Oswego Health plans to turn the former Lee Memorial Hospital building into what its CEO calls “a shining star” of health care for the community.
CEO Ann Gilpin unveiled plans for a $17 million renovation of the building, which Oswego Health uses now for an urgent care center and some health services.
When the work is complete, the entire building will be in use:
The urgent care center will move to the other end of the first floor, to give it more space and private rooms for patients to be seen;
Medical imaging services, including digital mammography along with the customary X-ray, MRI and CT services, will move into the building. The area for womens’ health-related imaging will be in a more private area;
There will be a lab area, featuring three blood draw stations;
And there will be a full physical therapy area on the ground floor, easily connected to the Michaud Nursing Home next door.
Oswego Health will move services into the former hospital building from the adjacent physicians’ office building and from its storefront along Route 481.
The renovation will be paid for by a grant from the state Health Department.
“When someone comes into a community and sees a brand new building being built, they say, that’s probably someplace where I’d like to be,” said Gilpin.
Oswego Health opened the urgent care center in the former Lee Memorial emergency room days after the hospital closed. The state forced Lee Memorial to close as part of a statewide effort to cut the cost of health care.
The center has been open for a year, and Gilpin said that the community has made more use of it than Oswego Health had projected. People paid 17,000 visits to the urgent care center, had 19,000 blood draws and 20,000 medical images taken. The urgent care visits helped keep down the increase in visits to the hospital’s emergency room in Oswego, which became the county’s only emergency room when Lee Memorial’s closed.
“It’s with the success that we found in this location that I’m excited to unveil these plans,” Gilpin told a tent-full of people at a celebration to mark the start of the project Thursday.
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward said it was a shock when Lee Memorial closed, as it had been an important part of the community for decades. “Time is a great healer,” he said. “In a few years, this will be part of the identity of Fulton.”