In Long Beach, the art of medicine

Medical Arts PavillionArtists rendition of the planned Medical Arts facility.

BY GREGORY ZELLER

Expect the “hospital without beds” coming soon to the site of the former Long Beach Medical Center to be a bastion of Long Island-based technology.

While South Nassau Communities Hospital officials stress they’re in the earliest planning stages, the new Medical Arts Pavilion – to rise on the site of the defunct medical center, which was shuttered in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy – is likely to be stocked with state-of-the-art technologies, including many being developed in the pavilion’s back yard.

“We expect a healthy relationship with Long Island’s many tech-based businesses,” said SNCH spokesman Damian Becker.

In addition to an around-the-clock emergency department, the 30,000-square-foot center is slated to include new facilities for family medicine, behavioral health, dialysis, ambulatory surgery and other medical services, according to South Nassau’s March 18 announcement.

But exactly what cutting-edge technologies will be employed on the site – and where they’ll come from – are yet to be determined, according to Becker. First up, he noted, is a series of needs-assessment surveys to determine the exact slate of services offered at the new pavilion.

“The surveys will be essential to determining the services and programs provided at the medical arts pavilion,” Becker told Innovate-LI. “Once we know the services and programs, then we’ll know the technologies and innovations we will invest in to deliver them.”

Whatever services and technologies ultimately comprise the project, the Medical Arts Pavilion will represent a major financial investment in Long Beach – and not South Nassau’s first such investment since the superstorm ravaged the Long Beach Medical Center almost three years ago. South Nassau opened a temporary Urgent Care Center on the site last July, returning critical emergency services to the barrier island’s residents, and late this winter announced plans to spend an additional $5 million to upgrade that UCC by this summer.

The new Medical Arts Pavilion will be an extension of that upgraded center, with a permanent off-campus Emergency Department and other services to be determined by the needs-assessment surveys. While the Urgent Care Center stands two stories high, the pavilion could be expanded to a third floor if necessary, according to a SNCH statement.

Although SNCH is still preparing those surveys, officials said the Medical Arts Pavilion will definitely include “a full-service, 16-bay, 911-receiving, off-campus, hospital-based emergency department” and a “continuum of healthcare programs including diagnostic imaging suite with CT-scan, MRI and X-ray capabilities.”

In addition to bolstering Long Island’s innovation economy by incorporating groundbreaking technologies and breakthrough pharmaceuticals, the facility is projected to be a major jobs generator. There’s no official word yet on how many jobs will be created – that will depend on the pavilion’s exact slate of services – but Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, who represents Long Beach, praised the plan right out of the gate for its employment opportunities and “much-needed boost to our economy.”

Early plans also call for an energy-friendly “green” roof, landscaped courtyards and dedicated lounge spaces in patient-care areas incorporating views of Reynolds Bay. The facility, to be designed by award-winning New Orleans healthcare architects Blitch/Knevel, is slated to include parking for 250 patients, visitors and staff members.

“This new pavilion demonstrates our commitment to … residents across the barrier island,” South Nassau President and CEO Richard Murphy said in a written statement. “It is essentially a ‘hospital without beds’ and will go a long way to addressing the community’s medical needs.”

The temporary Urgent Care Center already houses some impressive technologies, including a 64-slice computed tomography scanner – an advanced X-ray device and the only working CT scanner on the barrier island, according to SNCH.

South Nassau Communities Hospital itself is certainly no stranger to next-level tech; the Oceanside hospital is the only medical facility on Long Island boasting the breakthrough Novalis Tx and Gamma Knife radiosurgery devices.

Once a services plan, complete with technological requirements, is completed, the Medical Arts Pavilion will require regulatory approval from the New York State Department of Health and other agencies. After approval, construction is estimated to take up to 24 months.