Today’s news:

Jamaica Hospital announces expansion

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center reached an agreement with the city last week to purchase property located on the Van Wyck Expressway across from the medical center for $375,000, a hospital spokesman said.

The 26,000-square-foot property includes a two-story building and could increase clinical and dental facilities within the hospital’s campus as well as up to 200 new jobs, said Ole Pedersen, the hospital’s spokesman.

“This acquisition will enable us to continue to expand services while at the same time we expect to spur further development along the Van Wyck corridor, as we have done over the past decade,” said David Rosen, president and CEO of MediSys Health Network, which manages Jamaica Hospital. “We have dramatically increased the volume of services we provide to a vastly underserved community.”

The hospital at 89-00 Van Wyck Expressway plans to renovate the building at 90-09 Van Wyck Expressway and use it for its home health-care agency, which provides home-care patients with medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds, and non-medical support services, such as the hospital’s printing service, Pedersen said. The building was most recently used for an auto auction yard, he said.

“It’s pretty nasty looking,” Pedersen said. “We’re looking to improve the community by renovating that.”

The renovation is expected to cost about $3 million and the hospital hopes to have the facility ready next year, Pedersen said. About 130 will be employed initially as nurses and mid-level office and clerical workers, with 50 more to be hired over the next seven years.

Once the support services are moved across the expressway, the hospital will have more space at its main campus for dental and clinical physician services, Pedersen said.

“Those are our priorities,” Pedersen said. “We need more clinical space on campus.”

The hospital also is looking for ways to increase efficiency and improve delivery of patient services by reconfiguring its operations, Pedersen said, although details have not been finalized.

“We’re still looking at other options,” he said.

The purchase is part of the third phase in the hospital’s multimillion-dollar reconstruction plan that included replacing the original hospital building with a modern facility, upgrading technology and equipment and expanding services to include a Traumatic Brain Injury Unit and a Psychiatric Emergency Room.

“This project is an excellent example of putting under-used city-owned property to work,” said Daniel Doctoroff, deputy mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding. “We will not only remove an eyesore from the community, we will also provide Jamaica Hospital with the means to continue the multi-million dollar expansion program begun in the mid-1980s.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 229-0300 Ext. 138.

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