Both Southampton Hospital and Riverhead-based Peconic Bay Medical Center received final approval on Tuesday from New York State officials for the completion of cardiac catheterization labs.
Cardiac catheterization labs—or cath labs—allow doctors to place stents in a patient’s cardiovascular system to open blocked passageways and perform other related life-saving procedures that require specific staffing, software and equipment to operate.
Northwell Health’s Peconic Bay Medical Center recently received final state approval to establish two laboratory cardiac cath labs and electrophysiology suites and to construct a rooftop helipad. The labs will be a central part of a planned comprehensive Cardiac Care Center—the Kanas Regional Heart Center—housed in Peconic Bay Medical Center’s new $60-million Critical Care Tower.
“It is fitting that we get this long-awaited green light following National Heart Health Month,” Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center, said in a press release. “East End residents have had to travel farther for advanced cardiac services than anyone else in the tri-state area, and considering that heart ailments require quick diagnosis and treatment, this facility will make a real difference. It will save lives.”
Southampton Hospital’s director of marketing and public affairs, Marsha Kenny, confirmed on Tuesday that Southampton Hospital also received state approval for a cath lab, which will be built in the hospital’s Audrey and Martin Gruss Heart and Stroke Center.
“We greatly appreciate the Department of Health for recognizing the critical need for a facility of this kind on the South Fork of Long Island,” Robert Chaloner, president and CEO of Southampton Hospital, said in a press release issued Tuesday. “This … approval brings critical care technology close to home for many people, and it is a harbinger of the significant technical advances we will see through our partnership with Stony Brook Medicine.”
According to previous estimates, Southampton Hospital’s cath lab potentially could be completed in just three to six months, as it is a much smaller project than what is proposed at Peconic Bay. Southampton Hospital officials have estimated that the lab itself would cost less than $1 million to add additional equipment to the existing facility, not including operational costs.
According to Southampton Hospital officials, the adult PCI-capable laboratory will provide patients with cardiac catheterization and coronary angiography procedures to find and treat issues including stenoses and blockages using interventions such as stenting.
The new lab is expected to expand the partnership between Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital, who will oversee the new program and incorporate its cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology services into the laboratory at Southampton Hospital.
“Residents of Eastern Long Island will enjoy greater access to timely cardiac care because of the close collaboration and exceptional leadership between Stony Brook Medicine and Southampton Hospital in gaining approval for this new facility,” said Reuven Pasternak, CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital and vice president for health systems at Stony Brook Medicine. “Working in tandem, physicians at Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook Medicine will provide diagnostic and interventional cardiac procedures, with access to world-class heart care at Stony Brook University Heart Institute for Patients who need higher levels of care.”
State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. said that the state approval for both Peconic Bay and Southampton Hospital’s cath labs will improve health care across the East End. He noted that status of a proposed merger between the Southampton and Stony Brook University hospitals, currently awaiting final state approval, will be announced soon.
Senator Kenneth P. LaValle agreed with Mr. Thiele, noting that their goal was to bring affordable, accessible, quality health care to everyone on the East End.
“With the New York State approval of cath labs for both Southampton Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center, residents near both forks will have quality health care nearby,” Mr. LaValle said in an email. “I will continue to work to bring the best medical care to our region.”
Both Peconic Bay and Southampton hospitals received preliminary approval for the cath labs in November: a committee of the New York State Public Health and Health Planning Council concluded that both hospitals should be permitted to add the cardiac cath labs, despite a recommendation from State Health Department staff not to approve Southampton Hospital’s application. They argued that the East End needs only one cardiac cath lab, and it should be at Peconic Bay.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker ultimately gave the final approval.