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New York-Presbyterian Latest Hospital Set to Expand

By Amy Zimmer | July 19, 2012 8:32am

UPPER EAST SIDE — The latest hospital to join the expansion trend on the Upper East Side is New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Hospital officials introduced preliminary plans to the local community board on Wednesday night for a 15-story eco-friendly facility on York Avenue between East 68th and 69th streets that will serve as an ambulatory care center with 12 operating rooms and 12 endoscopy rooms. It will also house a maternity facility with private rooms.

“We have the very good fortune that people want to visit us,” said Sharon Greenberger, senior vice president of engineering told Community Board 8. “But we are at capacity and would like to reduce wait times.”

Like many other hospitals across the city, by moving the less intensive outpatient surgeries from the main hospital, New York-Presbyterian will be able to free up more beds for the critical care given at the main hospital.

The new space will also allow for new state-of-the art operating rooms. “It’s the high-tech, less invasive procedural care in outpatient surgeries,” she said. “It’s easier for the patients and more cost effective.”

By concentrating the facilities, it also helps improve doctor communication, she noted.

Greenberger said the hospital did not yet know whether all of Weill Cornell’s maternity services would be relocated to the new building or just some.

“We’ve seen increased preference from mothers and families for more privacy and to be separate from other hospital functions,” Greenberger said.

Officials stressed that this was the first of what’s expected to be many visits to the community board over the next several years.  The facility would replace two existing residential buildings with more than 200 tenants, the overwhelming majority of whom are hospital staff.

Officials said they’ve already notified residents and will be relocating many of them and providing others with real estate brokers to help with their searches. There are also a handful of rent-regulated tenants in the buildings. Greenberger said the hospital pledged to find them housing in other New York-Presbyterian-owned buildings at their same rents.

They also said they will be studying the building’s impact on traffic in the area.

Hospital officials plan to return in the fall with designs of the LEED-certified building before heading to the Board of Standard and Appeals for a zoning variance. Officials hope to start construction in 2014.

Though the images presented were in the very early stages, Greenberger said of the lobby, “We do want to create an warm, open and inviting entrance to the hospital.”

The announcement came on the heels of a good week for the hospital.

The eight-part ABC News documentary NY Med, focusing on the behind-the-scenes drama at New York-Presbyterian, recently premiered.  Also, the hospital (which also includes its Washington Heights campus at Columbia University Medical Center) ranked No. 1 in New York and No. 7 overall in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report for its 2012-13 Best Hospitals rankings.

“We’re very proud to be a world-class hospital and this community’s hospital,” Greenberger told Community Board 8.

The facility would rise amid other medical facilities. It would be next to Weill Cornell research facilities and directly across the street from its main hospital.

It would also be flanked by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (ranked No. 5 in New York), whose plans for a new ambulatory care facility on the corners York Avenue and East 61st Street were approved last month by the Board of Standards and Appeals after facing community opposition.

The Hospital for Special Surgery (ranked No. 6 in New York) also announced last month plans to build an ambulatory care facility on the block stretching from East 73rd to 74th streets, between York Avenue and the FDR Drive.