just a physical transformation, but one that ushers in a "new philosophy of care," officials said Thursday.
The 10-story glass tower containing 162 single-bed rooms with "hotel-like accommodations" transforms the appearance of the hospital, which straddles the Nassau County and Queens border in New Hyde Park, officials said. The new addition, whose construction began in 2008, is scheduled to open to the public next month.
Addressing about 400 people who gathered for the ceremony in the gleaming new two-story lobby of the 57,000-square-foot Zuckerberg Pavilion, Michael Dowling, president and chief executive of the North Shore-LIJ system, said: "What you're looking at is not just a new, magnificent building. What you're actually looking at is a new philosophy of care. . . . It represents a new way to welcome families, patients and members of the community."
The Zuckerberg Pavilion, the hospital's new entrance, contains not only the lobby -- which boasts a wellness boutique, meditation suite and other amenities -- but also 60 new single-bed surgical rooms on the eighth and ninth floors, and a physical therapy gym.
"It's a new front door to the community," Dowling said, one that focuses not just on caring for the sick, but also on wellness and prevention.
In addition to the pavilion, the project includes the Katz Women's Hospital, which features a range of maternity and gynecological services with 88 private patient rooms and 14 labor and delivery rooms.
Both the pavilion and the women's hospital are named for longtime hospital benefactors and former chairmen of the hospital's board of trustees, Roy Zuckerberg and Saul Katz, both of whom remain on the board of trustees and who spoke at Thursday's celebration, along with Katz's wife, Iris, an associate hospital trustee.
As evidence of the "customized approach" to patient care that hospital officials said was being enhanced, a longtime North Shore-LIJ patient, Cheryl Lampasona, 30, of Mineola, spoke about her experience nine years ago when she learned she had a rare form of ovarian cancer. "My future looked grim. It was not the news a 21-year-old girl wanted to hear."
After 12 surgeries, Lampasona told the crowd, "I am so honored to be standing in front of you, healthy and with my beautiful family," as her husband stood behind her holding their two children she gave birth to at North Shore-LIJ.