The “all in” costs for repairing Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) and upgrading it to be better prepared for future storms is approximately $200 million, Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan Aviles told Sheepshead Bites during a press conference yesterday.
Aviles led U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and reporters on a tour of the facility, showing off the hospital’s progress nearly two and a half months after Superstorm Sandy. The two announced that repairs to the city’s public hospitals in the wake of the storm and necessary improvements will cost $810 million – an amount included in the $51 billion aid being considered in Congress.
The price tag includes $180 million for revenue loss at HHC hospitals because of the flooding, as the hospitals continue to pay employees even though inpatient units and emergency units remain closed. The largest chunk of the $810 million price tag, though, comes from permanent reconstruction and hazard mitigation costs, which rack up $472.5 million. This includes replacing electrical and mechanical systems, relocating them to high floors, and entirely rebuilding Coney Island Hospital’s Ida Israel Community Health Center (2201 Neptune Avenue), which was completely destroyed by Sandy.
“We estimate that the costs of the immediate response and restoration work required to get the hospitals back up, and the long-term protections we need to put in place to prevent future evacuations due to storm damage, including the loss in revenues, will easily exceed $800 million,” Aviles said.
At least $20 million of the requested $810 million will be spent on improving storm preparation and response infrastructure, including hardening vulnerable facilities, assessing integrity of building and re-positioning boilers and generators.
Located nearly a mile away from the Sheepshead Bay bulkhead, and a mile-and-a-half from the Atlantic Ocean, a 14-foot storm surge barreled through the facility and flooded the basements and first floor. The emergency department was entirely wiped out, forcing 200 patients to evacuate. During a tour nearly a month after the storm, much of the facility’s first floor was gutted down to the bare frame.
Yesterday, though, construction in the hospital’s emergency room and other first-floor facilities was nearly complete, and administrators announced that they will resume inpatient behavioral health services with the opening of all of its 64 inpatient psychiatric beds by Monday, January 14. They are also beginning to move a slew of outpatient primary and specialty clinic services back to its main Ocean Parkway building.