BY JAMES FARRELL
Northwell Health and NYC Health + Hospitals announced on Feb. 23 that construction has officially begun on a new, shared $47.7 million laboratory based in Little Neck.
The laboratory, located at 59-25 Little Neck Parkway, is a 36,000 square foot, two-story structure that will act as a centralized location for both health systems to perform lab tests—particularly microbiology tests such as molecular diagnostics. There is no exact date of completion yet, although the hospitals are aiming for a mid-2018 debut.
The new lab’s purpose is to consolidate the operations of the two health systems, processing lab tests from local hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices with updated new technology and robotic testing systems.
When the lab opens, it will be the largest, non-profit, hospital-oriented lab network in the nation, processing more than 50 million annual tests.
“Working with Northwell, we can improve lab performance for patients and achieve greater efficiencies through a shared, centralized lab and realize substantial cost savings annually,” said Stanley Brezenoff, interim president and CEO at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Northwell Health has extensive experience operating a nationally recognized core lab for its own large health system and has achieved impressive standards in terms of speed and accuracy, while maintaining a strong focus on patient service.”
The new lab is part of an initiative called the Clinical Laboratory of New York Alliance, which was formed by Northwell Health and NYC Health + Hospitals in 2014 to integrate laboratory services.
“This exciting, mutually beneficial partnership provides a unique opportunity to standardize the quality and performance of lab services, benefitting patients in our community and the entire metropolitan area, while achieving cost savings for both organizations,” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO at Northwell Health.
Currently, the Northwell Laboratories network performs more than 30 million tests annually while NYC Health + Hospitals operates four core labs and seven rapid response labs that perform approximately 15 million lab tests each year. NYC Health + Hospitals’ four labs will consolidate operations in the new Little Neck Lab, which will eventually process about half of all the system’s lab tests. The four core labs will be focusing more narrowly on rapid response testing. The companies estimate that joint savings from the lab will amount to $30 million annually.
The new lab will be staffed by employees from both systems and no layoffs are expected from the consolidation. In fact, the health systems claimed that the laboratory would bring additional jobs to the city, and while the total number of additional numbers is not yet known, a spokesman for NYC Health + Hospitals said that the new facility would employ approximately 300 people.
For the two systems, the joint venture into streamlining lab services was a natural fit.
“Lab services are an ideal area for health systems to combine efforts,” said James Cawford, MD, PhD, executive director of laboratory services and chair of pathology at Northwell Health. “As we align analytical, information and logistics systems to seamlessly interface with one another, we can optimize the diagnostic services supporting patient care across both of our health systems.”
Northwell is also working to open a new laboratory in Lake Success.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.