With more than $20 million raised of the $28 million fundraising goal to build a new Critical Care Tower at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, PBMC and Northwell Health held a ceremonial groundbreaking July 12 to celebrate their commitment to bringing advanced cardiac care to the East End.
The project, which is expected to cost a total of $60 million, got a major boost last summer from the John and Elaine Kanas Family Foundation, whose $5 million gift helped spur fundraising for the new Kanas Regional Heart Center, with cardiac catheterization operating rooms designed to save many lives on the East End.
It also received a major boost from PBMC’s affiliation with Northwell Health, said PBMC CEO Andrew Mitchell at the groundbreaking ceremony, held in the parking lot to the right of the entrance to the hospital’s emergency department. Mr. Mitchell said the hospital had first applied for a cardiac care center in 1993, but was unable to get approval from the state until the hospital’s affiliation with Northwell, after which the process took just a few months.
New York State approved cardiac catheterization labs at both Peconic Bay Medical Center and Southampton Hospital in March of this year.
PBMC’s critical care tower will be built over the existing one-story emergency department, and will include a rooftop helipad, an 18-bed intensive care/cardiac care unit, two operating suites, an electrophysiology suite and recovery rooms.
Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling said his hospital network is committed to getting things done.
“This is health reform in action, not discussion, theory, legislation and political commentary,” he said. “Patients can come here and get the best care.”
Dr. Stanley Katz, the cardiology chair and chief of interventional cardiology at PBMC, played a major role in designing the new center.
“This is going to affect everybody who lives in this area,” said Dr. Katz who has worked for Northwell Health and its predecessor, North Shore—Long Island Jewish Medical Center, for 26 years.
“I’ve been to many of these kinds of events, but this is for me the most exciting. We’re starting from zero and going to 100 miles per hour in a very short period of time,” he added. “The administrators here tried for 25 years to get a project like this started, and Northwell took six to nine months.”
Dr. Katz added that the Northwell Health network is committed to quality of care.
“We make sure everything we do is state of the art,” he said.
This isn’t the Kanas family’s first gift to PBMC — in 2007 their donation helped fund the Kanas Center for Advanced Surgery at the hospital.
“Something great is happening here today. Something great started here a long time ago, but we’re seeing an advancement of that dream today,” said John Kanas. “I can’t tell you how proud I am to see the culmination of that dream that started a long time ago.”
“It’s thrilling to see our name up on the wall,” he added, “but I understand full well that no less important are the hundreds and hundreds of people and thousands and thousands of hours and millions and millions of dollars that have been committed to this hospital for many, many years before I even thought of getting on the train. I want to give my congratulations to the early pioneers who stood up and advanced an idea like this and everybody thought you were crazy. And here we are today.”
The PBMC Foundation is still accepting donations to the construction project. For more information, call 631.548.6080.