Tags Posts tagged with "New York State Department of Health"

New York State Department of Health

NYS officials alert public to possible local impact

Inside one of the remaining derelict buildings at the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site in Port Jefferson Station. File photo

News Flash

Key takeaways by ChatGPT, edited by the TBR staff

Derelict buildings at Lawrence Aviation site in PJS to come down after New York State takeover from Feds.

• Daily air quality sampling, wet demolition planned for hazardous material removal.

• Proposed solar farm and MTA rail yard discussed.

By Carolyn Sackstein

On the road to redevelopment, the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site in Port Jefferson Station will clear a significant hurdle in the coming months.

Port Jefferson Village Center hosted Wednesday, Oct. 4, New York State officials and the contractor who will demolish the remaining derelict buildings on-site at the Lawrence Aviation property.

The two-hour information session featured informational posters and charts on easels around the room’s perimeter, with state Department of Environmental Conservation officials explaining their contents and providing additional clarity for members of the public.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “did the investigation of the site, performed removal actions such as soil and drum removal of underground storage tanks, transformers containing PCB [polychlorinated biphenyl] oils and implemented the groundwater remedy over the last 10 years,” said NYSDEC environmental engineer Steven Scharf. The EPA has now “turned it over to the state, as required by federal law. Now that the company is bankrupt and the Suffolk County Landbank Corporation has seized the property for back taxes, we can take the buildings down.”

Mark Sergott, representing the New York State Department of Health, said that during the demolition of the buildings, there will be “mostly dust issues.” Scott McDonald, project manager of Groundwater & Environmental Services, the contracting firm performing the demolition work, explained that removing structures from the property will be a “wet demolition” to lessen the number of airborne particulates.

Jeffrey Dyber, also representing NYSDOH, explained that “the air quality will be sampled daily. Monitoring equipment will vary locations from day-to-day depending on the direction of the wind.”

Should the equipment detect levels of particulates and volatile organic compounds beyond those considered safe, he added, alarms will sound, and demolition will be halted and mitigated before continuing. The materials will be wrapped and secured for safe transport.

NYSDEC project manager Payson Long. Photo by Carolyn Sackstein

The above-ground structures should be removed by summer 2024, according to NYSDEC project manager Payson Long. “We are going to sample below the pits, sumps and through the slabs in several areas to ensure that we have documented the entire site to ensure there is no contamination in that area,” he said. “We are [sampling] down to the water table, which is about 200 feet.”

“Currently, the buildings are an attractive nuisance,” Long continued, explaining it is not just the unhoused who have been drawn to create encampments on the property. People from the community have exposed themselves to toxins by riding dirt bikes and local teens using it as a hangout location. There is even evidence that the buildings have been used for drone racing.

McDonald discussed the potential traffic impacts related to the demolition project. He said the wooden bridge to the west of the property will not be used as it is not rated to carry the weight of the trucks and equipment. All project-related traffic will be routed from Route 112 to Sheep Pasture Road and then enter the Lawrence Aviation property using the gate at 100 Sheep Pasture.

When it was pointed out that the gate and roads on the property were overgrown and derelict, McDonald indicated that those would be rehabilitated to allow the trucks and heavy equipment to access the work zones on-site. 

Once demolition equipment reaches the property, it will stay there. Site security will be present during the off hours. Truck traffic will be limited to between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

The event was well attended by Port Jefferson and Port Jefferson Station/Terryville residents, including Bill Caraftis, Paul and Carolyn Sagliocca, Liz and Jim Marzigliano, who demonstrated a keen interest in the possible uses for the land after the cleanup.

A 36-acre solar array and an MTA rail yard have been proposed, which could necessitate rerouting a section of the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway trail

Concerns about students with health problems prompted the temporary closing of Northport Middle School in 2020 and was one of the reasons the state Department of Health conducted a study of cancer cases in the district. File photo by Lina Weingarten

Residents of the Northport-East Northport school district have waited anxiously for the recent report by the New York State Department
of Health.

According to a NYSDOH study, the investigation of cancer incidents in the school district between 1999 and 2018 was initiated by the department “in response to an inquiry from members of the community who shared information about leukemias and other cancers diagnosed among members of the Northport High School graduating class of 2016 since their graduation and among other children and young adults in the Northport area.” The report also mentioned health concerns cited about Northport Middle School students.

In January 2020, the district decided to close the middle school for a few months after the consulting firm hired by the district, P.W. Grosser Consulting, tested the soil on the grounds and found elevated levels of benzene in two separate septic systems on site. Before a cleanup, three science classrooms in the middle school’s G-wing were closed out of an abundance of caution. During the investigation, it was found science rooms had sinks that drain into the leaching pool, where the mercury and silver were found. While odorless fumes could have potentially migrated through the piping into classrooms, the drain systems rely on P traps that prevent that from occurring, according to the district at the time. Air quality results in the G-wing classrooms were later found to be normal.

The DOH’s primary source of data was the New York State Cancer Registry. For the years after 2018, registry data was not official at the time of analyses, according to the DOH report. 

“We identified 4,593 cases of cancer among district residents, compared with 4,454 that would be expected,” the report read. “This 3% excess was statistically significant, meaning it was unlikely to occur by chance.”

An increase in pancreatic cancer, malignant melanoma of the skin, uterine (corpus) cancer and prostate cancer made up the excess. The report went on to say, “There were significantly fewer than expected numbers of cases of stomach cancer and lung cancer. Numbers of cases of leukemia, other blood cancers (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas and multiple myeloma), and 13 other types of cancer examined separately were not significantly different from expected.”

While the community around East Northport Middle School had about the expected cases, the area around Northport Middle School had 7% higher-than-expected levels of cancer.

Regarding the number of 2016 high school graduates who came down with leukemia, the study concluded, “It is possible that the elevated occurrence of leukemia among 2016 graduates could be related to factors not possible to uncover, including environmental exposures.” 

Robert Banzer, district superintendent of schools, sent out a letter June 23 to community members to notify them that the study was completed. In the letter, he said, “The district fully cooperated with the NYSDOH during this process.”

After summarizing the findings in the letter, he said, “We appreciate the hard work of the NYSDOH in this endeavor and look forward to continuing to provide our students and staff with a safe learning environment.”

Lawsuits and disappointment in health study

Attorney Lilia Factor, of Melville-based Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, said her law firm has filed three lawsuits for nine plaintiffs so far against the Northport-East Northport school district. One of them is a proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Northport Middle School students. The others are on behalf of individuals who have become sick. She is aware of at least five other lawsuits in total as other law firms have filed lawsuits against the district in the Suffolk County Supreme Court.

On July 12, according to Factor, the court consolidated lawsuits for the purposes of exchanging documents and depositions. A most recently filed case from Napoli Shkolnik was not included as a judge has not been assigned yet.

Tara Mackey is one of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit. She said her daughter suffered from migraine headaches while studying at Northport Middle School and developed asthma. When Mackey brought her daughter to the doctor for her headaches, carbon monoxide was found in her blood.

“She had to get blood tests every four to six weeks for the remainder of time that she was in the school, and it just showed a pattern of when they would test her blood after, say, five days a week of school, she would have very high levels of carbon monoxide in her blood and then when they tested it during holidays or summer break, it was perfectly normal,” Mackey said.

Factor said while Mackey’s daughter was fortunate not to get cancer, she and other students are at a higher risk of developing illness later in life due to latency periods, a fact she said the NYSDOH report acknowledges. If the class-action suit is successful, anyone who becomes sick in later years would be covered. In cases such as this, a fund is established where people can be tested or a protocol would be distributed to local doctors to know what to look for if a patient attended Northport Middle School 

“We want there to be a medical monitoring program established for everyone so that they can screen people and watch them, and if they develop any symptoms of a serious illness that’s associated with these contaminants to try to catch it early,” Factor said.

Mackey said the health issues can weigh heavily on families, and many of them faced criticism in Northport when they brought the problems to the district. She and her family moved to South Carolina after they were harassed by community members creating uncomfortable situations.

“We endured a lot of harassment, along with a lot of other parents, from people in the community that didn’t want bad press about any potential environmental issues that could lead to health problems for people in the school and the community, because people feared for their property values,” she said. “It just made a very uncomfortable situation for many of us, and we moved because we couldn’t keep our kids safe.”

She added, coincidentally, two other families, who she didn’t know while living in Northport, moved near her.

Factor said while it is good that the DOH conducted the report, the study didn’t look at other factors such as families who have moved away and may have been diagnosed with an illness.

“They would not be part of those statistics, which were in themselves pretty disturbing,” Factor said.

She added the DOH didn’t talk to or survey community members and medical providers.

“It’s good that they did something, but it really needs to be a lot more comprehensive if they really want to understand cancer incidence in this community.” Factor said.

The attorney and Mackey added there have been other illnesses that have surfaced such as scleroderma and aplastic anemia. Mackey said that she was also disappointed that the study was cut off at the year 2018 as she has heard of more cases of cancer that have been diagnosed recently and therefore not counted.

“I just think all of the families and the parents, children themselves, they at least deserve the facts and the full facts,” the mother said. “Nothing can change at this point. We can’t change what happened to our children, but at least we can take charge and be observant and try to keep them in the best health possible and at least know what to look for.”

Stony Brook University's COVID-19 testing site. Photo by Matthew Niegocki
Updated February 18, 2021
The COVID-19 testing site at Stony Brook University’s South P-lot will be closing at 1 p.m. on February 18 due to the snowstorm. There is an anticipated delayed opening Tomorrow, February 19 with timing yet to be determined.
For further updates and more information about Stony Brook’s coronavirus drive-through testing, click here.
New York State has partnered with Stony Brook University to provide drive-through testing for the coronavirus at Stony Brook University’s South P Lot off Stony Brook Road. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made by phone at 888-364-3065 or online at covid19screening.health.ny.gov.


Beginning Sunday, February 14, the COVID-19 testing site at Stony Brook University’s South P-lot will be operating from 8 a.m. to noon  on Sundays.

Operating hours are now:
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon.

Anyone who believes they’re at risk should call the Department of Health Hotline, 888-364-3065, and talk to experts to determine if and how they should be tested.

Test results are not provided by Stony Brook University Hospital. They can be obtained through BioReference at bioreference.com/patient-portal or by calling the New York State DOH Hotline at 888-364-3065.

Click here for a map and directions to the testing site.

Coronavirus Hotline

Updated January 8, 2021
For people who have questions about symptoms, testing, vaccines and more, Stony Brook Medicine’s coronavirus phone line is here as a resource for you:

Coronavirus Hotline
(631) 638-1320

Staffed by registered nurses, the hotline is available daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Callers will be evaluated and directed to the appropriate healthcare setting for assistance, as needed.

Nursing homes have become a hotbed of discussion over the large percentage of their residents who have died from COVID-19 while in New York facilities. Stock photo

When the initial COVID-19 surge occurred in New York State, nursing homes were the site of rampant infections and deaths. According to a New York State Department of Health report released earlier this week, the infection was spread by community transmission and asymptomatic staff members. 

The agency aimed to study the impact of the state’s March directive that nursing homes could not refuse admission or readmission to patients because of a confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection. The directive was meant to free up space in overcrowded hospitals as the pandemic intensified.

The number of nursing home staff reporting COVID-19 symptoms peaked March 16, 23 days prior to the peak of nursing home fatalities, which occurred April 8. 

“It is likely that thousands of employees who were infected in mid-March transmitted the virus unknowingly — through no fault of their own — while working, which then led to resident infection,” the report states. 

Critics of the directive argue that it allowed infected patients to return or come into these facilities and in turn spread the virus to other individuals. The findings of the study show 

37,500 workers — one in four of 158,000 nursing home workers — were infected with COVID-19 between March and early June. 

A number of elected officials took issue with the guidance given to nursing homes by the state. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) disputed claims that the state was simply following the federal government’s guidance. He said the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal regulator for nursing homes, had previously issued guidance stating that not only should nursing homes only accept patients for which they can care for, but that nursing homes should focus on “prompt detection, triage and isolation of potentially infectious residents.” 

Zeldin also called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CMS to launch an investigation into New York State’s adherence to appropriate health and safety guidelines within nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

In a statement following the release of the NYSDOH report, Zeldin reiterated his stance. 

“An internal review by the State of New York is OK for them to initiate, but this is not a situation where the state is going to be able to objectively investigate itself,” he said. “These facilities should not have been required to accept patients who were diagnosed at the time with coronavirus, especially if they did not have the ability to protect the rest of their vulnerable population. It was also a fatal policy to prevent nursing homes from administering coronavirus tests to patients returning from hospitalization. Our seniors and their families deserve answers, and an independent investigation is clearly necessary.”

A statewide nursing home survey conducted by NYSDOH shows that between March 25 and May 8, a total of 6,326 COVID-19 hospital patients were admitted into 310 nursing homes. Of those facilities 252 already had either confirmed or suspected positive patients, confirmed or presumed fatalities or infected workers, prior to admission of someone with the coronavirus. 

Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association said at the onset of the pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living facilities were not the top priority. Bolstering hospital resources and ramping up hospital bed capacity were. 

“Policymakers now know that the men and women residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are the most at risk of infection from the COVID-19 virus,” Hanse said in a statement. “Consequently, it is essential that nursing homes and assisted living providers receive the full support and assistance from elected officials and policymakers to ensure they have the necessary resources to defeat this virus and safeguard their residents and staff.”

Local officials and health professional are urging residents to get this year's flu shot. Stock photo

State, county and area hospitals are bracing for this year’s flu season following reports of a sharp increase in recent weeks in the number of flu cases in New York state.

About 11,000 confirmed cases of influenza were reported by the New York State Department of Health for the week ending Jan. 11. That’s an increase of 10 percent over the previous week, according to the New York State Flu Tracker. There were 641 new cases in Suffolk County. The statewide total this season stands at almost 44,000. 

Similarly, “widespread”’ flu activity was reported by health departments in 46 states as of the last week of December, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Sharon Nachman, division chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and professor of Pediatrics, said currently the hospital is in the midst of handling an influx of influenza cases.

“We are dealing with the children’s hospital being quite full,” she said. “We have a number of infants with the flu, and we are concerned about it.” 

“Community protection is everyone’s job.”

– Sharon Nachman

The hospital hopes to see an improvement in the next couple of weeks.

Nachman points to a number of reasons why we have been seeing more flu cases in the state: People unwilling to get vaccinated; individuals believing that they are safe from getting sick if they haven’t in the past; a belief that cold and flu medications are better than the shot, among other things.

“I ask patients, ‘Is there a legitimate reason why you don’t want to be vaccinated?’” Nachman said. “You have to think of who is also living in your household, like young people and the elderly. Community protection is everyone’s job.”

The division chief said if everyone got their flu vaccine there would be less people to treat.

“You are 100 percent at risk without the vaccine,” Nachman said. “The vaccine will not prevent someone from getting the flu, but it can lessen the severity of it and shorten its duration.”

She said despite some misconceptions, you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine as it does not contain a live virus. If you happen to get sick after getting a flu shot, it’s a coincidence as there are a lot of viruses and illnesses circulating during the winter months.

In an effort to curb flu cases in Suffolk County, officials announced recently that the county would be offering free influenza immunization to residents 6 months of age and older who are uninsured or whose health insurance does not cover flu immunization.

“The health and wellness of our residents is of utmost importance,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in a statement. “The flu has been on the rise, and we want residents to know it is not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can turn into a debilitating disease by getting immunized as soon as possible.”

The county’s health department has been providing flu immunizations at a number of locations including Suffolk County Department of Health Services at Great River in the Town of Islip and at Riverhead Free Library.

Nachman said it is important to constantly wash your hands and if you are sick, stay home to avoid exposing others to the illness.

Flu shots are also available at local pharmacies, pediatrician and health care provider offices, as well at county-affiliated health centers.

People who are having difficulty finding flu shots or community groups serving those who are in need of flu shots are advised to contact the county Department of Health Services Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 631-854-0333.


Northport district officials have found an alternative location for its bus depot. Photo from Close Northport MS Facebook page

At a board of education meeting Nov. 21, Robert Banzer, Superintendent of Schools, recommended to the board that they seek other fueling alternatives of the two 4,000 gallon tanks and look at options to move buses to another location. The district has already begun researching options for alternative tanks locations and placement of buses, according to the superintendent.

In addition,  a plan will presented at the December 12 board of education meeting.

The decision comes less than a week after a TBR News Media article disclosed that the district was in violation of laws governing petroleum bulk storage.

On Nov. 25, the NYS Department of Health re-inspected the fueling tanks and indicated to the district that the previous citations were corrected.

In a letter to the Northport School Community, Banzer said they would:

  • Conduct refresher training on the latest guidelines for tank maintenance and inspections
  • Schedule periodic tests of all tanks throughout the districts with an outside environmental testing firm
  • Ensure consistent and documented follow up with the Department of Health when seeking follow up inspections
  • Formalize internal communications which includes the superintendent and board of education.

Similarly, the board of education approved two other recommendations brought forward by the subcommittee:

  • Authorizing that the district request the Suffolk County Department of Health perform a follow-up inspection to their May 2017 visit and its subsequent inspection report.
  • Authorize follow-up testing of indoor air quality to follow the same protocols as the August 2018 assessment as well as air quality testing in individual rooms.


Christina Loeffler, the co-owner of Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James, works at one of the few non-major pharmacies in the county participating in the program to give low to no cost Narcan to those with prescription health insurance coverage. Photo by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

The opioid crisis on Long Island has left devastation in its wake, and as opioid-related deaths rise every year, New York State has created an additional, more affordable way to combat it. To deal with the rash of overdoses as a result of addiction, New York State made it easier for people with prescription insurance to afford Naloxone, a common overdose reversal medication.

On Aug. 7, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced starting Aug. 9 that people with prescription health insurance coverage would be able to receive Naloxone, which is commonly referred to as Narcan, for a copay of up to $40. New York is the first state to offer the drug for such a low cost in pharmacies.

Narcan kit are now available for low to no cost at many New York pharmacies. File photo by Rohma Abbas

“The vast majority of folks who have health insurance with prescription coverage will be able to receive Naloxone through this program for free,” said Ben Rosen, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health.

Before the change, the average shelf cost of Narcan, which is administered nasally, was $125 without prescription with an average national copay of $10. People on Medicaid and Medicare paid between $1 and $3, Rosen said.

This action on part of the state comes at a critical time. Over 300 people from Suffolk County died from opioid-related deaths in 2016, according to county medical examiner records. On Aug. 10, President Donald Trump (R) declared the opioid issue a national emergency, meaning that there is now more pressure on Congress to pass legislation to deal with the crisis, as well as a push to supply more funds to states, police departments and health services to help deal with the problem.

The drug is available in over 3,000 pharmacies across New York and well over 100 pharmacies in Suffolk County. This includes all major pharmacies like CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid, but also includes a few local pharmacies that already participate in the state Aids Drug Assistance Program and Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage and Medicaid, according to Kathy Febraio, the executive director of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York, a not-for-profit pharmacists advocacy group.

The program is only available for people who either have Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance with prescription coverage. Otherwise, officials said that those who lack insurance who need access can get it through a number of free Narcan training courses.

“We think that anything that can have an affect on this crisis is a good thing,” Febraio said. “This will certainly help. We need anything that will get Naloxone into the hands of those who need it.”

While Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) likes the idea of additional access to Narcan, he is skeptical about whether those who get it know how to properly administer it.

Narcan kits are now available for low to no cost at many New York pharmacies, like at Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James. Photo by Kyle Barr

“You don’t need a PHD to know how to use it, but there is some training that would help people be more comfortable, such as how to properly use it in an emergency situation and how to store it so that it is accessible while making sure children can’t get their hands on it,” he said. “Unfortunately the epidemic is so wide spread. Everyone knows someone who is affected.”

Christina Loeffler, the co-owner of Rely RX Pharmacy & Medical Supplies in St. James, one of the few non-major pharmacies in the county participating in the program, said though the business has not yet received many calls for Narcan, the state requires pharmacists to demonstrate how to use it.

“You have to counsel the patient and show them how to use it,” she said. “We were showed videos, we were given kits to practice on before we were certified to do it. I feel like it’s a good thing that they’re doing it.”

The county currently provides numerous Narcan training courses for locals, where they receive training and free supplies of the life-saving drug. Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said that she will be co-hosting a free Narcan training course Oct. 5 at Rocky Point High School with support from the North Shore Youth Council.

“They absolutely need to be trained,” she said. “Narcan is almost a miracle drug — it brings people back from death. However, people need to know what they’re doing so that it is administered correctly.”

Check on the New York State Department of Health website’s opioid overdose directories section for a full list of participating pharmacies.

File photo

By Sara-Megan Walsh

Widespread concerns over indoor air quality will keep the K-wing of Northport Middle School closed for the upcoming 2017-18 school year, Northport school officials announced.

On Aug. 9, Northport school district held a community forum to address parents concerned over what health risks may be posed to students in the classrooms where an earth science teacher reported smelling gasoline fumes in April. The fumes were said to be coming from a petroleum-based warehouse located beneath the K-wing. The materials have since been removed.

The most recent air-quality tests, performed July 22 by Hauppauge-based J.C. Broderick & Associates Inc., an environmental and construction testing firm, showed no hazardous concentration of chemicals in any of the samples. But four chemicals commonly linked to perfumes, natural rubber products, air conditioners and refrigerators, thermoplastics and latex paints were found in high concentrations — above the 95th percentile — in the K-wing corridor, rooms 74 and 75. These results were reported to the New York State Department of Health, according to J.C. Broderick & Associates’ report.

Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer said the wing’s closure will not affect scheduled classes other than moving their locations, as students can be readily accommodated by reallocating use of existing classrooms.

The district has a plan of action in place to continue air-quality sampling throughout the building.

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An ambulatory surgery center in Port Jefferson Station will allow Mather Hospital to open up space for patients in need of extended stays. File photo from Mather Hospital

North Shore residents in need of a surgical procedure will soon have a new, more convenient option that eliminates the need for extended hospital stays, long searches for parking and unnecessary treks through vast buildings.

The New York State Department of Health approved plans for the Port Jefferson Ambulatory Surgery Center to be located on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station at a meeting of the State’s Public Health and Health Planning Council Aug. 4. The project, which is estimated to cost nearly $10.6 million, will establish a freestanding outpatient facility for surgical procedures with six operating rooms. John T. Mather Memorial Hospital will own about a quarter of the center, with 19 individual physicians making up 70 percent of the ownership structure.

Doctors involved in the plans, which go  as far back as five years, are excited for the possibilities the center will bring.

“There’s a massive need because it’s more comfortable for the patients, they’re less expensive to run [than full hospitals] and it’s less expensive for the hospital,” Port Jefferson-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Fracchia said in a phone interview. He called the center a “win-win-win” because of the benefits it will create for patients, insurance companies and Mather Hospital. Sending patients with ailments treatable at another site out of the hospital will also allow Mather more space for those who require a hospital stay.

Fracchia is serving as a treasurer for the project as well.

The Port Jefferson Station center will handle procedures in ophthalmology, orthopedics, pain management, general surgery, neurosurgery and otolaryngology.

“It’s a more comfortable, homey type of facility,” orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian McGinley said in an interview. McGinley is the president of the Port Jefferson Station project. Both McGinley and Fracchia stressed the improvement the facility will make in convenience and cost savings for patients. McGinley added that the center will be held to the same high standards that are associated with Mather Hospital. He said the centers tend to be cleaner than hospitals with a far lower risk of infections like MRSA.

Pinnacle III, a company based in Colorado that specializes in establishing ambulatory surgery centers nationwide, has assisted in developing more than 40 centers across the United States and will play a role in creating the Port Jefferson Station site. It will be the first Pinnacle III center in New York, and according to Pinnacle III President and CEO Robert Carrera, New York is one of the states with the greatest need for more surgery centers. Lisa Austin, the company’s vice president, estimated that the cost of procedures at surgery centers is about 33 percent less than at traditional hospitals.

Carrera, Austin, Fracchia and McGinley all speculated that ambulatory surgery centers could be a wave of the future in health care, especially in New York.

“Things have changed — you don’t see anyone building new hospitals,” Fracchia said. New York currently has 116 ambulatory surgery centers, though plans for more are popping up in addition to the Port Jefferson Station location.

Fracchia said he anticipates ground being broken on the site within the next week or so, and the goal is for the doors to open by the winter of 2017.