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Southside Hospital upgrades emergency room, creates more parking

The Bay Shore facility will spend at least $112 million to renovate its ER, add cardiac labs and expand lots to ease downtown parking.

Southside Hospital's emergency room expansion, seen on Jan.

Southside Hospital's emergency room expansion, seen on Jan. 10, 2018, is part of a $112 million renovation. Photo Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Southside Hospital visitors will find a larger emergency room, shorter wait times and easier parking with a redevelopment worth at least $112 million, officials said.

The Bay Shore hospital is expanding its emergency room fivefold, adding inpatient services and creating nearly 200 parking spaces to keep up with its growing number of patients, hospital officials said.

Officials estimated that during the past 18 months, new programs or additions have opened every seven weeks. This week alone, an emergency room addition will open, the old ER will close for renovations and a system for physicians to video conference with trauma and ICU patients will go live.

Officials said the hospital’s growth is so rapid that the corridors are different seemingly every time they go down them.

“We are a construction site that provides high-quality health care,” nursing director Andrew Kamer said. “It’s a big lift.”

Officials of the Northwell Health-owned hospital said they began planning the redevelopment about three years ago and expect projects to be completed by the end of 2018.

Part of the plan includes aiming to ease downtown parking troubles with new lots, officials said. Seventy-seven spaces have already been made available at the sites of two demolished administrative buildings on Union Boulevard. A warehouse on East Main Street is set to be razed by the end of January to create another 110 spots.

Liliana and Jesus Tiza, who own Golden Chicken restaurant on East Main Street, said Southside lots are often completely full, causing visitors to park in downtown lots reserved for business patrons.

“They help a lot if they put in more parking,” Jesus Tiza said.

Officials said the redevelopment’s main undertaking is revamping the 10,000-square-foot emergency room. The overcrowded department had 70,000 visitors in 2017 in a space built for 18,000.

The $76 million project’s first phase — to add 30,000 square feet — was completed in September 2016. A 10,000-square-foot addition was set to open this week with a clinical decision unit, where staff can determine if patients need to be admitted to the hospital.

With renovations to the original ER, the completed 53,000-square-foot department is expected to open in July and accommodate 94,000 people a year, Executive Director Donna Moravick said.

The tax-exempt hospital with 341 beds has also relocated administrative and outpatient programs to open up spaces for inpatient services.

Procedure wait times were reduced by creating an interventional cardiology suite and a trauma bay, officials said.

“This would better serve our population to better serve the community,” said Eileen Reilly, nurse manager of cardiac catheterization.

Josephine Lomeli, of Brentwood, said she heard the renovations will be beautiful as she waited for Southside’s free valet parking with her husband, John, last week.

“It’s a good hospital. It’s going to be great,” Lomeli said.

Hospital officials said other completed changes include:

  • Moving rehabilitation services to Glen Cove Hospital to open up beds for medical and surgical patients
  • Moving behavioral health unit to South Oaks Hospital in Amityville to create stepdown ICU
  • Installing FAA-sanctioned helipad
  • Converting part of gift shop into outpatient pharmacy
  • Creating isolation suite in case of highly contagious diseases
  • Adding room with iPads for ER patients waiting for test results
  • Opening two cardiac labs
  • Relocating pediatrics to create cardiology suite

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