The New Brooklyn Health Center Is Now Serving Members and Their Families!

Construction is complete, the ribbon cutting has occurred, the new Brooklyn Health Center is open, and Hotel Trades Council members and their families now enjoy the finest healthcare facility of its kind anywhere in the U.S.

Start with the fact that the new Brooklyn Health Center is three times larger than its predecessor! Spacious and inviting, it was designed—with the assistance of members themselves—by Dr. Robert Greenspan, the Chief Executive Officer of the union’s Benefit Funds, and it will revolutionize the way members receive their healthcare.

For starters, there are no waiting rooms! That’s because the new Brooklyn Health Center is designed so that the medical personnel come to you. Not only that, but it is incredibly easy to get around this wondrous facility, as all the floors are the same design. In other words, if you know one floor you know them all.

There are bathrooms on every floor. There’s always someone to greet you when you enter the building on Ashland Place, and each floor has a greeter, too, in case you’re not sure where to go. An examination room, also called a pod, is where the medical personnel come to you. The examination rooms at the Brooklyn Health Center are much larger than standard ones—in fact, more than twice as large!—and even big enough for a family member to accompany you, if you wish, and for wheelchair patients. There is a screen that greets you by name so you know you’re in the right room, and more than a few members told Hotel Voice that this is a personal touch that they really appreciate.

Privacy is assured in examination rooms—another patient cannot enter—and all the equipment is present to measure vitals like height, blood pressure, weight, BMI, etc.)—and they are automatically entered into members’ electronic records. Hotel Voice learned on a tour of the facility that some lab tests can be done in the examination room itself, reducing travel time and waiting time for patients.
Have you ever wondered what the doctor is typing into his computer when you visit? Wonder no more. Whatever the doctor is writing or typing appears on a monitor so you can read it for yourself.

From what we’ve described already, one goal of the new Brooklyn Health Center is grandly achieved: everything is centered around trying to reduce the different number of stops a patient has to make in this facility.

And while waiting areas aren’t necessary for patients, family members have comfortable, eye-pleasing areas where they can wait, often with outstanding views of the surrounding neighborhood. The furniture in these areas is acoustical, meaning it absorbs sound, and there are no paging announcements to disrupt the calm ambience of the Brooklyn Health Center as a place for wellness.

In the physical therapy department there are lockers and showers for members so that they can freshen up before leaving for work. There is natural lighting throughout the building, making it very bright and very comfortable. It even has a large gym for all members called the “I Thrive” section, where they can do exercises, learn yoga and, eventually, participate in a kitchen where they will be able to learn to cook healthy—but delicious—meals. There will be other features available to help maintain wellness.
There’s more. There are reclining chairs in the lab to make patients really comfortable when they have to have blood drawn. The new Brooklyn Health Center’s pharmacy is huge. The former Brooklyn pharmacy dispensed around 500 prescriptions a day, but the new facility can easily handle twice that—an amount that is ten times more than the average retail pharmacy like Duane Reade or CVS.

It’s true! And the pharmacy’s robot can accurately fill 100 prescriptions per hour, something a human can barely do in an eight-hour shift. The robot frees up time for the pharmacists to focus on clinical collaboration, giving routine immunizations without appointments (such as flu shots and adult vaccines), and talking to patients about their medications.

How fast are the pharmacies? Well. Hotel Voice talked to more than a few patients who were in and out of the Brooklyn Health Center in less than an hour, including picking up medications that were prescribed to them during their visit. “It is indeed a goal of this facility to have most patients’ visits take an hour or less, as we strive for optimal convenience,” says Dr. Greenspan, “while at the same time making sure that this efficiency in no way affects the high quality of the care members and their families receive.”

Another feature of the new Brooklyn Health Center is state-of-the-art technology. For example, the SIEMENS-ACUSON S2000 is one piece of equipment that is absolutely top-of-the-line. It is the newest in breast sonography imaging technology. In fact, there only four other units of this type in the entire New York-Long Island Metropolitan Area! This unit automatically provides amazingly detailed images and does so comfortably, meaning without manual breast scanning by the sonographer. It provides an efficient and comprehensive analysis of the 3D (three dimension) data and facilitates easy, semi-automated reporting.

The Hologic Genius 3D Tomosynthesis System sounds high-tech because it is high-tech. This state-of-the-art machine acquires both standard 2D (two dimensional) breast imaging and 3D imaging. During the exam the patient’s positioning is the same as with a standard mammography exam. The x-ray tube moves laterally, acquiring the 3D images, and within minutes the exam is complete.

The benefits of this ultra-modern technology are wonderful. It enables definitive identification of unsuspected lesions in certain types of cancers, decreasing the need for second-look testing and post-MRI biopsy. In addition, tomosynthesis can find a certain mass not seen in a traditional 2D mammogram and it significantly reduces screening callback rates while increaseing the ability to detect early cancers.
We should add that this kind of high-tech equipment isn’t limited to the medical side of the new Health Center. As an example, there is an 3-D imager in the Dental Center in Brooklyn, which can do a full mouth x-ray in one sweep!

The Dental Center in Brooklyn is amazing. For starters, it has 50% more dental chairs than the former facility, and like the rest of the new Brooklyn Health Center it is replete with state-of-the-art equipment and ultra-modern features. As an example, future appointments will be scheduled from the dental chair itself so there will be no need to see a receptionist on the way out. There are 17 operatories in Brooklyn, and they have floor-to-ceiling windows. This not only brightens the atmosphere and affords the patient views of the surrounding neighborhood, it also allows the dentist to match the color of your teeth perfectly. There are four additional hygienists’ chairs at Brooklyn’s Dental Center, as well as digital x-rays and special pediatric rooms. And that’s not all. There is even a dental lab on the premises, in many cases enabling one-day repair for broken teeth or dentures.

As we said, the new Brooklyn Health Center was designed by Dr. Robert Greenspan, and members themselves actually helped in this endeavor. Before a shovel was even in the ground in Brooklyn Greenspan had conducted surveys and focus groups with members to find out what they liked and didn’t like about the Health Centers. Much of what members
reported to him was incorporated into the design of the new Brooklyn Health Center.
Location was also a major factor. An exhausting search of real estate in Brooklyn ended up with the purchase of the land on which the new Brooklyn Health Center sits. Many subway lines (the A, C, G, N, R, Q, B, D, F, 2, 3, 4, and the 5) are within five blocks of the facility and the B25, B26, B38 and B52 buses stop within one block of the site, while other buses stop within two or three blocks of the site. “We have always said that location would be a top priority in determining where to build the new Brooklyn Health Center,” Ward told Hotel Voice when the purchase of the land was reported. “With the easy access to public transportation that this site has, we think we have met that goal.”
Certainly many members agree. Gerard Maddy, an employee of London Hotel said that it’s easy for him to get to the new Center via the C train, and it was also noted that the Health Center is a five-minute walk from the Atlantic Avenue station that services six different subway lines as well as the Long Island Rail Road.

Members were also impressed with the appearance of the new Brooklyn Health Center and the service they receive there.

Concepcion Garibaldi, an employee of the Conrad Hotel, visiting Brooklyn for the first time on November 16 with his wife, Santa, and their 10-month-old son, Angel, said, “This place is absolutely fantastic. You feel like you’re coming into your own home because everyone is so welcoming. We would never have a gorgeous healthcare center like this without a union.”

Henry Johnson, a retired electrician from the Sheraton NY, was visiting the new Brooklyn Health Center with his wife Vilma, and said, “I remember the way things used to be and I am so grateful for the improvement. This center is beautiful, it is easy to get to and they really take great care of us here.”

“This is really, really nice!” Julio DeLeon, an employee of the AKA Times Square Hotel, told Hotel Voice on November 13 in describing the new Brooklyn Health Center. Julio added that he thought his three-week-old daughter, Amelia, who was asleep, liked the new facility, too.

An almost incalculable amount of energy and effort went into the building of the new Brooklyn Health Center, from concept to actual functioning. Finding the location, hiring an architect and contractor, overseeing the construction, purchasing the equipment, training the personnel in the new model (this was done at mock-up pods in the Queens Health Center as reported in an earlier edition of Hotel Voice) and so much other activity was entailed in making it the finest healthcare facility of its kind anywhere in the country. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio both toured the site the day of the ribbon cutting and expressed awe at what they saw. The New York Times called the new Brooklyn Health Center “remarkable.” Dozens of members that spoke with Hotel Voice expressed amazement not only at what they saw but also what they experienced during their initial visits.

But the work is not done. Now, with the Brooklyn Health Center up and running, serving as a model for many other unions and healthcare providers, attention will now be turned toward the renovation and expansion of the Queens Health Center—a project that begins in 2018!