South Nassau sets $130M addition, upgrade

South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside announced plans to construct a 58,000-square-foot addition at its southwest corner, featuring 24 additional beds – doubling the emergency department’s current capacity – and modernized operating theaters, replacing emergency ORs that are, in some cases, over 40 years old.

The estimated $130 million project will also upgrade the hospital’s emergency electrical system and construct a new energy-efficient central utility plant with auxiliary heating and air-conditioning systems, while plans also include expanded waiting areas and separate treatment spaces for pediatric, geriatric and behavioral patients, according to the hospital.

One key design element is a dedicated elevator connecting the new operating rooms to the new critical-care unit; another is a large surgical-equipment sterilization unit connected to the operating suites. While helping South Nassau Communities Hospital meet the rising regional need for same-day, elective and emergency surgical care, the expansion will also help South Nassau answer current and future calls for highly specialized critical-care services, the hospital said.

The renovations address “the future needs of the communities we serve along the South Shore of Nassau County,” hospital President and CEO Richard Murphy noted.

“We are seeing increased demand for emergency services, as well as for critical-care beds,” Murphy said in a statement. “The addition will benefit the entire southern tier of the county, including residents of Long Beach.”

Residents of Long Beach are already expected to benefit from a planned $40 million medical arts pavilion, slated for construction on the site of the former Long Beach Medical Center, which was permanently shuttered by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. South Nassau currently operates a free-standing emergency department in Long Beach – Long Island’s only free-standing, hospital-affiliated emergency department – and ultimately plans to fold it into the new pavilion, which is also expected to include a slate of primary care, dialysis and therapy-based services.

The South Nassau Communities Hospital expansion will increase the emergency department’s physical size from 16,000 to 30,000 square feet, giving the department the capacity to accommodate more than 80,000 patient visits each year. The department is already one of the busiest in Nassau, treating over 65,000 patients annually – in facilities designed to handle about 35,000 a year, according to the hospital.

Currently comprised of 35 patient-treatment bays, the emergency department is already a New York State Department of Health-certified regional stroke center and southern Nassau County’s only Level II trauma center.

Hospital officials have already briefed local officeholders and community leaders about the expansion plans and are seeking community input before finalizing a proposal that must ultimately earn formal approvals from municipal and state governments.

Financing for the emergency department expansion could come from the more than $170 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to allocate to the hospital in 2014. Those funds, administered by the state, were appropriated by Congress after South Nassau “demonstrated a commitment and sufficient financial strength to restore medical services to the South Shore” following Sandy.