Strong Hospital expansion underway. How will it be staffed? 

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – In the next few weeks, demolition will begin at Strong Memorial Hospital as the medical center moves forward with a major renovation and addition.  Strong will triple the size of its emergency department, adding a nine-floor patient tower that it says will expand, modernize, and improve the services and care it’s able to provide to the community. The project marks the largest in UR’s history and comes with a $650 million price tag. 

Strong’s current emergency department was built in 2001 to handle 65,000 visits annually, almost immediately that capacity was challenged by the closure of Genesee and St. Mary’s Hospitals.  With patient visits now exceeding 100,000 each year, it is no longer able to sufficiently keep up with the hospital’s growing needs and patient load.

“The expansion will allow our doctors and nurses to take care of patients in patient rooms, instead of in chairs or in hallways or in the waiting room, which they often do to make sure patients are being seen quickly,” says Strong COO, Kathy Parinello. 

On Tuesday, Congressman Joe Morelle announced he secured a $1 million federal grant toward construction costs, “this is a jewel in our community, a jewel in the state and I’m going to do everything I can, working with my partners in the Senate to make sure we have resources that help them meet the challenges they have,” said Rep. Morelle. 

The $1 million is just a drop in the bucket, “overall, the project is budgeted about $650 million and so, we will fund it through generous giving in our community, some state grants we’re hoping to get as well and then hospital equity,” Parinello says.

Jennifer Lewke – We have to talk about the elephant in the room, you have this big beautiful expansion planned, but you have to find people to work in it and we’re already experiencing staffing shortages across the region. What’s the plan for that?

Kathy Parinello – Well, I am one of those glass is always half full persons. We have done a fabulous job in recruiting nurses, technical staff, social workers, physicians. It has been tough. We are still using contract staff to help us meet all of our patient needs because they’re great, but our teams have done just a great job recruiting.  We are working with our colleges and our community colleges to make sure that they have programs that will admit students that can choose health care careers and come work for us. 

Dr. Mark Taubman (CEO, URMC) –  One of the most important ways that you can attract people is to have great facilities and we actually believe that when you see what this emergency department is going to look like, what these impatient rooms are going to look like, that’s going to be attractive to people. 

Find more information about the project here.