Harlem Hospital's new patient pavilion nears completion
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 1/18/2012, 6:44 p.m.
After years of planning, development and construction, Harlem Hospital has nearly completed its new patient pavilion.
If all goes according to plan, the pavilion will open this summer. The multimillion-dollar modernization of the landmark hospital is near completion and will integrate the facility's inpatient and outpatient services and emergency room, creating one large health care complex.
Ground broke on the 195,000-square-foot, seven-story building nearly three years ago as part of a five-year modernization plan. The hospital will be demolishing some older facilities and the new pavilion will connect to other existing facilities, including the Martin Luther King Pavilion, located at Malcolm X Boulevard and 135th Street.
Executive director of the project Anita O'Brian said the project is on schedule and the building itself should be done as early as February.
"Once we got started, it's been pretty smooth," O'Brian said. "It has not been a difficult project."
The top floor will be a critical care unit, with 14 adult medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) beds and three burn ICU beds for children and adults. The fifth floor is currently vacant and will house an expanded sub-critical care unit with a cardiac care unit. The current cardiac care unit is in the King Pavilion.
O'Brian said, "We had not planned to move it [the cardiac care unit] over, but we'd like to move all critical services over to the new building."
The fourth floor will be a new 25-chair outpatient hemodialysis unit. Currently, there are 18 such chairs in the King Pavilion that operate three shifts per day. Also on the fourth floor will be a central sterile supply, where reusable medical and surgical equipment will be cleaned, sterilized and packed for reuse.
A new operating room suite will be housed on the third floor, combining impatient and ambulatory surgical services, with six new operating rooms and four endoscopy suites. The third floor will also house surgical prep and anesthesia gear.
Several outpatient services will be provided on the second floor, including services for breast cancer health and a new women's imaging center that will offer digital mammography, breast ultrasounds, stereotactic breast biopsy and bone density. Currently, these services are spread throughout the hospital.
"It's a women's imaging center, but there are times when you will see children and men coming in for bone density," O'Brian said. "This is going to be a one-stop-shop for women's imaging services."
All patients will also be able to get pre-admission surgical testing on the second floor, where patients' examinations before surgery will take place, along with other services.
The first-floor entrance will lead to a six-story atrium and a museum-style gallery displaying the restored historic Works Progress Administration murals painted at Harlem Hospital in the 1930s. Also on that floor will be a newly expanded adult and pediatric emergency department with trauma rooms and internal decontamination shower.
Spaces in the King Pavilion will be vacated, and the old nurses' residence will be demolished. The original master plan included renovating the King Pavilion, but when $50 million in funding was lost in 2009 because of the fiscal crisis and cutbacks on capital projects, the plan was revised.
"Public hospitals have changed perceptions over the last 10 years. We have moved into a cutting-edge technology that is equal to the services that are rendered by voluntary hospitals. The community is aware that we are outfitting this hospital with state-of-the-art equipment, both from a medical standpoint and an a diagnostic standpoint," said O'Brian.