$300M state infusion step closer for new Utica hospital

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Mohawk Valley Health System has received a key go-ahead at the state level for the $300 million grant to continue making plans for the construction of a hospital in Utica.

The money was first earmarked in the state budget in 2015 and is included in the budget extender approved on Monday. Also, the application from MVHS for the money has been approved by the state Health Department. The $300 million will substantially fund a 750,000-square-foot replacement facility for services now offered at the St. Luke’s Hospital campus in New Hartford and St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. The two hospitals were separate operations until they were joined through the creation of the Mohawk Valley Health System.

MVHS President and CEO Scott Perra said once the final version of the 2017-2018 budget is passed, he and his staff will work with the governor’s office and the Health Department on how the $300 million grant will be paid. The health care provider will then fully engage its selected architect and construction firms and begin moving forward with the design process.

This will also include developing the required certificate of need application for consideration by state health officials.

“The journey to get to this point has taken more than two years,” said Norman Siegel, chairman of the MVHS Board of Directors. “Now we can really begin to create the vision of a new health care future for the Mohawk Valley and make it a reality. It’s an exciting time for our community, our board and our health care family.”

Additionally, MVHS continues to work with Mohawk Valley EDGE and property owners in the area where the complex will be built. ​EDGE already oversaw obtaining appraisals for the targeted properties that need to be acquired to enable construction in the vicinity of the Utica Memorial Auditorium and city police department. The mix of 96 parcels includes operating businesses, vacant buildings, lots and city-owned land.

Once the grant is secured, it is anticipated that meetings will take place with the owners in the second and third quarters of this year with the intent to offer one-year options to purchase the properties into 2018.

Construction could be finished in late 2022.

Th new hospital is expected to have 392 acute-care beds. Besides inpatient care, there will be an emergency department, outpatient services and primary care in a single downtown location.

The state’s investment of $300 million equates to about $765,306 for each bed. The project is expected to cost $480 million overall, with the non-state portion of $180 million coming from MVHS capital, bonds and fundraising.

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