COPAKE—Who needs boring old shovels to get a project started when you’ve got hardhats, a drill, a hammer, reciprocating and circular saws, and a paint roller instead?
Those were the gadgets, straight from the toolbox of Columbia Memorial Health’s VP of Marketing and External Affairs Bill Van Slyke, used by officials to ceremonially break ground and formally announce the coming of a new rapid care facility in Copake, Monday, June 29.
The Columbia Paper broke the story last week that a new rapid care center run by Columbia Memorial Health (CMH) to be located in a portion of the Community Rescue squad building at 283 Mountain View Road, had been given the green light.
The idea for the project originated with Copake’s Hamlet Revitalization Taskforce two years ago after taskforce member John Pollok’s wife needed treatment for an injury and had to travel to Valatie, at least a half hour away, to get it.
The taskforce then came up with a proposal, which they took to CMH officials in February 2013.
In his address to the crowd gathered at the rescue squad site Monday, CMH CEO and President Jay Cahalan said, “It takes a community to support a health system,” a reference to the long list of people credited with bringing the project to fruition.
He said, the taskforce had come to CMH with a well-thought-out proposal including demographics and population estimates and made a “compelling case for why a rapid care center would do well in Copake.”
After doing its own analysis, CMH agreed and came up with half of the needed $700,000 project cost. State Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-43rd) stepped in to assist by securing $350,000 as part of the 2015-16 State Budget to help with the initial cost of site renovation and equipment purchases.
The rapid care facility will occupy the part of the rescue squad building that was formerly used by the town Police Department, which was dissolved a few years back.
The senator told those gathered that since learning of the project she made it her “top priority” and was pleased that the rapid care facility will provide local access to critically needed walk-in health care services and help meet the health care needs of Columbia County families as soon as the spring of 2016. She said the project was a model for how quickly the private/public partnership was able to get this done.
In addition to Senator Marchione and Mr. Cahalan, Copake Supervisor Jeff Nayer and Copake Hamlet Revitalization Taskforce Chair Roberta Roll took their turns at the microphone, both delivering thanks and appreciation to all those who made the project happen.
Among the many recognized for their hard work by Mr. Nayer was the Community Rescue Squad, it’s Executive Director Joe LaPorta and Board of Directors, which has agreed to give the rapid care center its first two years rent free and will erect a 100-foot antenna at the rescue squad site to connect to broadband access. The Rheinstrom Hill Community Foundation has contributed half of the $25,000 needed and fundraising efforts by Copake Community Service, Inc. are currently underway for the remainder. CMH will then pay for the ongoing monthly usage.
Mr. Nayer said the rapid care center will “meet a big need for this area,” not just Copake, but Ancram, Hillsdale, Gallatin and Taghkanic. “It’s a great day for residents and visitors,” he said.
The rapid care center will encompass 2,600 square-feet of space and include five exam rooms, one procedure room, x-ray and blood drawing facilities. When open, the facility will be staffed by a physician, a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner at all times. Entry and parking for the center will be situated on the east side of the building toward Copake Memorial Park.
Dr. Charles Johnson, who currently practices at CMH’s Callan Family Care facility nearby at 358 Mountain View Road, will move his primary care practice to the new facility as well.
Mr. Van Slyke of CMH could not say what will happen to the Callan facility. The details of the lease between CMH and the rescue squad after the initial two years are still being finalized, he said.
Though facility hours and days of operation are still to be determined, Mr. Van Slyke said it will initially be open eight hours a day for a minimum of six days a week, Monday through Saturday. “If need presents, hours will expand,” he said.
The rapid care center is for people of all ages who are sick or have minor medical emergencies that are not life-or-limb threatening and can’t wait to see their doctor. No appointments are necessary at the rapid care center, just walk in.
CMH also operates a rapid care center in Valatie at 2827 Route 9.
To contact Diane Valden email