$300M for new hospital in budget

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There’s $300 million for construction of a new hospital in Oneida County in the state budget.

Although the allocation was part of last year’s budget, it was not included in the governor’s spending plan for 2016-17 when it was released in January, prompting much concern locally about the project’s future. Without the money, Mohawk Valley Health System said it couldn’t afford to build an acute care facility to replace St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare in New Hartford. The total cost is estimated to be upwards of $600 million.

The funding was restored several weeks ago after much back-and-forth discussion between local officials and Albany, especially the governor’s office, and then remained there as the budget was considered this week.

“Our next steps will be to secure this state funding as well as additional funds to support the new hospital project,” said Scott H. Perra, Mohawk Valley Health System president and CEO. “We are pleased to be able to move forward with this tremendous opportunity to significantly improve health care for our community.”

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, who were part of the effort to get the funding restored, applauded the state Legislature for voting this week to guarantee that this financial support will be available to help build the hospital.

“I know how important the promise of this funding is to the future economic development of the Mohawk Valley, so I was committed to do whatever I could to once again secure this money for our region’s new hospital,” said Griffo, R-47, Rome. “I thank the legislature for joining us in our efforts to solidify the state’s commitment to improve the health care services of Oneida County because we all must be confident that the state doesn’t back down from the promises it makes on behalf of all our communities.”

The preferred location for the new hospital is downtown Utica. The backup choice is the existing St. Luke’s campus.

“Our community needs a state-of-the-art hospital to adequately meet our health care needs,” said Brindisi. “The hospitals serving the Utica area are aging, and having this new health care facility here will ensure that Mohawk Valley residents can receive the most up-to-date treatment, and will not have to travel to other areas to receive it.”

The new hospital could open in 2021.

“I want to thank our legislators, Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Brindisi, as well Governor (Andrew) Cuomo, for their continued commitment to this generational opportunity,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “This project is essential to the future of our region’s health care needs.”

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