The fundraising push to bring advanced cardiac and trauma services to a key hospital on the East End is going public.
Officials at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead recently announced the public launch of the New Era Campaign, the largest philanthropic fundraising initiative in the hospital’s history. The goal is to raise $28 million toward a $60 million major critical care tower, which will house an advanced heart center and expand emergency medical services for the East End.
To date, the campaign has raised more than $20 million, mostly through private donations, according to hospital officials.
In March, the New York State Department of Health gave the hospital approval to build two cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology suites, as well as a rooftop helipad. The cardiac center, which will be known as the Kanas Regional Heart Center, will be in the critical care tower.
Andrew Mitchell, the hospital’s president and CEO, said hospital officials expect to break ground for the new facilities in July based on the success of private fundraising efforts. Construction would take two years.
Mitchell said improving Peconic Bay’s ability to treat patients with cardiac issues has been one of the hospital’s major goals since he arrived at the facility in 2001 to develop advanced cardiac services for the region.
“When one looks at the map of Long Island and you realize the vast geography that is not capable of doing an intervention for a heart attack, it’s really remarkable,” he said.
Mitchell said that in the past few weeks, more than 20 patients were transferred out of the hospital’s emergency room with life-threatening heart conditions that required services from a cardiac catheterization lab.
“There is a saying in cardiology that ‘time is muscle,’ ” said Susan Somerville, vice president of clinical transformation at the hospital. “During that six-hour window that a heart attack and heart damage occurs, every minute counts.”
As an example, Dr. Stanley Katz, director of interventional cardiology and chairman of the hospital’s Cardiology Department, pointed to a Riverhead woman he recently saw who needed an angiogram, a procedure that uses an X-ray image to examine blood flow in an artery, and possibly a stent placement procedure.
Peconic could not treat her. Patients needing such procedures now have to travel to other hospitals farther away, but an on-site facility would provide such services quickly.
“For patients and for families of the patients, this will be a huge benefit to bring the kind of care that you could only get at major centers farther out west,” said Katz, referring to western Suffolk County and noting that the time saved “can make a huge difference in the ability of the patient to survive and have a better quality of life.”
Cash and construction
50,000 square feet of construction will create the new hospital facilities
$13M is the Peconic Bay Medical Center’s previous most successful fundraising campaign
June 3 event celebrating the launch of the campaign raised more than $400,000