Today’s news:

LIJ set to open new hospital

North Shore University Hospital cut the ribbon Friday on its $50 million Katz Women’s Hospital, a 73-bed facility that is expected to open later this month with private patient rooms and hotel-style amenities.

Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, noted that when North Shore and LIJ were built in the late 1940s and early ’50s, maternity areas had four beds to a room.

“You have to build what is necessary for the year 2011 and the year 2020 and the year 2030,” Dowling said. “It’s important to make sure that [the patients] have the facilities.”

“If you give birth at LIJ or North Shore in the next year, you’ll have a private, deluxe room,” Dowling said.

The women’s hospital, which occupies the third through fifth floors of the Katz Pavilion at North Shore, is named after Iris Katz and Saul Katz, the 30-year former chairman of North Shore-LIJ’s board of trustees and a co-owner of the New York Mets.

A similar women’s hospital, known as the Katz Women’s Hospital at LIJ, is a $250 million project expected to open late next year.

The rooms at the North Shore hospital have a private shower and bathroom, flat-screen TVs, wood floors and a piece of furniture for the baby to stay close to the mother.

“We’re on the cutting edge,” Dowling said. “We’re moving forward and we’re doing it in wonderful, wonderful facilities.”

Richard Goldstein, chairman of North Shore-LIJ’s board of trustees, noted that one in 10 births in the state was delivered at either North Shore or LIJ.

“We recognize that we have an obligation to invest in our maternity program,” he said.

Dr. Adiel Fleischer, an OB/GYN at the health system, said the $50 million project is a major upgrade for the hospital.

“This is not a small increment,” he said. “This is a huge difference.”

Cynthia McKie-Addy, director of North Shore-LIJ’s maternal-child services, said the new rooms have oxygen hookups in case babies need them along with all the equipment necessary for newborn examinations.

The mother’s medications can be stored at her bedside.

Rooms include a refrigerator and mothers can order food from a restaurant-style menu, including a celebratory dinner.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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