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Adirondack Health seeks funding for consolidated rehabilitation center

November 2, 2018
By JESSE ADCOCK - For the News ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Rows upon rows of shelving stacked high with file storage boxes, alongside filing cabinets, beside two days' worth of water and other emergency supplies currently sit at the future site of the Adirondack Medical Center's consolidated rehabilitation center.

"We have our rehab teams kind of split into two different locations for outpatient rehab," said Sylvia Getman, AMC president and CEO. "So really bringing that whole team together allows them to kind of cross cover for one another with one stop shopping."

Featured in the North Country Regional Economic Development Council's 2018 progress report as a top request for state funding, AMC is seeking a $325,816 grant for the overhaul. The project is estimated to cost $1,629,080 in its entirety, according to the report.

The building, situated behind AMC's main campus amid ongoing construction on the hospital's new surgical wing, will require extensive renovation.

The inside must be renovated from warehouse to care center, which will require HVAC installation and renovation according to stringent federal clinical standards.

"While the structure of the building is sound, obviously we need to do some repairs on the exterior," Getman said.

The beige metal paneling on the exterior of the building is bowed and buckled from ice and plowing in the winter months. This is caused by faulty roof design, Getman said, which will need to be redone to stop the problem from re-occurring.

"We're fairly hopeful it will come our way," Getman said. "We actually have another grant in for capital transformation funds from the state to do this work as well. And then we have a capital budget that we use as an organization."

Getman said if all goes well, the consolidation and renovation of rehabilitation services into one location will be carried out in 2019. If the grant doesn't come through, work on the rehabilitation space will still happen, but it will be pushed further back in priority into the coming years.

When completed, the rehabilitation center will host its services, Fit for Life, and the cardiac rehabilitation center in one location, as well as expand the hospital's fitness center.

"It also improves accessibility," Getman said. "We will have parking right outside of that, so you can get in and out, especially people that have challenges with mobility, which is what rehab is there to do."

Getman said the goal is to transition the hospital's primary care center into the space where the other half of the rehabilitation services are hosted now on the main campus. This move is part of a wider push by the hospital for efficiency and a more streamlined patient experience, according to AMC's Director of Communications Matt Scollin.

"If we can put things in spots where it makes sense, then that's what we want to do," Scollin said.

A new triage center is being constructed in the AMC lobby, to be staffed by a nurse to assess the severity of cases and steer them in the appropriate direction for care.

"ER is extremely expensive for everyone involved," Scollin said, adding that the triage center is meant to send less-severe cases toward primary care or another care center.

The construction of a new surgical wing for AMC's main campus, started in October 2016, is nearing completion, with an anticipated opening in late November or December, Getman said.

The expansion will bring six new operating rooms to the hospital, near double the square footage of the hospital's current four that were built in 1960s. In addition, the new wing will host a central sterile core for the hospital, a loading dock and storage spaces.

"In the current setting, we have our four operating rooms. They do a procedure, they collect all the instruments they're going to sterilize, they have to put them on this cart, wheel them down to the elevator, to the ground floor, to two more hallways, to the sterilization chambers," Scollin said.

The central sterile core being constructed would streamline that process. It will be equipped with a dumbwaiter that will ferry surgical implements to and from the operating room.

"You don't have the squeaky wheel on the cart keeping patients awake when they're half asleep in their room with the door open," Scollin said. "It's just the way things should be done. It's keeping up with best practices."



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