ST. LUKE’S CORNWALL HOSPITAL GETS INJECTION OF NEW LIFE
Please Note: This update includes several clarifications: The $250,000 NYS grant is earmarked for the new Rehab Unit. And the Certificate of Need is being applied for.
Hospital and area officials gathered today in the atrium of the Medical Arts Wing St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital eagerly awaiting what they were told would be a big dose of good news. Hospital President and CEO, Joan Cusack McGuirk announced that a $250,000 grant has definitely been being acquired by Assemblyman James Skoufis at the state level, will be used to reconfigure what was formerly emergency service and will now be developed into a full range of rehabilitation services. Partnering with Burke Hospital and Rehab services, she said, will be a game-changer, “They are not only well known and well-respected for their rehabilitation work in the Westchester area, but nationally and worldwide.” Burke will be coming onboard with a rehab team.
St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital belongs to the Montefiore Health System .
In another major step forward, the hospital will be implementing a new approach emphasizing “Open Access” treatment that will enhance services, provide a large new component of wellness, cognitive services, neurology, nutritional counseling, physiology and more.
The Open Access program will officially begin one year from now, but McGuirk said that they will begin some of the changes immediately. She said “There are a lot of things that need to be put in place. A Certificate of Need is required by the state and is being applied for. There will be a need for architectural drawings and hiring. There is a commitment at ‘the highest level’ from Montefiore.” She added that there will be increased linkage to community groups in the area, and especially in the Town of Cornwall which has been supportive throughout both the good times and bad.
Open access emphasizes an approach that encourages people to come to a facility to improve their health and prevent illness BEFORE it occurs or before it becomes a serious problem. The doors for the new programs will also be more accessible, with hours that will allow people to either make an appointment, or walk right in. Facility hours will expand to 7 am to 8 pm Mon-Saturday and 8 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
Open Access programs have not only been picking up steam across the county, many of their services are now covered better by insurance and consequently can significantly improve a facility’s financial outlook. The county nursing home, Valley View, in Goshen provides a good example of that. In addition to having solved other problems, over the past 4 years they expanded their rehabilitation component and subsequently started showing profits rather than losses. New York State has been recommending that facilities find that better balance with more preventive and physical therapy, and wellness approaches with a view toward both a healthier mix of customers and a better financial balance that results from higher reimbursement rates.
Skoufis, who has championed the hospital and its uncertain future for years said “We are injecting LIFE into St. Luke’s”. He continued, “When all is said and done, we will have a campus that we can once again be proud of.