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Outpatient centers reflect growing health care trend

February 2017 stamfordadvocate; Hundreds of patients every day visit a campus on Long Ridge Road for primary and specialty care and a range of tests. And they receive all those services several miles from the nearest hospital.

The adjacent outpatient centers that have opened in the past two years at the Long Ridge Health and Science center reflect an ongoing migration of medical services from hospitals to smaller facilities closer to homes and workplaces. And the investment in the outpatient model continues to accelerate, as patients and medical professionals have embraced the evolution.

“This is patient driven,” said Dr. Mary Cooper, senior vice president of clinical services at the Connecticut Hospital Association. “All of us want the availability of high-quality care that’s convenient. None of us want to spend time away from families, jobs and other commitments by being an inpatient in the hospital.”

Access and convenience

Patient demand has validated the Stamford Health and Yale New Haven Healthy systems’ decisions to open their respective outpatient hubs at 292 Long Ridge Road and 260 Long Ridge Road.

Stamford Hospital’s outpatient center, which opened in September 2015, recorded about 45,000 patient visits last year. Yale New Haven’s Long Ridge Medical Center, which launched last August, has received about 11,000 patient visits so far.

“The convenience is the best thing,” Stamford resident Cherubina Iantorno, said after a visit last week to her primary care doctor at the Stamford Health center. “The office is new and nice and clean. I have everything in this office. And even if you don’t feel well, it’s not a long drive.”

Stamford resident John Kimball gave a similar endorsement of the Yale New Haven Health complex, where he undergoes physical therapy sessions to improve his balance and strength.

“I started here because of the convenience and closeness to my home,” Kimball said. “I live in North Stamford, and it’s only 4 miles away. I’ve had a very good experience.”

The Long Ridge centers not only cut commute times, but also save them time by consolidating a spectrum of services in the same buildings. Inside, the two structures look and operate like mini hospitals with the same top-end equipment and spacious and bright layouts that patients would find in Stamford Hospital’s and Greenwich Hospital’s main buildings.

Covering 46,000 square feet, Stamford Health’s building houses offices for primary care and specialist doctors in the Stamford Health Medical Group network, lab and radiology services and a walk-in center.

Ninety-two employees staff 292 Long Ridge.

“Our philosophy has been to create centers like this where integrate primary care with specialty care and where we have labs and x-rays,” said Dr. Rod Acosta, president and CEO of the Stamford Health Medical Group. “What that allows patients to do is have ‘one-stop shopping.’”

Yards away from 292 Long Ridge, Yale New Haven Health occupies 57,000 square feet on the second floor at 260 Long Ridge. It houses a Greenwich Hospital outpatient hub that provides rehabilitation, infusion and diagnostic testing services; Yale Medicine’s Center for Musculoskeletal Care, and a Northeast Medical Group primary care center.

The opening of the Long Ridge center expanded Yale New Haven Health’s employee roster by 65.

“We have a lot of patients that come to the hospital from Stamford for services,” said Marc Kosak, Greenwich Hospital’s senior vice president of administration. “The trend in care is to bring services to the patient. There’s a not a great reason why everybody has to go to Greenwich. We should have them come to where their community is and provide the services in their community.”

The Long Ridge centers comprise two of the properties in extensive outpatient networks operated in southwestern Connecticut by Stamford Health and Yale New Haven Health. Among other recent additions, Stamford Health’s 97,000-square-foot Integrated Pavilion and Yale New Haven Health’s Women’s Cardiovascular Center on Valley Drive in Greenwich both opened last year.

“There’s a lot of competition now with different groups,” Acosta said. “I think it’s collegial. We’re aware they’re there, but we’ve always been in competition with Greenwich Hospital.”

Looking ahead

Both Stamford Hospital and Greenwich Hospital continue to increase their outpatient footprints. Yale New Haven Health plans to enlarge the Long Ridge Medical Center by 8,500 square feet within the next year, its second expansion since opening the complex. The operations within the additional space have not yet been determined.

“The market is responding to the expansion,” Kosak said. “It’s going to continue to grow.”

Stamford Health is enlarging its Greenwich outpatient center on Holly Hill Lane from 14,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet. That project is scheduled to be completed in July.

But the hospitals on Perryridge Road in Greenwich and Hospital Plaza in Stamford remain integral to their respective organizations. Stamford Hospital’s 650,000-square-foot building that opened last September cost some $450 million.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to do away with inpatient care,” said the Connecticut Hospital Association’s Cooper. “I don’t think we’ll see heart surgery being done in outpatient centers. We always want to have the ability to have a range of services and infrastructure to take care of really sick patients.”

 

 

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