Minimalism, to the max, in Northwell’s new cath labs

Skin deep: State-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories are coming to two Long Island hospitals.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Two Long Island hospitals – one in each county – are among three Northwell Health facilities to earn state approvals for next-level heart-procedure laboratories.

Plainview Hospital, Port Jefferson’s Mather Hospital and Lenox Health Greenwich Village have each earned New York State Department of Health approvals clearing the way for new cardiac catheterization laboratories. The labs will be stocked with X-ray-guided catheters, key to a range of minimally invasive heart procedures.

The three facilities join Northwell Health’s Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, which earned state catheterization-lab approval in December.

The critical cardiac services are designed to unblock coronary arteries, perform tricky bypasses and otherwise repair the heart through minimally invasive means, causing less patient trauma and promoting faster recoveries.

In its new approvals, the Health Department cited both increased demand and Northwell’s advanced technological capabilities. It also set performance metrics, requiring each catheterization lab to perform a minimum of 36 percutaneous coronary interventions annually – that is, procedures effected through the skin.

William O’Connell: Access granted.

That shouldn’t be a problem, according to William O’Connell, executive director of Northwell Health cardiology services, who noted a specific geographic strategy is afoot and said he expects the new Long Island, Manhattan and Westchester laboratories to keep busy.

“With the investment in these four new PCI programs, we are able to advance our mission of improving access,” O’Connell said in a statement. “[We’re] bringing high-quality, complex cardiovascular services to our patients in their local communities.”

History certainly suggests the new catheterization labs will have no trouble reaching those relatively low state requirements. In 2019, Northwell’s system-wide interventional cardiology programs performed roughly 8,500 PCIs and nearly 22,000 diagnostic catheterizations, according to the New Hyde Park-based health system, led by Manhasset’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital and Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital.

With New York’s southern environs emerging as Northwell’s cardiac epicenter – and the state approvals in hand – the health system will follow up its $3.6 million investment in a new 1,709-square-foot Northern Westchester catheterization lab with three distinct construction projects.

The largest is at Lenox Health, where the approvals have greenlighted a $36.7 million, 11,667-square-foot catheterization lab featuring 10 prep/recovery bays and a state-of-the-art operating suite.

Mather Hospital’s $11.4 million addition, covering 3,644 square feet, will include its own electrophysiology laboratory, while Plainview Hospital is planning two catheterization laboratories as part of a larger, $19 million expansion effort.

Plainview Hospital Executive Director Michael Fener, who is also a Plainview resident and a volunteer firefighter and EMT, said there was no doubt bringing these critical cardiac services closer to home would benefit local populations.

“As a Plainview resident, I am thrilled to have this service available to my family, friends and neighbors,” Fener said Monday. “Additionally, as a volunteer firefighter for nearly 30 years as well as an EMT for the last five, I recognize the value to the community in having a service such as this located locally.”