Letters: Urgent care, not urbane comforts, needed at NDH

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Ah, the leaves of grass. Soothing to the eye, forgiving to the feet. Yet the blades of grass carpeting the front of Northern Dutchess Hospital sense neither the wistful look nor the touch of feet. Nobody walks on the lawn and most vehicles roar by. The comfort found here is within the walls of the hospital. Yet this is to be denied, forsaken so the lawn may remain.

Listen up, folks. In 1959, the board at Northern Dutchess Health Service Center (now NDH) needed to attract specialists to their service, at that time rendered by eight family practitioners (GPs). The Bluestone report, provided by a consultant, recommended the board obtain a surgeon, an internist, an obstetrician and a pediatrician. They did, offering young graduates $6K for the opportunity to practice here. They came, they rendered a great service, they built a medical building on the hospital property and attracted many more specialists and subspecialists. Under the guidance of Mike Mazzarella, administrator, the hospital thrived, the quality of care was, and is, excellent. Hudson Valley’s first ICU was constructed. The first hospital-based birthing center was added. A nursing home was provided.

Now to meet the demands of government intervention and the competition of medical megapractices (the medical complex at the Stop&Shop plaza, the medical complex being built across from Adam’s, etc), the aged buildings at NDH — constructed in 1929 and 1959 — necessitate upgraded facilities with increased access to parking.

Yes, the lawn is needed for parking or the community can raise $3.6M for a parking garage and deal with the complaints from your neighbors on Montgomery St. and the houses in Astor’s old apple orchard who will see, hear and smell the effluent from a parking garage in their back yard. The hospital cannot take $3.6M in health care dollars and build a parking garage without sacrificing other areas of health care.

Common sense and community need dictate that we understand and support the hospital’s mission to serve our healthcare needs. It’s either that or we’ll see you at Vassar and Kingston Hospital.

George Verrilli

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