The New York State Health and Health Planning Council recently approved cardiac catheterization labs for four local hospitals. Among them are the St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage and Plainview Hospital in Plainview.
St. Joseph, which is part of Catholic Health Services, was approved under the requirement by the state department that the labs perform a minimum of 36 percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) a year. Mercy Medical Center, a fellow hospital under Catholic Health based in Rockville Centre, was also approved by the state to set up their own labs.
“With the state taking a fresh look at the regulations on the process for hospitals providing a cardiac catheterization lab, specifically the interventional work that is done in these labs, we thought, with St. Francis [Hospital] being our heart hospital, this could be a great complementary service for the community we serve,” president at St. Joseph Hospital Peter Scaminaci said.
These labs use x-ray guided catheters to help either open blockages in coronary arteries or repair the heart in minimally invasive procedures. The programs at St. Joseph will be manged by the St. Francis Hospital Heart Center. The cardiovascular service will offer immediate care to patients at the hospital who are dealing with a heart attack or significant cardiac issues instead of transferring patients to St. Francis, which is located in Roslyn. As of now, anyone who comes to St. Joseph with heart problems would get a work-up from the doctors, which helps determine whether or not they need to be transferred. With the labs, they would still do the work-up but procedures could then be done on-site.
“We thought it was the right thing,” Scaminaci said. “A lot of the patients that come into our emergency department with cardiovascular issues would be transported out. Now, we can do these treatments right in the community that they live in.”
In terms of the cost of the labs, Scaminaci says that they are currently still in the process of determining the construction and equipment costs. While they are still in their internal planning stations, the goal would be to have these labs open either in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.
“We’re excited to work with our partners at St. Francis Hospital,” Scaminaci said. “They are world-renowned experts in the field. To have a St. Francis-branded cardiac catheterization lab at St. Joseph is very beneficial for us and the patients that we serve.”
Plainview Hospital was one of two Northwell medical facilities on Long Island approved for the cardiac catheterization lab, with the other being the John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.
“[The process] started a couple of years ago when we started looking at the number of patients in the area who need those types of cardiac services, and then looking at the population projection of our coverage area, specifically the marked growth in the 65-and-older [demographic] who generally start to need those services and the 85-and-older [demographic] growth, which is higher than the Nassau County average when you look at our market area,” Plainview Hospital executive director Michael Fener said.
As of now, hundreds of patients who come to Plainview for heart-related issues are transported from there to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and other providers. These labs at Plainview will be under the oversight of North Shore University specialists, who will also perform the procedures.
“It is very exciting because, me personally, I live in the neighborhood,” Fener said. “Hopefully I will never need it, but for me or my family, friends and neighbors, this is special because it serves where we live. Being a volunteer firefighter, I see the importance of having these types of services in the community. It means faster time to intervention, which means greater likelihood of survival.”
Plainview will construct two labs in an expansion of services as part of an 8,105-square-foot project that will cost approximately $19 million. The goal of the project, according to Fener, is to build an entire wing of the hospital dedicated to cardiac services. The wing will be replacing the former maternity unit.
“It has its own pre-operation area where dedicated staff will prepare patients prior to their procedure,” Fener said. “Then, they would have the operation in one of the two labs. There will be a recovery unit as well. That’s practice to do that, both pre- and post-procedure. There’s other hospitals that would treat this like a normal operating room. We’re doing it with specialized staff throughout the process.”