$838M cen­ter to fo­cus on neu­ro­science

The News-Times - - OPINION - By Ed Stan­nard ed­ward.stan­[email protected] me­di­act.com; 203-680-9382

NEW HAVEN — An $838 mil­lion Neu­ro­sciences Cen­ter at Yale New Haven Hos­pi­tal’s St. Raphael cam­pus will make the hos­pi­tal a lead­ing cen­ter for the re­search and care of Parkin­son’s dis­ease, stroke and other brain­re­lated dis­or­ders, of­fi­cials of Yale New Haven Health, the city and Gov. Ned La­mont an­nounced Mon­day.

The 505,000-square-foot cen­ter will bring in $11.9 mil­lion to the city: $8.9 mil­lion in pre­paid build­ing fees next fis­cal year and $3 mil­lion this year as a one­time pay­ment to help re­duce health care costs for city em­ploy­ees. Of­fi­cials said the city and health care sys­tem are work­ing to re­duce those costs for city work­ers in the fu­ture.

In ad­di­tion to fo­cus­ing on neu­ro­science re­search and treat­ment of neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases, the project will move 204 pa­tient beds out of shared rooms in the East Pavil­ion, which was the sec­tion of the Hos­pi­tal of St. Raphael built in 1953.

“We are work­ing to pro­vide a pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence that meets or ex­ceeds our pa­tients’ ex­pec­ta­tions,” said Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health and the hos­pi­tal. “Be­ing sick and be­ing in a room with room­mates no longer de­lights our pa­tients, as you can imag­ine.”

De­tails still are be­ing worked out and the num­ber of jobs that will be cre­ated is un­known, though Robert Hutchin­son, a spokesman for Yale New Haven Health, said “we’re pretty con­fi­dent it will be well into the hun­dreds,” in­clud­ing both con­struc­tion and per­ma­nent jobs.

“This in­vest­ment right here re­minds me of why New Haven, Conn., is the cen­tral hub of what we can do in the state of Con­necti­cut,” La­mont said. He praised “what this means in terms of ALS (amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­ro­sis) and Parkin­son’s and brain tu­mors and other dis­eases that so rav­age” pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.

Once the new cen­ter opens, the en­trance to the St. Raphael cam­pus will move from Chapel Street to Ge­orge Street. Harp said the project “slowly came to­gether over the last cou­ple of years.” It will be built within the block St. Raphael oc­cu­pies, near the cor­ner of Ge­orge Street and Sher­man Av­enue.

“There’s no un­der­stat­ing its sig­nif­i­cance for Yale New Haven Health, for the city of New Haven and for the state of Con­necti­cut.” She added that it will in­crease the need to im­prove the state’s trans­porta­tion sys­tem, in­clud­ing faster rail trips to and from New York City and an up­grade to Tweed New Haven Re­gional Air­port.

She added, “It’s not lost on me that three women in lead­er­ship po­si­tions got this project fin­ished”: her­self, Borgstrom and Walker-My­ers.

Walker-My­ers, in whose 23rd Ward the St. Raphael cam­pus is lo­cated, said it was im­por­tant that com­mu­nity lead­ers were in­volved in plan­ning, es­pe­cially con­cern­ing traf­fic and ac­cess.

The park­ing garage on Or­chard Street will be ex­panded and ren­o­vated and a 200-car garage will be built un­der the new cen­ter, which con­sists of two side-by-side build­ings.

“On be­half of the West River Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion and the West River com­mu­nity, we re­ally thank you,” she said to hos­pi­tal lead­er­ship, be­cause in­vest­ment in the hos­pi­tal trans­lates to in­vest­ment in the neigh­bor­hood.

Mary Far­rell, chair­woman of Yale New Haven Hos­pi­tal’s board of trustees, said, “We are proud of de­liv­er­ing on the com­mit­ments we made seven years ago,” when Yale New Haven bought St. Raphael, a Ro­man Catholic hos­pi­tal bur­dened by debt and pen­sion li­a­bil­i­ties. At the time, Christophe­r O’Con­nor, then the CEO of St. Raphael, warned that the hos­pi­tal, founded in 1907 by the Sis­ters of Char­ity of St. El­iz­a­beth, was on the brink of bank­ruptcy. O’Con­nor now is chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Yale New Haven Health.

Richard D’Aquila, pres­i­dent of Yale New Haven Health, said the hos­pi­tal is a leader in stroke preven­tion and care as well as move­ment and other neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­ders. It was the first to per­form me­chan­i­cal thrombec­tomies, which re­move clots that could lead to stroke, and the St. Raphael cam­pus is cer­ti­fied as an ad­vanced stroke cen­ter, which uses video con­fer­enc­ing to di­ag­nose and help de­velop care for pa­tients at other hos­pi­tals.

“This cam­pus will be re­ally ex­cep­tional, from early di­ag­no­sis to treat­ment” of neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der and “restora­tive care,” D’Aquila said. The new cen­ter will “al­low us to push the fron­tier of neu­ro­log­i­cal care well be­yond where we are to­day,” he said.

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