Suffolk health center delays prompt concerns, but long-term savings promised


There’s excellent news and unhealthy information about the much-delayed opening of a brand new Patchogue health center.

First the unhealthy information: Over the previous yr, Suffolk County has paid greater than 50 p.c over the traditional annual lease for the East Main Street health center web site that has operated for 36 years. That’s as a result of Suffolk’s three-year lease has expired and the county is renting at the next month-to-month charge.

The expensive premium elevated what had been $556,972 annual lease to $835,458 as a result of a new location on North Ocean Avenue north of Sunrise Highway, about two miles away, is just not able to open.

Hudson River Healthcare, a nonprofit that runs all eight county health facilities, purchased the brand new web site — an 84,000-square foot former Verizon constructing — two years in the past after receiving an $eight.77 million state grant and one other $11.78 million from the county. The new health center will take up 27,000 sq. ft of the two-story constructing.

But regardless of the added short-term enhance, Hudson River and aides to County Executive Steve Bellone stated the transfer will save the county cash in the long term as a result of the nonprofit owns the brand new web site for the Patchogue health center.

Bellone aides say the county will save $three million in rental and property tax prices over the 18 years the county pays bonds on the $11.eight million grant, and $800,000 yearly in later years.    

But the delay additionally has created concern for the owner of the present Patchogue health center.

A yr in the past, the owner signed a lease with a brand new tenant, New York Cancer and Blood Specialists. Company officers are keen to maneuver into the 25,000-square-foot constructing and open a most cancers remedy center they are saying will create development and native jobs and assist spur downtown redevelopment.

Robert Frost, president of Signature Partners, which controls the property by an affiliate, stated he has obtained “no definitive date” for HRH’s exit, despite the fact that the county had plans to maneuver earlier than the final contract extension in 2015.

“We expected the county to be ready to leave by the time that lease was up,” Frost stated. “The county has had more than enough time to plan and execute the move, but has not yet been able to do so.”

“It’s a great concern to us,” stated Michael Boonin, New York Cancer and Blood Specialists’ vp, which has 26 areas statewide, together with 16 on Long Island.

Boonin stated delays prompted his agency late final yr so as to add a “drop-dead date” of July 1 to the lease, after which they will cancel.

“We’ve invested a lot of time, effort and resources into this project,” Boonin stated. While it is “a perfect site” with a downtown location, and proximity to a hospital, “we cannot afford to wait indefinitely.”

Suffolk County Comptroller John M. Kennedy, a Republican difficult Bellone in November, stated he faulted county management: “They cannot adhere to a simple timeline. Over and over, they have shown they lack the most basic skills to manage.”

Jason Elan, Bellone’s spokesman, stated, “This financial phony neglects to acknowledge the millions of dollars that the administration has saved by transferring its health centers to the private sector while expanding vital services.”

Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), who has each the previous and new health facilities in his district, stated HRH skilled preliminary delays within the allowing course of with Brookhaven Town in gentle of group issues that the workplace area was being transformed right into a health center. “I think the town was trying to make sure it was a clean process, by dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s,” he stated.

That delayed development till early this yr, Calarco stated, but added each new services will enhance health care within the space.

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine stated the positioning obtained rezoning approval despite the fact that city officers felt there have been “better sites,” and the undertaking confronted native opposition over worries about HRH’s plans for the remainder of the constructing, which haven’t been detailed.

James Sinkoff, HRH’s deputy government officer, stated the newest timeline requires development to finish by Aug. 15. However, he stated approvals of the Brookhaven constructing inspector and fireplace marshal are nonetheless wanted for a certificates of occupancy. Also wanted is state health division approval.

“We hope [the certificate of occupancy] will come as close to the end of construction as humanly possible,” Sinkoff stated.



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