A rendering of the proposed women’s and infant care center...

A rendering of the proposed women’s and infant care center at Peconic Bay Medical Center. Credit: Peconic Bay Medical Center

Peconic Bay Medical Center and Northwell Health officials said Friday they plan to invest $92 million to expand emergency services and build a new women’s and infant care unit at the Riverhead hospital. 

The five-year project, subject to regulatory approvals, also will increase capacity at the 144-bed hospital. 

"Women in this community deserve the best care team as well as better facilities for them and their families," Peconic Bay executive director Amy Loeb said Friday at an event announcing the expansion at the hospital.

Peconic Bay executive director Amy Loeb Friday at an event announcing...

Peconic Bay executive director Amy Loeb Friday at an event announcing the expansion at the hospital. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

The hospital, which delivers around 500 babies each year, will seek state Department of Health approval to create a women's and infant care center in its Skilled Nursing facility, which closed earlier this year.

The new $19 million wing will have a separate entrance, increase the number of operating rooms for Caesarean sections to two and add 12 private postpartum rooms. 

The hospital also will develop a Level 2 neonatal intensive care unit for sick or premature newborns who require advanced medical attention. 

A second $20 million project will add 6,600 square feet to the hospital’s emergency department, which sees close to 40,000 patients each year. 

Nine additional treatment rooms, a Level 2 trauma room and CT scanner and reconfiguration of ambulance bays are included in the plans, which recently obtained preliminary approval from the state Health Department and could open as soon as next summer, Loeb said.

The remaining $53 million will go toward adding between 16 and 20 private rooms, a move Loeb says brings the hospital closer to its goal of only offering private rooms to patients

“With a larger emergency department, we will require even more [capacity] so we want to plan for that and be prepared,” Loeb said.

Since joining Northwell Health in 2016, Peconic officials said demand for services has grown due to population gains on the East End.

Census data shows that from 2010 to 2020, the population increased 7% in Riverhead and 8% in Southold.

“We started to see volume constraints at times,” said Stephen Bello, Northwell’s regional executive director for Suffolk County and eastern Nassau County. Bello said five years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for the hospital to average fewer than 100 patients each day. Today, there are times when the hospital has up to 160 patients.

“The amount of people seeking medical care … We just need more beds,” Bello said.

Friday’s announcement is Peconic's latest effort to ramp up care on the East End.

In January 2020, the hospital unveiled a $67.8 million critical and cardiac care unit that included a rooftop helipad, intensive and cardiac care unit and two cardiac catheterization labs.

Plans for the former Bishop McGann-Mercy High School, located next to the hospital's campus, are also progressing after Peconic acquired the shuttered Catholic school for $14 million in 2020. 

Several administrative offices, including medical billing and records, relocated to the school after vacating an office on Second Street in downtown Riverhead. That building, a former bank, was sold for $20 million to the Town of Riverhead and will eventually become a new Town Hall.

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