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URMC expects vote on Brockport site in February

Rochester Business Journal
January 27, 2014

University of Rochester Medical Center officials expect a state committee to vote on approval of a Brockport ambulatory surgery center in mid-February.

The medical center’s plan to convert the former hospital to a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory surgery center—hoped by URMC to be in place as soon as last fall—could be six months away, URMC spokeswoman Teri D’Agostino said.

URMC bought the building after Lakeside hospital shut down last spring, renaming the facility Strong West. 

In a move meant to be a temporary stop on the way to opening a freestanding ED and surgery center, URMC began operating the Brockport facility as an urgent care center in June.

As an ED attached to Strong Memorial, the Brockport facility could handle more complex cases and, if observation beds are attached to it, accommodate some patients for 24- to 48-hour stays.

The delay is disappointing to Brockport and Western Monroe County patients and physicians, who had hoped to see it in place sooner, said James Gaden D.O.

A primary care physician whose single-doctor office is in Orleans County, Gaden is one of some 30 doctors formerly affiliated with Lakeside who has been meeting regularly to assess their own and the area’s health care options since the Brockport hospital’s closure. 

Several members of the group had hoped to secure privileges at the Strong West surgery center. Others view the former West Avenue hospital as a more convenient location to send patients in need of more than urgent care than Unity Hospital in Greece, the closest major hospital to Brockport, or other Rochester hospitals further away, Gaden said.

Last year, URMC officials privately told former Lakeside doctors that the conversion could be approved as early as last September and later amended the projection to January, he said. His own recent attempts to get an update from medical center personnel have been unsuccessful, Gaden added.
 
The state Department of Health’s ongoing review of the ED and surgery center proposal has taken longer than URMC officials had hoped, D’Agostino said.

Approval of the conversion is not guaranteed, she said. Medical center officials are hopeful of a positive outcome, but the hoped for ED’s path through state bureaucracy has taken unexpected turns, she added.

The medical center at first submitted a single certificate of need application asking the department’s Public Health and Health Planning Council, which reviews and says yea or nay to the applications, to approve the surgery center and the freestanding ED in a single vote.

The application bogged down, however, over council members’ questions over what role freestanding EDs should play in the state’s evolving health care landscape, D’Agostino said.
 
To move the process along, the state asked URMC to split the request into two applications, asking separately for approvals of the surgery center and ED. A vote on the surgery center is slated for mid-February.

If the council approves the surgery center, there still would be state-regulatory hurdles to jump, D’Agostino said. Further details that would need to be ironed out would take up to six months to resolve, likely delaying the center’s opening until mid-2014.  

The state also has agreed to take the freestanding ED request out of the certificate of need process, instead putting the application into administrative review. Administrative review would end council deliberations and give one of two Department of Health officials the ability to approve or reject the plan, D’Agostino said.
 
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.
 



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