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By John George for the Philadelphia Business Journal (see the slideshow):
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, which will celebrates its one-year anniversary later this week, is already planning to expand its reach.The East Norriton, Pa., hospital has just started work on an ambulatory-care center in Collegeville expected to open in March.The 19,000-square-foot facility in the Providence Town Center will provide multi-specialty physician services and outpatient imaging while also serving as a site for a MossRehab satellite office. Additional space will be available for doctors to lease.Einstein Medical Center Montgomery has an ambulatory-care center on its main campus [in an adjacent medical office building] that provides a variety of outpatient services. Beth Duffy, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said she’d like to see Einstein open other outpatient-care centers off its main campus over time. No such projects, however, are on the drawing board right now, she said.The major project taking place at Einstein-Montgomery, part of the Philadelphia-based Einstein Healthcare Network, is a renovation that will add a 24-bed surgical monitored-care unit to the 146-bed hospital.The project, expected to be completed in January, will also add another 45 permanent jobs at the hospital, which has about 1,000 full-time equivalent workers.Duffy said the hospital was designed to be expanded based on community demand, and that demand has come sooner rather than later.“It’s been an amazing year,” Duffy told me last week during an interview at the $350 million hospital. “It’s amazing how quickly it’s gone by. Everybody is so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. We’ve done a tremendous job here. I’m not patting myself on the back. It’s because of the 1,000 people who work here.”Duffy said she had a good feeling the central Montgomery County residents were going to react positively to the new medical center when she saw how many people turned out for an open house Einstein held to show off the hospital.They expected about 5,000 people to show up, but planned for 7,500 to 10,000 — just in case. More than 15,000 ended up attending.“We couldn’t believe the line of people waiting to get in,” she said.John Harris, a principal with the health-care consulting firm DGA Partners in Bala Cynwyd, said Einstein "recognized a good market opportunity" when it targeted central Montgomery County for a new hospital. "From the start, they had a solid plan and they executed it really well," Harris said.Einstein-Montgomery was built as a replacement hospital for the former Montgomery Hospital Medical Center in neighboring Norristown.Final numbers for the hospital's first year are not yet available. Annualized figures calculated from Einstein-Montgomery's first nine months show admissions at the new hospital — when compared to the previous year Montgomery Hospital Medical Center — are up 41 percent to a projected 8,965. Emergency department visits are up 19 percent to 36,291.Duffy said the two areas where the patient numbers have climbed faster than projected are obstetrics and cardiology.“The obstetrics program exploded from the very first day,” she said, noting the hospital expects to handle 1,625 births in its first year — a 67 percent increase compared to Montgomery Hospital Medical Center.The hospital also has an eight-bed, level-III neonatal intensive-care unit. Montgomery Hospital Medical Center did not have a NICU.Einstein-Montgomery also has a much more extensive cardiology program than its predecessor, which was only doing some cardiac catheterization procedures (used to diagnose and treat heart ailments) and did not have on-site, open-heart surgery.The new hospital expects to perform 172 cardiothoracic surgeries in its first year and is on pace to do 1,126 cardiac catheterizations, which would be a 47 percent increase from those done at the Norristown hospital. Einstein-Montgomery also provides electrophysiology services for diagnosing and treating irregular heart beats, which was not done in Norristown.Duffy said the medical center remains on track to meet its objective of operating in the black during its second fiscal year [which began July 1].Not all the projects at the East Norriton hospital have centered on clinical services. The 21,500-square-foot Jane and Leonard Korman Family Healing Garden recently opened earlier this month in front of the hospital along Germantown Pike.The Kormans, philanthropists from Fort Washington, Pa., whose family business in real estate, provided funding for the project.Duffy described the walking garden, which has its own waterfall, as a “stress reducer” as well as a place people can go to sit and relax.