Strong Healthcare Scene Bolstered By New Hospital

Perched on a knoll on East Main Street in the Town of Wallkill, the new Orange Regional Medical Center (ORMC), the first hospital built in New York State in more than two decades, is ushering in a new era of healthcare in Orange County.

The state-of-the-art, 350-bed, $350-million-plus facility has been a decade in the planning and three years in construction. Its opening in late 2011 is arguably the biggest thing to happen in Orange County since Route 17– the New York State thoroughfare used by virtually every resident – officially came into existence in 1924.

“ORMC will provide the strongest healthcare possible right here in Orange County,” says hospital spokesperson Rob Lee.

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However, that in no way suggests the county’s been underserved. ORMC is the result of combining two hospitals – Horton and Arden Hill – that were growing a bit long in the tooth. Meanwhile, Bon Secours operates Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick; St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (clinically affiliated with the world-famous Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City) has its main facility located in Newburgh and a branch in nearby Cornwall; and there’s Crystal Run Healthcare, a doctor-owned, multidisciplined practice that has become a hugely important component of Orange County’s healthcare system.

Despite so many choices, patients in the county, particularly those with especially complicated cardio or pediatric issues, were frequently forced south to specialists and hospitals in Westchester or New York City. At ORMC, patients with severe conditions won’t have to leave the county to obtain the care their conditions require. “Patients will be landing at our helipad instead of taking off for other hospitals,” according to Lee.

For many companies considering relocation, available healthcare can make or break such a decision. “Our patientfriendly, technologically perfect hospital should be very attractive to companies that want to establish themselves in the county,” Lee says.

Local economic development officials fully expect ORMC to be a “game changer,” says Orange County Executive Ed Diana. He envisions a “health care cluster” developing on the stretch of road between ORMC and Crystal Run, with more doctors, medical vendors and suppliers flocking to the area. What that means is individuals seeking healthcare services, especially people living in more distant counties like Sullivan, Delaware and Ulster, can eschew going to New York City or Albany, and instead find treatment in and around Middletown. Says ORMC’s Lee, “It (the hospital) will be of great benefit to the patient. It’s bad enough to have an illness, but to then have to travel long distances for treatment … well, that’s really difficult.”

Top-Notch Technology

ORMC boasts services and medical technologies that put it on a par with the best hospitals anywhere. Among the technology and facilities:
• A 50-bay emergency room
• An advanced birthing center, including a neo-natal intensive care unit 12 separate operating rooms in the surgical suite
• A cardiac center with three catherization labs and angioplasty facilities
• A helipad
• Wireless information technology and electronic medical records
• An open-design construction plan that accommodates the addition of future technologies

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ORMC officials believe that such a state of-the-art hospital will attract superior doctors who are also enamored with the Orange County lifestyle. At last count, some 600 physicians were practicing at ORMC’s Horton and Arden Hill units. The expectation is that technology combined with patient demand brings an influx of specialists in all disciplines.

Financing for the construction of ORMC came from a variety of sources: $261 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the NYS Dormitory Authority; a $48 million state grant; profits from the sale of Horton and Arden Hill; cash in the bank; and an intensive capital funding campaign. Of particular interest to Orange residents, the non-profit ORMC receives no operating subsidies from local governments. In other words, no new taxes.

ORMC’s opening truly signals a new era in healing. According to the new hospital’s website, ORMC’s aim is to be the best regional hospital in New York State, “meeting 95 percent of our community’s acute healthcare needs.”

Orange Regional Medical Center

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