Hospital takes wraps off $34M Camarda center
NY Journal News
June 27, 2008

CARMEL - Officials at Putnam Hospital Center yesterday unveiled a new, $34 million building, capping the hospital's largest expansion in history.

The Camarda Care Center, named after developer Paul Camarda, is a five-story, 113,000-square-foot structure next to the hospital's main tower. It includes 70 private patient rooms, a cancer treatment center, physician offices and a 96-seat community auditorium.

"Historically, it's always been 'go south to New York City,' but now patients won't have to go anywhere to receive top-notch medical care," said Michael Weber, president and chief executive officer of Health Quest, the hospital's parent network.

In the past 10 years, the hospital has more than doubled in size in an attempt to keep pace with the building boom seen in the rest of Putnam County. Hospital officials began planning the new center four years ago.

The hospital is the largest employer in Putnam.

Pending approvals from the state Department of Health, patients can expect to be admitted into the new building later in the summer.

For the first time, the hospital will offer patients radiation therapy in the Agarwal Center for Radiation Oncology. Previously, doctors had to refer cancer patients to other facilities.

There was a demand for a cancer center in the area, said Elizabeth Gomez, the hospital's director of oncology services.

In 2007, Putnam Hospital Center saw 453 cancer cases. That number has been steadily rising by more than 20 cases yearly, Gomez said.

"When you are receiving radiation, you have to come every single day for treatment. You don't want to drive an hour and a half into New York City for that," Gomez said. "We have more people in Putnam now, but more importantly we have more aging people here now."

The hospital received about $15 million in donations from individual community members, in addition to federal and state grants.

The new center boasts a large, glass lobby with a grand piano and fireplaces, modern patient rooms and hallways with dark wood and an earth tone color scheme. Officials said hotel-like furnishings would soon be delivered.

The radio-oncology suite includes a $4.5 million Trilogy linear accelerator and a 4-slice CT scanner.

The private patient rooms, quickly becoming the standard in the area, will have flat-screen televisions, private baths and two sinks for infection control.

About 400 new parking spaces were created in the hospital's 44-acre campus.