Strong Memorial Hospital’s plan to triple the size of its emergency department has received a $50 million boost from the state.
The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong is one of two recipients of Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program grants totaling $200 million. The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens was awarded $150 million.
“Access to quality emergency care is a critical component of a strong, stable, and equitable health care system,” says Gov. Kathy Hochul. “The funding awarded to these hospitals through the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program will help dramatically improve emergency care in these communities and provide their residents the top-rate care they deserve.”
In Rochester, the grant supports the Strong Expansion Project, the hospital’s most comprehensive modernization in nearly 50 years, officials say. It targets chronic bed shortages and overcrowding in the ED—issues that were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A portion of the original facility on Elmwood Avenue, some sections dating back to 1926, is scheduled to be torn down this month to make way for the new construction, officials say.
More than 200 examination/treatment and patient observation stations will be added in phases to the Strong ED and Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program. Plans also include a new nine-story inpatient bed tower, which adds ED space with a Fast Track section where patients with lower acuity issues can be treated and sent on their way. Floors for operating rooms and treatment services for cardiovascular patients with over 100 private inpatient rooms will be added as well. The CPEP area will double its current space, occupying the second floor.
The tower will be built west of the current hospital entrance at 601 Elmwood Ave., on a site that has housed hospital facility departments and loading docks. There will be minimal construction impacts on current patient services, entrances and parking, officials say.
An ED North expansion will be built at the same time as the tower. A larger covered entrance is expected to result in more efficient triage and registration. An 80,000 square-foot garage is also part of the expansion.
Kathy Parrinello, chief operating officer of Strong Memorial Hospital, credited state and local officials for their help with the state grant, including state Sens. Jeremy Cooney and Samra Brouk, and Assemblymember Harry Bronson. Mayor Malik Evans and Monroe County Executive Adam Bello wrote letters of support.
“We’re very grateful to all of them for their advocacy of this project, which will improve emergency medical care and the inpatient hospital experience for patients throughout the Finger Lakes region,” Parrinello says.
Almost a year ago, URMC shared its plans to treat patients in a new 175,000 square-foot emergency department. At that time, UR President Sarah Mangelsdorf called the expansion an investment in the community and the medical center.
“Strong Memorial Hospital is a tremendous asset to our community, providing patients the most advanced medical services available in Upstate New York, regardless of their ability to pay,” she said. “Educationally, it is a powerful medical-center asset to have a large teaching hospital integrated physically with our three professional schools for clinicians, and the research labs where medical discoveries are made. This project will represent a critical investment in modernizing our community’s and our region’s largest hospital for 21st century needs.”
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].