Reaching Glen Cove Hospital’s Family Medicine Center from the hospital’s main entrance requires a quarter-mile trek through an underground tunnel. Located on the ground floor at the rear of the hospital, the center is in the older portion of the facility, referred to as the L building. It once served as a dormitory for licensed practical nursing students in the 1940s and ’50s. Then, in the 1970s, the space was converted to the Family Medicine Center.
“The location has been a disadvantage for us,” said Dr. Barbara Keber, chair of family medicine at Glen Cove Hospital and vice chair of family medicine at Northwell Health. “A lot of the community doesn’t know that we exist because the center is disconnected from the main center. Some people who work in the hospital don’t know it exists either.”
That is about to change. A $5.5 million renovation and expansion of the outpatient center has begun that will relocate the Family Medicine Center to a new, modern space on the third floor of the main hospital where the pediatric and intensive care units were once located.
The old center will remain open until the new space opens in late spring 2020.
According to a release from the hospital, the new 6,660-square-foot facility is expected to serve more than 18,500 patients annually, a 40 percent increase in patient volume.
The uninsured and underinsured who use the center will continue to benefit from the Northwell Financial Assistance Program. Keber said that the program is vital, used by 50 percent of patients, who would otherwise have to go to Northwell’s locations in Great Neck or Huntington.
The current center has a small procedure room, which Keber said doctors are often forced to use as an examination room, since there are only eight exam rooms. The new space will have 12 exam rooms and a large procedure room. Additionally, there are plans for a centrally located, 200-foot-long, 40-foot-wide glass enclosed area. It will contain hard-wired and wireless computers, printers, 12 work stations and storage for medications and vaccines.
The glass dome area will offer central viewing and monitoring of the center, and at the same time, provide space for clinical team members to collaborate before patient visits in a private setting.
“Nurses will be able to see if a resident is there easily, and vice versa, and there will be enough work stations for residents, faculty members and nurses to work side by side,” Keber explained. “We offer team-based care, so with this new area, we will be able to review a patient’s chart, for example, and a plan can be identified before the patient gets here, which should help with patient flow.”
Bedside ultrasound machines and retinal cameras, used to monitor the vision of people with diabetes, will now be available at the center as well.
The center will include 22 family physicians doing their residency training, six faculty and a number of subspecialists. They will care for the patients and teach the residents. Surgeons will come to the center weekly, a convenience for admitted patients, who will be able to see the same surgeons who performed their procedures for follow-ups.
Many members of the center’s staff will be bilingual, speaking Spanish as well as English.
The renovation was funded by donations and fundraising events by community members and the volunteer Glen Cove Hospital Advisory Council, which works to strengthen relationships between the hospital and the community and serves as a liaison with the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
“We are extremely grateful to the hospital’s advisory council and caring individuals in the community who spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the Family Medicine Center, making this vision into reality,” said Kerri Anne Scanlon, RN, Glen Cove Hospital’s executive director. “The state-of-the-art Family Medicine Center has been designed to provide quality medical care and to deliver the best patient experience possible.”
Nancy Taylor, of Locust Valley, is a member of the advisory council and a longtime supporter and volunteer at the hospital. When hospital leaders asked if she would donate to the renovation project through her family charity, the David S. Taylor Fund she said she would be “delighted.”
Her husband, David S. Taylor, died in 1995. He served as chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees from 1988 to 1990, and chaired the North Shore Health System board from 1994 to 1995. Nancy Taylor donated approximately $800,000 to the center.
“I set up the fund every year for the hospital,” she said. “David loved the hospital, and even worked here when he was a teenager as an orderly. The family practice desperately needs to be improved, and I’m happy to help.”
The Family Medicine Center’s clinical staff currently provides personalized medical services to patients of all ages, from newborns to older adults. The center offers primary, prenatal and pediatric care, preventive services as well as behavioral health and gynecological services to underserved members of the community and other residents.