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$3.1 Million Renovation at St. Mary’s Benefits Care for Ob/Gyn, Pediatric, Homeless Patients

Patti Singer
pattisinger@minorityreporter.net

Ob/gyn, pediatrics and a health care program for homeless people are housed at St. Mary’s after a state-funded
$3.1 million renovation.
Photo by Brenda Cohen.

Residents in southwest Rochester, an area chronically lacking in health services, will be getting easier access to care.

Rochester Regional Health renovated 11,500 square feet of space on the St. Mary’s campus at 89 Genesee Street for ob/gyn, pediatrics and a health care program for the homeless.

The three practices had been in a nearby building on West Main Street, and the move allows for more space and convenience to additional services such as labs for blood work, radiology for images such as X-rays, and pharmacy under the same roof.

“It’s hard enough for folks to get in here for care,” said Dr. Bridgette Wiefling, senior vice president for Primary Care and Ambulatory Specialty Institute at Rochester Regional Health. “It should be a nice space, that’s not something that looks run down. These are moms with babies and children. It’s not fair to have them schlep down the block, two blocks, to try to find labs and all that other stuff.”

The project was approved by the state Department of Health and received $3.1 million in taxpayer money to cover the cost.

A pediatric exam room in the renovated space at St. Mary’s is decorated in a Dr. Seuss theme. Photo by Brenda Cohen

The project included:

  • For pediatrics, an additional exam room for pediatrics and the ability to add a provider when needed;
  • For ob/gyn, three more exam rooms for a total of nine, two larger treatment rooms, fetal monitoring and the ability to add a provider;
  • For the healthcare for the homeless, two more exam room for a total of four and nearness to other services for better follow-up care.

Wiefling said moving the practices into St. Mary’s gives also allows each one more privacy.

She said each of the practices had been growing, and the ability to add providers means more people can be seen. She said that over the next two years, the practices could accommodate an additional 5,000 visits. She said expanding the pediatric practices allows for young people to be seen to the age of 21, something not possible in the previous space.

Despite the upgrade at St. Mary’s, southwest Rochester remains an area designated by the federal government as underserved.

St. Mary’s is about a mile from a site run by the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center. Even with those two sites, the southwest part of the city still is considered an underserved area by federal standards.

Jason Dunn, chief operating officer of Jordan Health Center, said health centers in such areas are trying to expand services and make it easier for patients to receive care. “That’s a great thing for the community. There’s a move in that area to meet the unmet need.”

Dunn said Jordan Health Center is working on a long-term plan for its own facilities.

The renovation at the St. Mary’s campus was not meant to compete with Jordan, said Wiefling, who formerly served as that organization’s chief executive officer. “We’re trying to meet the demands of what we’re being asked. We didn’t go gigantic. We were thoughtful in the growth strategy.”