A First PET MRI Technology Now Here in Westchester
Public Invited to Tour the White Plains Hospital Nine Floor, State of the Art Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery
Congressman Mondaire Jones Predicts “A Hub of Healing and Renovation for Many Years to Come”
Story and Photos By Grace Bennett
June 2, 2021, White Plains, NY–It was a grand celebration and ribbon cutting, a long awaited for occasion enhanced by a collective sense of relief at hugely declining COVID cases, as private and public tours took place (with everyone still wearing masks) inside White Plains Hospital’s greatly anticipated and newly opened state of the art facility–the Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery. CAMS is a nine floor building located at 122 Maple Avenue on the corner of Longview Avenue. Its doors officially open to patients on June 7.
Along with the tours, staff, contractors and visitors alike applauded heartfelt speeches, and later were invited to pick up a delicious and healthy lunch, each packaged to go keeping COVID restrictions in mind, from CAMS’ new market cafe.
“To say this has been an unforgettable year is an understatement…. but the situation is definitely looking brighter. Our COVID numbers are down,” stated Susan Fox, White Plains Hospital President and CEO, a joy- and pride- filled statement of basic victory, in a presentation about the new facility which drew a packed audience. “About a year ago, 80% of the patients in the Hospital had COVID – today that number is about 1%.,” Fox stated to much applause. “As of this morning, only three patients in the hospital had COVID.. a proof point that vaccinations are working and one that is supportive of restrictions finally loosening…”
“Today, more than 135 million Americans have been vaccinated. Over 70% of Westchester residents over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. If you have not gotten vaccinated, I encourage you do so, and there are any number of people here today,” Fox noted, “who would bring you right over and give you a shot in the arm.”
Speakers spotlighted CAMS’ amenities and medical equipment, including Westchester’s first PET MRI imaging technology. They also relayed milestones of the hospital’s two-year long journey, from breaking ground and navigating COVID challenges to its triumph with an official June 7 opening. Tours of the 252,000 square foot facility–featuring its state-of-the-art operating rooms, endoscopy, ambulatory and procedure suites, wound care delivered through hyperbaric chambers, advanced imaging, non-invasive diagnostic testing and specialty physician offices–both preceded and followed the presentation with comments from key hospital staff and visiting dignitaries.
Laurence Smith, WPH’s Chairman of the Board, called the opening “an amazing milestone in the hospital’s 128-year history. It’s hard to believe we are finally here.” He recognized construction and design teams, physicians and staff members “who had enormous input,” community partners, including Mayor Tom Roach and the city of White Plains, the hospital’s partners at Montefiore Medical Center, and welcomed the dignitaries attending, offering a special congratulatory note to Congressman Mondaire Jones on his first term for the 17th district. Jones’ predecessor, long time Congresswoman Nita Lowey, was also in attendance and warmly received by hospital staff.
The facility, Smith said, “marks an expansion of both our physical footprint, and our commitment to providing only the very best health care in the Hudson Valley region,” said Smith. “Amazingly, CAMS is the 27th outpatient facility for White Plains Hospital; ten years ago we only had three. … The goal has always been the same… to continue to advance the care we provide without compromise to our community.”
He spoke of and to “the titans of the construction industry,” as many were in the audience, too.
“Building a building like this on time is an accomplishment in and of itself. Doing it during the pandemic that we’ve had in the last 15 months is nothing short of miraculous… The sound of construction became an echoing source of hope that someday this pandemic would be over and that we’d soon be welcoming our community into this beautiful new state of the art building,” said Smith. He called CAMS’ completion “a breathtaking result of so many years of hard work by so many people.”
Dr. Philip Ozuah, President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine, told those gathered: “One year ago we were fighting the darkest days of a once in a lifetime pandemic. “And this amazing staff worked through the days and through the nights to care for the gravely ill and for the gravely suffering. These remarkable people set aside their own safety and displayed their courage and compassion to save thousands of lives.”
Dr. Ozuah commended Susan Fox for her “unwavering drive for excellence and singular drive for the future,” and Larry Smith “for his 17 years of dedicated service… Leadership does matter,” said Dr. Ozuah, also noting that “great achievements require great friends,” and that Congressman Mondaire Jones was one such friend. “You’ve been in Congress only five months, and you’ve already become one of our fiercest advocates,” he said to Rep. Jones. He also called Mayor Tom Roach “a friend to us and a hero to many.” At Montefiore, said Dr. Ozuah, “our North Stars are innovation, excellence, access and equity; this extraordinary center presents new ways to reaffirm those stars…”
Congressman Mondaire Jones began by graciously acknowledging “the presence of legendary Congresswoman Nita Lowey” and related “what a joy it is to be on the cusp of crushing the COVID-19 virus, and what a joy it is to have a national testing and vaccination strategy… and to be part of the majority in Congress committed to full funding of support. I said a few months ago that help was on its way; I hope you see that help is finally here.” He called the CAMS’ opening “an auspicious occasion”; I feel privileged to be in the presence of physicians and the hospital staff who have been doing God’s work toiling in sometimes unbearable circumstances.” He said CAMS would enable the hospital to provide more of “the world class care that folks have come to expect… today, tomorrow and into the future”… and that patients will be welcomed “by spacious comfortable facilities with plenty of room for their loved ones.”
“Over a year ago, Westchester was hit hard and fast by COVID-19. Doctors, nurses, and staff here were on the frontlines working tirelessly to care for our friends, our neighbors, and loved ones. We hope that we see a new day is now upon us. As we emerge from the pandemic,” continued Rep. Jones, “I can’t think of a better way to mark a new beginning to mark the beginning of a new era at White Plains Hospital than the opening of this new center, and that he expect it will remain “a hub of healing and innovation for many years to come.”
Dr. Kaare Weber, Director of Surgery, said he was proud to call the building “my newest home… It is the largest dedicated outpatient facility for White Plains Hospital, one of the largest in Westchester… one that houses top specialists in the region all under one roof,” he noted, “with the added benefit of connecting our campus to the hospital and to the Center for Cancer Care.”
“As incredible as this building is from the outside, it’s really about what is happening on the inside. From the minute a patient enters the building, they will realize this facility takes the patient experience to the next level… on par with the level of medicine being provided by its physicians and its professionals and staff.” He described different floor’s highlights, beginning with the second floor for advanced imaging, noting that White Plains Hospital is now the only hospital in Westchester to now house a PET (positive emission tomography) MRI scan. “The very latest in diagnostics,” as, Dr. Weber explained,” it offers the most detailed window to help physicians determine the best possible care for treating cancer and other diseases. The 3rd floor houses six of eight state of the art operating rooms.”
The Center also features top physicians in such specialties including: Orthopedics; Urology; Pain Management; Ears, Nose and Throat; Thyroid; Colorectal; Vascular; Plastic; and Bariatric care; as well as a comprehensive new Heart and Vascular Program.
Later this year, Dr. Ozuah of Montefiore Medicine, said that the cardiac surgery team from Montefiore will begin performing cardiac surgery at White Plains Hospital. “This new facility will allow for local patient access to these surgeons, who will work side by side with area physicians supporting a comprehensive cardiac program and represents just one more example of our commitment to providing local access to world-class physicians and advanced services.”
Features of the new Center for Advanced Medicine & Surgery include:
Enhanced Patient Experience: The patient drop-off driveway is integrated into the building’s design, allowing for convenient drop off. Two pedestrian bridges will connect the outpatient facility to the main Hospital and the Longview Parking Garage for optimal convenience and seamless access.
Design and Construction: The project was designed in accordance with the principles of sustainable construction to support energy efficiency, water efficiency, light pollution reduction, and indoor air quality. The project’s architect is Perkins-Eastman; the facility was built by Turner Construction; the structure utilizes 2,800 tons of steel and 1,100 glass curtain wall panels.
Smart Building Features: The building will feature a robust IT infrastructure designed to facilitate current and future medical technology and telemedicine. An intelligent infrastructure will support automatic building management, energy efficiency through technology and real-time data collection.
The move-in for departments and programs in CAMS will be in a phased approach beginning on June 7.
Floor by Floor Layout:
Level 2: Advanced Imaging
Level 3: Surgical Suites
Level 4: Endoscopy & Procedure Suites
Level 5: Women’s Imaging
Level 6: Non-oncologic Infusion Suite, Pre-Procedure Testing, Urology
Level 7: Heart & Vascular Program – Cardiology, Electrophysiology, Vascular surgeons and Future Home of Cardiothoracic surgeons
Level 8: Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Surgery and Interventional Pain Management
Level 9: The Carl Weber Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine, Surgical Specialties including: bariatrics, colorectal, ENT, endocrine and plastics.
To learn more about White Plains Hospital, visit whiteplainshospital.org