Peconic Bay Medical Center embarks on major emergency department expansion


Peconic Bay Medical Center is embarking on a $20 million expansion of its emergency department.

Riverhead Hospital last month submitted an application to the state Department of Health for approval for the expansion, which will provide nine additional treatment rooms and a Level 2 trauma room with direct access to a new scanner.

The expansion will increase department space by nearly 75%, adding 7,409 square feet to the existing 10,000 square foot emergency department. A portion of an existing hull space adjacent to the current emergency department will be completed and a 4,018 square foot extension will be added where the existing exterior ambulance bays are located. New ambulance bays will also be built.

The unfinished ground floor hull space and existing open-air ambulance entrance were part of the construction of the Corey Critical Care Pavilion. The Intensive Care Pavilion, which opened in 2020, includes a 16-bed intensive care and cardiac care unit. It is also the new, expanded headquarters of the Kanas Regional Heart Center, which includes two cardiac catheterization labs, an electrophysiology room, and convalescent homes. The $67.8 million pavilion also has a helipad.

The emergency department expansion is designed for critical patients, Amy Loeb, executive director of Peconic Bay Medical Center, said in a Nov. 2 interview at the hospital.

These are patients “who need very urgent care like this ‘golden hour care,’ someone coming in for a stroke, a heart attack, a trauma, sepsis, Loeb said. This is an area that is designed with a team that is dedicated to this type of critical care,” Loeb said.

Demand for critical care in the ER has increased as the hospital has increased its capacity to provide critical patient care with the addition of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab and its designation as a Level 3 Trauma Center and primary stroke center.

The overall operation of the emergency department will be more efficient because there will be a separate element in the area for lower-acuity care, Loeb said.

The number of patients visiting PBMC’s emergency department for treatment continues to rise and is expected to exceed 38,000 visits this year, Loeb said.

“The emergency department sees 700 strokes a year, 60 true STEMI heart attacks, which escalate to the cath lab, and 1,300 trauma activations,” she said.

A STEMI heart attack is the most deadly type of heart attack, caused by a blockage in a coronary artery, and requires immediate intervention – usually a procedure to remove the blockage and place a stent in the artery.

The number of trauma team activations has doubled in the past three years, Loeb said. Trauma care can range from a car accident to a broken hip, she said.

The hospital continues to grow under Loeb’s leadership. The Executive Director joined PBMC in December 2015 as Chief Nursing Officer. She was named deputy chief executive in 2019 and became the hospital’s chief executive last year when its longtime president and chief executive, Andrew Mitchell, retired.

Women’s health is a growth area for the hospital, and she has worked to expand the scope of services offered in this area of ​​”life-long” care, Loeb said.

For example, the hospital now has a board-certified gynecologist, Dr. Susan Lee, as the head of breast surgery. It seeks to expand neonatal care, Loeb said. In June, PBMC announced that Dr. Brian McKenna, obstetrician-gynecologist, had joined the hospital as director of women’s health. He will lead efforts to expand the hospital’s labor and delivery facilities and expand the hospital’s clinical staff in this area.

To create more patient care space, the hospital is closing its Skilled Nursing Facility, which it has operated since 1985. The precise intended use of the space where the nursing facility is located has not not yet been definitively determined, Loeb said. The retirement home is expected to close by the end of the year.

PBMC is also developing plans for the 24-acre Bishop McGann-Mercy campus it purchased from the Diocese of Rockville Center in 2020. Renovations to the junior high building are underway to accommodate administrative offices now housed in the former headquarters of the Suffolk County National Bank. building on second street. The hospital negotiates a contract with the City of Riverhead to sell the downtown property, known as the Entenmann Campus, to the city for use as a new city hall.

The hospital was granted permission to use offices in the former college building of the Riverhead Zoning Appeal Board on Thursday evening.

Plans for the rest of the Catholic High School’s old campus are not yet finalized, hospital officials said at the ZBA meeting.

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