City Councilman Rafael Salamanca, Jr. presented an $884,000 check to Lincoln Hospital to renovate two X-ray rooms on Wednesday– a move hospital officials said would cut wait times almost in half.
Dozens of hospital staffers filled one of Lincoln’s aging X-ray rooms for the announcement. Renovations are expected to be completed by summer and should cut the average patient wait time for an X-ray at the facility from 30 minutes to 15-20, hospital administrators said.
Officials at the hospital, a NYC Health and Hospitals facility, said the high number of patients, coupled with old technology, has slowed down the patient experience. Dr. Alan Kantor, chief of the radiology department, reported that an estimated 100,000 patients a year visit the radiology department. “I hate being the bottleneck that slows them down,” he said.
Amrit Pandya, director of radiology, described another angle of the problem. “These are two very antiquated [X-ray] rooms. The average life is about 10 years and we’re exceeding 20,” he said. “They’re way overdue to be changed out and the councilman recognized that.”
Every year, council members get a certain amount of money to distribute within their district, as deemed most needed.
Salamanca, himself a former healthcare administrator, had a number of funding requests during the fiscal year 2020 budget season but chose to set money aside for the hospital.
“Who likes to sit in a waiting room and wait? It’s precious time,” he said.
Although many departments of the hospital have financial needs, radiology was at the top of the list, Salamanca said. During a Lincoln hospital tour, the president brought him straight to the place of need. “He brought me down here to the X-ray room,” he said.
Chief Executive Officer Milton Nunez elaborated on why the radiology department took precedence over other departments.
“All of our services are important. But we have to make sure our core services are really strong so that they can support all of the different service lines that we have here at Lincoln,” he said. “If our core isn’t strong, the rest of the hospital isn’t strong.”
Lincoln Hospital has 300 physicians on staff and is one of 11 acute care hospital in the NYC Health and Hospitals network. The emergency department sees more than 100,000 patients per year.
Robert Nolan, a member of the board of directors for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, expressed high hopes for the restored rooms.
“This money by this councilmember will save lives,” he said.