Outside the PBMC ER this afternoon

Peconic Bay Medical Center has been granted provisional status as  a level III trauma center by the N.Y. State Department of Health.

The status recognizes the hospital’s ability to deliver advanced emergency services, including resuscitation, emergency surgery, intensive care, and stabilization of injured patients.

“We’re answering a critical need for emergency services,” Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell said.

Patients will now be able to be treated with advanced medical technologies and capabilities in our own community, Mitchell said.

Capabilities of a Level III Trauma Center, according to the American Trauma Society, include: 

  • emergency medicine physicians who provide immediate coverage 24 hours a day and the prompt availability of general surgeons and anesthesiologists
  • a comprehensive quality assessment program
  • transfer protocols for patients requiring more comprehensive care at a level I or level II trauma center
  • providing back-up care for rural and community hospitals
  • continued education of the nursing and allied health personnel or the trauma team
  • active prevention and outreach programs for its referring communities

“An important component of a trauma center is to be aware of the leading causes of trauma in the region and work within the community to develop injury prevention outreach programs,” said Mary Jo Stark, trauma program manager at PBMC.

“This will save lives,” said PBMC medical director Jean Cacciabaudo, MD said. “In emergency medicine, every second counts. Having these capabilities right here in Riverhead is critical for the quality of life of the residents on the East End.”

The Riverhead hospital is now the only designated trauma and stroke center on the North Fork.

Southampton Hospital also has provisional level III trauma center designation.

Stony Brook University Hospital is the only level I trauma center in all of Suffolk County. Southside Hospital/Northwell Health in Bay Shore and Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip are the county’s two level II trauma centers.

Hospital still waiting for decision on cardiac facility

PBMC and Southampton Hospital are still waiting for a decision by the state health commissioner on their applications for establishing interventional cardiac care facilities.

The state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council in December recommended that both hospitals be granted approval for the cardiac care facilities, which will allow the life-saving percutaneous coronary intervention procedure to be performed on the East End. The procedure allows surgeons, via cardiac catheterization, to open up clogged cardiac arteries and insert stents to keep them open. Speedy intervention is essential to save heart muscle and lives. Currently East End patients requiring that intervention must be taken to Brookhaven Hospital in East Patchogue or Stony Brook University Hospital.

PBMC, which last year became part of the Northwell Health System, is planning a $60 million expansion and upgrade that will add a critical care tower to accommodate the new cardiac care facilities and an expanded emergency department. The new facilities will also include a cardiac electrophysiology lab and a rooftop helipad. The Town of Riverhead approved the hospital’s site plan application earlier this month.

“Our goal is to provide the residents of the East End with world-class health care,” Mitchell said. “That includes providing confidence that they will be well cared-for in case of an emergency.”

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.