With an eye toward maintaining patient wellness, a new Ambulatory Care Center at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is scheduled to open its doors to the public this month.
To celebrate the completion of the state-of-the-art facility, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last Thursday, with hospital officials and employees, elected officials and other community leaders on hand for the celebration.
The center is located in the Medical Science Building at the corner of 45th Avenue and Burling Street, adjacent to the hospital’s main facility.
“Our goal is population health management,” said President and CEO Bruce Flanz. “We want to focus on wellness. We want to keep people healthy throughout their entire life spans.
“We want to stress the importance of maintaining a healthy community. We hope people will take advantage of our services when they’re healthy,” Flanz said. “We’re shifting from a hospital-centric system to a patient-centric system and life-care system.”
The 8,900-square-foot center is replacing the existing center and offers many improvements, including 32 modern examination rooms, a dozen more than before.
Reports estimate that it will be possible for 50 percent more patients to be treated in a variety of services including medicine, pediatrics, surgery and approximately 30 sub-specialties, including ophthalmology, endocrinology and geriatrics.
The hospital was founded in 1884 by a group of community-minded women who set up a room with one bed in a rented house.
Esperanza Hermoso, a licensed practical nurse at the hospital for the past 22 years, has been witness to many of the changes.
Touring the new facility, Hermoso said, “the setup is good. It is more efficient for the patients.”
She was optimistic that there would be no more long waits for patients and no more moving from place to place for treatment.
As registered nurse and administrator, Mary McNamara said, the new facility provides “one-stop shopping.”
At a cost of approximately $4 million, funded by a state-provided Heal Grant, the new center is located in a building that formerly housed the hospital’s auditorium and office space, which have now been relegated to upper floors.
The new center will incorporate a new Electronic Health Record system, which allows for enhanced patient monitoring. The EHR also permits electronic e-prescribing of medications to the hospital’s on-site retail pharmacy or any other pharmacy. The MyChart feature of the EHR also allows patients to become more involved in their care by accessing their health records and making appointments.
According to estimates by McNamara, the new center will employ 11 registration-clerical staff members, 13 nursing staff members and three pediatric and three medical primary care providers.
The center, which will treat everyone from pre-natal to geriatric patients, “is what healthcare needs to look like,” said Dr. Robert Crupi, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine.
Through its recent National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient Centered Medical Home status, the center has been recognized as a model for providing patient-centered coordinated care. Community reaction to the impending opening of the facility has been positive.
“We’ve lost so many hospitals in the last five or six years,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This serves an important need in the community. Flushing Hospital is culturally sensitive to the needs of the community.”
Longtime area resident Felicita Hernandez said it is a very good hospital. “I hope they have more services. Then everything is going to be in good shape,” Hernandez added.
Eda Thompson, who travels from Whitestone to see two of her doctors at the hospital, said the expanded ambulatory services is a great idea. “You get to go home and not stay in the hospital,” Thompson noted.
Her friend, Deane Reed, also of Whitestone, agreed. “I think that’s fantastic. I don’t favor hospitals. I’ve been in and out of here all my life.”