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Queens Chronicle

Construction starts on surgery center

Lawmakers and personnel celebrate at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:30 am

Politicians and hospital staff celebrated NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s new Ambulatory Surgery Center with a groundbreaking last Friday at the site.

Set to be completed by 2021, the center will feature 5,000 square feet of additional space and include a new operating room, four new procedure rooms, 18 pre- and post-procedure beds and waiting areas.

Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights) said it was “amazing news in a week where we’re hearing from other places, down in Washington, that communities like ours would be in danger of not looking for the health care that they need.”

Dr. Renee Spiegel, who has worked at the hospital for more than 30 years and is the director of surgery at the hospital, noted how the hospital has changed over time.

“Since that time we have completely outgrown the small space that we currently inhabit. So anyone who walks around the operating room can just see that there’s just not enough space to take care of the patients,” she said, adding that it creates delays and longer waiting times.

Providers from a range of specialities including urology, gastroenterology, general surgery, pulmonology, ophthalmology and gynecology will practice in the center. The hospital will be able to increase the volume of its same-day surgeries by approximately 45 percent with a projected revenue of $6.8 million.

Funding for the $5.5 million project was made possible by Councilmembers Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Francisco Moya (D-Corona) and the overall Queens City Council delegation. Construction is set to be completed in the spring of 2021.

“What goes on in the emergency room is the stuff that television shows are made of,” Dromm said.

The lawmaker said his mother was in the hospital three times and was saved three times. He joked that she was always telling the staff how the hospital could be run better but when she was put on the hospital’s newsletter, she wanted it framed.

Dromm pointed out that Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) said yes immediately to the $5.5 million figure because he understood the need of the hospital in the community.

Moya was born in the hospital and was later a director of business development at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.

He also remembered when his mother was in the hospital.

“If it wasn’t for the great care of the urology department, things could have gone a little different,” Moya said. “They didn’t know that her son was the local councilmember. They just knew that they needed to take care of a sick patient.”

Instead of a ceremonial groundbreaking, there was a “wall-breaking,” as the lawmakers and hospital personnel took hammers to the design of the existing women’s option center as the new design was displayed next to it.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Israel Rocha Jr. said, “What we’re bringing to life is really a building but what it is more than that is the place that will save hundreds of lives.”

The 545-bed hospital is a Level 1 trauma center, an emergency heart care station and a 911-receiving hospital. Last year, the hospital received nearly 700,000 ambulatory care visits and more than 130,000 emergency room visits.

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