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Saratoga Hospital eyes expansion

Officials at Saratoga Hospital are hoping to infuse the Wilton Medical Arts building on Route 50 with millions of dollars in improvements.

Hospital officials have applied to the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency for a $35 million bond that would fund six projects, one of which is the renovation of 18,000 square feet at the Wilton facility. The project would increase the staff by eight doctors and 25 full-time staff at a cost of $3 million.

The Wilton Medical Arts facility offers blood testing, medical imaging, drug testing, physical and occupational therapy and on-the-job injury treatment.

The plan is to renovate the unoccupied wing of the building Wilton Medical Arts moved into in 1998 to address the growing need for primary care in the area.

According to Doug Cushing, vice president of ambulatory services, Wilton Medical Arts had slightly more than 100,000 visits to the facility in 2006.

We treat 27,000 with urgent care services, he added.

Cushing said 30 percent of those patients do not list a primary care doctor. The numbers, Cushing said, show a need for primary care services.

Saratoga Hospital owns the building occupied by Wilton Medical Arts and leases about 6 acres from the land from investor Joel Aaronson.

The rest of the bond money would be used to expand the emergency department at the hospital; add 21 beds to a nursing home wing of the hospital and turn it into an acute care floor; and reimburse the hospital for the money its leaders spent opening Malta Medical Arts on Route 67 this year.

"The emergency department was built for 20,000 visits a year and we're doing 34,000 a year now," said Gary Foster, the hospital's chief financial officer.

The addition to the emergency department of the hospital on Church Street in Saratoga Springs would be 33,000 square-feet and would more than double the number of treatment areas from 14 to 36.

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