HealthAlliance’s Broadway Campus

HealthAlliance’s Broadway Campus will be transformed into a healthy village, an urban hub for outpatient care and services.

Photo courtesy of HealthAlliance Hospital

The aim of an emerging health district in Kingston, N.Y., is to bring medical, educational and economic benefits to the historic waterfront Hudson Valley city. The Healthy Neighborhood Initiative driving the change involves consolidating two 150-bed hospitals into one expanded and renovated 201-bed hospital, transforming the remaining hospital into a “healthy village” and developing the 12-square-block area between the two sites into a high-tech health and education corridor. 

The project is being undertaken by two affiliated New York health systems, Kingston’s HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley and the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth).

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The overarching principle of the initiative is to provide coordinated outpatient care for better outcomes, lower costs and fewer hospitalizations, says David Scarpino, president and CEO, HealthAlliance. “We’re transitioning from volume to value. And the way you do that is you have to make that strong outpatient medical perimeter,” he says. “The hospital has been very insular in the past. We need to be more outward-facing” — a change he sees as having spillover benefits throughout the city and surrounding Ulster County.

Scarpino explains that Kingston’s two HealthAlliance hospitals, which were originally independent, had been capped at 150 beds each by the state of New York. Later demographic trends showed that the city and largely rural surroundings didn’t have the patient population to support this level of inpatient care. With the facility-consolidation plan, HealthAlliance’s 22-acre Mary’s Avenue Campus will be expanded and renovated and its 5-acre Broadway Campus, on a main thoroughfare, will be converted into the healthy village, an urban hub for outpatient care and related health and human services.

The healthy village will be anchored by two tenants. One is a federally qualified health center that provides primary care services; the other is HealthAlliance’s behavioral health program. “Many people who have behavioral health problems have untreated primary care issues, and vice versa,” Scarpino explains. Co-locating primary care and behavioral health will enable care coordinators to refer and track patients between the two services. This continuum of care is designed to provide more comprehensive treatment, prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency department, and improve and promote the general population’s overall health and well-being.

A medical simulation center for training current and future health care professionals also will be built in the healthy village. Other space will be rented to individuals, practices and organizations that may include home care, emergency medical services, complementary and alternative medicine, exercise classes, government housing, jobs programs, a farmers market and health-focused retail. Scarpino says the driving question for the project is, “How can we round out the care that we provide in the community to keep people healthy, raise the quality of life and keep them out of our institution?

“That’s value,” he notes. “And it’s measurable.”

In addition to the campus redevelopment efforts, HealthAlliance and WMCHealth are working with local government officials, educational leaders, community organizations and other health care providers to develop the area between the hospital and healthy village into a health and education innovation district intended to bring needed jobs and training opportunities to the area.

“This is a collaborative effort,” Scarpino says. “We’re going through somewhat of a renaissance in Kingston. We’re glad to be part of it.”

Amy Eagle is a freelance journalist based in Homewood, Ill., who specializes in health care-related topics She is a regular contributor to Health Facilities Management.