On Friday, elected officials and hospital executives kicked off the process for the $43.3 million capital project, funded by the City Council, Queens borough president’s office, mayor’s office and state’s DSRIP program.
The renovated two-story structure will contain 103 beds, a large increase from the current capacity of 63 beds.
According to Israel Rocha, vice president of Health + Hospitals and CEO at Elmhurst, the hospital’s emergency department sees almost 140,000 patients per year. That makes it one of the busiest in the county.
But Elmhurst Hospital is one of the oldest facilities in Queens, Rocha noted. Some parts of the hospital date back to the 1950s, while others were most recently updated in the 1990s.
“Both need a little bit of love and investment,” he said.
The department will feature 32 private rooms, including seven negative pressure airborne isolation rooms, four rooms for obstetrical emergencies, one for critical care isolation, one for special pathogens isolation, and additional treatment rooms.
Other wings include the adult emergency department and trauma center, children’s pediatrics center, behavioral health center, a holding and observation unit and additional surgical beds.
The capital project will bring state-of-the-art technology to the department as well, such as an advanced medical imaging unit in the stroke center, centralized radiology services and more.
“The beautiful part about that is now we have life-saving technology that can take a condition that used to claim a life, and you can almost walk out within a day or 48 hours,” Rocha said.
The hospital CEO said the investment ensures that whenever residents are in need of medical services, all they have to do to access “the best care” is walk through the doors at Elmhurst Hospital.
“Today, we take that one step further and bring the best that global technology has to offer to the footsteps of residents of Queens,” he said.
Dr. Stuart Kessler, the director of emergency medicine at Elmhurst, said despite the hospital staff providing the “kind of care you would want your family members to get,” they were doing it in a facility that was overcrowded. As a result, patients never got the privacy they really needed.
But with more space for critical care, better technology and top-notch staff, he said Elmhurst will be seen as the best emergency department in the borough.
“All these things together should really make Elmhurst Hospital the provider of choice in the borough of Queens,” Kessler said.
“I want to make a promise to this community,” added Catherine Lind, associate executive director of the Emergency Services and Trauma Program. “We will continue to provide excellent care and show our commitment to our neighbors in our community by always being here for you.”
According to Rocha, the new emergency department will be constructed in phases, with a final completion date by spring 2022.
Over the next few weeks, certain departments, starting with behavioral health, will be relocated to make room for construction.
He asked the community for patience as the hospital builds up the department. But they won’t have to wait three years to see different components because new wings will open up along the way.
“It almost felt like a dream, like it was never going to happen,” Rocha said. “But through perseverance and hard work, we were determined to make this happen.”