Easing Access

Rochester has fewer acute care beds-per-thousand-residents than most communities its size, a vestige of decades-long community control of hospital size and the closing of two of its five urban hospitals. Rochester’s remaining hospitals are fully occupied with admitted patients consistently overflowing into Emergency Departments, creating impediments to access. In the midst of the national economic storm, both Strong Memorial and Highland were deep into expansion projects that would open the door to emergency and inpatient care for thousands of patients. 

  • Highland ED ribbon cuttingFortunately, financing had already been sescured for the Highland expansion and construction was well under way. In August of 2009, Highland cut the ribbon on the new Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation Emergency Department (ED), with its central nursing hub surrounded by patient rooms, dedicated trauma area, and space for specialty care. The 18,000-square-foot facility is two-and-a-half times the footprint of the original ED, with 26 beds instead of 18. 
  • After many years of close collaboration with its South Wedge neighbors, Highland completed its new employee parking garage on South Avenue in the spring of 2009.
  • graphicIn addition, URMC celebrated the opening of upstate New York’s largest hospital-affiliated ambulatory surgery center, an 80,000-square-foot medical facility off Westfall Road in Brighton. URMC Surgery Center’s first floor includes 52,000 square feet devoted to patient care, including 10 operating and three procedures rooms, 43 private pre- and post-anesthesia cubicles, 10 post-anesthesia bays, a pharmacy, and facilities for sterile equipment processing.
  • graphicAs the largest oral health care provider to the underserved in the Rochester region, Eastman Dental has seen a dramatic increase in care demands and dental emergencies. In July 2009, Eastman Dental Downtown doubled its capacity to serve patients in Rochester’s urban, high-poverty areas with an overall renovation, the addition of four new treatment rooms, and technology upgrades. Eastman Dental is also deep into construction of a new dental urgent care center at its main site which will open in March 2010.
  • Meanwhile, URMC’s previously announced plan for a six-story tower for adult and pediatric beds, as well as dedicated space for Imaging Sciences, was shelved in favor of a new approach to bed expansion. Given economic realities and pressing need, the two-step plan is more practical, affordable, and brings beds on-line sooner than the original design. The $45 million plan begins with at least 30 new adult beds added to the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. Starting in summer of 2010, three new floors will be constructed atop the Cancer Center, one to care for hospitalized patients undergoing cancer treatment, plus two unfinished floors for future expansion of research or patient care services. Next, Strong Memorial Hospital anticipates constructing a new building for pediatrics and imaging, although plans for this second phase were not yet finalized in 2009. 
  • With facilities and expertise to handle the most medically complex patients, the Highlands at Brighton provided post-hospital care to more than 500 individuals in 2009. Since 2006, the Highlands at Brighton has increased its admissions by close to 50 percent, assisting hard-to-place residents in their transition back to the community. By accepting difficult cases that would otherwise remain in the hospital longer, the nursing home is a critical link in ensuring access to acute care at URMC’s hospitals. 

Major Capital Projects Completed in 2009

URMC Ambulatory Surgery Center
Renovation of 4-3400 unit with 23-bed adult medical/surgical beds

Strong Memorial Palliative Care Unit

Electrophysiology Lab Expansion 

Highland Hospital Colorectal Physiology Center