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St. Joseph’s Health adds 20 permanent beds

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center has added 20 beds to help fill the patient need generated by its expanding regional partnerships.

The New York State Department of Health approved the hospital’s certificate of need to add the 20 permanent beds, St. Joseph’s Health, the hospital’s parent organization, said in a news release issued April 25.

“We did have an increase in patients waiting for critical care access in the emergency department in the region as well as coming out of surgery … so that’s what really determined the need to increase the amount of beds,” says AnneMarie Walker-Czyz, senior VP for operations and chief nursing officer for St. Joseph’s Health. She spoke with HealthCare Provider on June 20.

The state Health Department granted St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center’s request to bring on 20 temporary beds back in March 2015 to address the “increasing number of patients.”

“We started to see the trend by the amount of needs that were being requested from St. Joseph’s from the region and the community,” says Walker-Czyz.

The hospital in March 2015 requested temporary approval so it could “watch the trends a little bit further” but provide care at the same time, she added.

St. Joseph’s eventually determined it should request permanent use of those additional 20 beds.

The permanent approval takes St. Joseph’s from a 431-bed hospital to a 451-bed facility, according to the release. It also increases the hospital’s number of beds for intensive-care patients.

“This takes us from 38 to 58 intensive-care beds, and all are in private rooms,” Kathryn Ruscitto, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health, said in the news release.

The hospital moved existing beds to the new Christina M. Nappi Surgical Tower to create space for the additional 20 beds.

In its April 25 email to HealthCare Provider, St. Joseph’s Hospital cited its “growing reach” through its affiliations with other hospitals for “part of the need” for the additional beds.

The Syracuse hospital has affiliation agreements with Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville and Rome Memorial Hospital in Rome.

St. Joseph’s is also noticing an “increasing trend” of patients arriving at the hospital with “more severe or further progressed” sickness, which leads to a “higher level of required care and sometimes a longer stay,” according to the email.

St. Joseph’s also continues to see a rise in patients coming from outside Onondaga County.

“So I would say [the additional beds are] absolutely linked to our regional strategy,” says Walker-Czyz.

“We are constantly working to identify new ways and best practices to keep up with the growing demand, while preserving our commitment to a higher level of care,” Ruscitto said in the release. “With the trends toward more consolidation in healthcare, we’re seeing an increased number of patients being transferred from smaller hospitals in the region, and we want to ensure we’re providing the safest environment to care for more members of the community.”

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