Northwell, NYC Health + Hospitals begin work on $47.7 million laboratory

The centralized facility is expected to improve laboratory performance and efficiency, reduce costs

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Northwell Health and NYC Health + Hospitals have started work on a $47.7 million shared, centralized laboratory in Queens that the health systems hope will reduce costs for the hospitals in their networks.

Workers at the 36,000-square-foot, two-story lab will primarily perform microbiology tests, including molecular diagnostics from local hospitals, clinics and physicians offices incorporating the latest technology and advanced robotic testing systems.

The lab is part of the Clinical Laboratory of New York Alliance, formed in 2014 by Northwell and NYC Health + Hospitals to integrate laboratory services through a shared reference lab.

[Also: Northwell opens heart hospital, touts facility as among largest cardiac centers in state]

Northwell will make the initial $47.7 million investment upfront to build the facility, with the goal of consolidating and streamlining the operations of the two health systems. Northwell said the laboratory is likely to bring additional jobs to the city; when the project is completed, joint savings are expected to be more than $30 million annually.

The Northwell Laboratories network annually performs more than 30 million tests and analyzes 200,000 surgical specimens from its commercial lab service, hospitals, multiple outpatient facilities and over 40 blood-testing patient service centers.

NYC Health + Hospitals currently operates four core labs and seven rapid response labs, which together perform about 15 million lab tests each year. Under the partnership, NYC Health + Hospitals will consolidate its four core lab operations into the new cooperative lab in Little Neck, which will eventually process about half of all its lab tests.

[Also: NYC Health + Hospitals delays next phase of $764 million Epic EHR implementation]

Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling said in a statement that the 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."

In another initiative between the two health systems, Northwell assumed day-to-day lab operations at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island in June 2016. In April 2014, NYC Health + Hospitals began sending reference testing, which had previously gone to outside vendors, to Northwell; that arrangement is expected to yield $6 million in savings for NYC Health + Hospitals in fiscal year 2017.

Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public healthcare system in the nation.

Twitter: @JELagasse

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