Press-Republican

April 2, 2013

ECH to expand Westport Health Clinic

Addition will house exam rooms, a lab, waiting area

By SUZANNE MOORE
Press-Republican

---- — WESTPORT — The Westport Health Center is slated for an addition that will dwarf the existing facility, providing exam rooms, a lab area, procedure room and other space.

Ground will be broken on the 3,700-square-foot expansion within a few weeks; a second phase will renovate the existing 2,000-square-foot building.

“The Health Center is currently located in a building that no longer provides adequate space for patients’, physician or staff needs,” said Matt Nolan, chief operating officer at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, which owns the facility. 

“Physicians and support staff are currently working in cramped spaces, there are a limited number of exam rooms, privacy needs to be enhanced, and there is virtually no storage space for supplies.”

For more than a year, he said in a press release, ECH has worked with its architectural design firm to nail down a plan that best fits the needs of the growing Health Center. 

Included in the new structure, along with seven exam rooms, the lab and the procedure room, will be a comfortable waiting room, physicians office space, a private registration area, nurses’ work station and patient consultation room.

“The appearance of the existing building will not be changed, and its stonework and character will be reflected in the new construction,” Nolan said. 

CONFERENCE ROOM

There will be no disruption to patient care, he said.

“Patients will be able to meet with their primary care provider throughout the construction process,” he said. “Once construction is complete, patients will notice a significant enhancement to the services offered. 

“The lab area and procedure room will allow many patients to obtain these additional services at one convenient location.”

The plan is to move staff and equipment into the new section of the building as soon as it is completed. Then the existing space will be renovated, creating a conference room, staff meeting space, storage and more offices.

The project will create more appropriate space for the building’s heating, cooling and telecommunications infrastructure, Nolan said. 

“The requirements for the facility’s mechanical and communications systems have increased over the years with the inclusion of electronic medical record technology and fiber-optic connectivity; so essentially, the building’s mechanical systems have also run out of room.”

HOSPITAL VISION

The hospital’s telemedicine capabilities will also be improved. The hospital and Health Center already have the ability to connect with each other through high-definition telemedicine units, allowing consultation by physicians and nurses between the two locations. 

The Health Center’s new facility will provide a dedicated space for consultations, the release said.

“The hospital’s vision is to offer primary health-care services through a network of community-based health centers. This allows for continuity of care between the health centers and the main hospital facility,” Community Relations Director Jane Hooper said in the release. 

Along with the Westport Health Center, located at 6097 Route 9N, the hospital owns community-based clinics in Willsboro, Wilmington and Elizabethtown. 

“It’s important for residents of, and visitors to, the region to be able to receive quality health care close to their home communities,” Hooper said.

“Ensuring that the health centers are modernized makes it much easier for community members to access their primary-care services.”

Construction in Westport is expected to be complete in November.

Email Suzanne Moore:smoore@pressrepublican.com