New eye center coming to Wilton

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By PAUL POST
ppost@saratogian.com
Twitter.com/paulvpost

WILTON — Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Work is expected to begin in July on a new $2.3 million eye surgery center on North Road, adjacent to the Glens Falls Hospital Medical Center at Wilton.

The project, which recently obtained state Health Department approval, is a collaboration between the hospital and local ophthalmologists including Dr. Amjad Hammad of Saratoga Springs, who specializes in retinal surgery.

The one-story, 6,000-square foot facility, called North Country Eye Center, is expected to create 12 to 15 new jobs, including skilled nursing and technical staff positions.

“We saw that there was a need,” Hammad said. “Eye surgeries have developed with technology and become much more efficient. They can be done much better in an ambulatory care-type center than a hospital, which is also more cost-effective. With the current health care crisis and reform, money and cost is a big deal.”

Hammad is joined in the venture by Glens Falls ophthalmologists Drs. David Westfall, Mark Hite and Steven Solomon. Hite and Solomon are partners in a practice, and Westfall has his own practice.

At present, all four doctors do all of their surgeries at Glens Falls Hospital. Hammad said that Glens Falls, Albany Medical Center and Albany Memorial are the only hospitals in the area where retinal eye surgery is done.

The center will be constructed on property owned by Glens Falls Hospital, which will have minority ownership in the new facility as well.

“This facility will develop into a center for excellence in eye surgery with special emphasis on the latest technology and techniques in cataract and retinal surgery,” said Hammad, the center’s chief executive officer.

He said that 70 percent of eye surgeries in the U.S. are done in free standing surgical centers.

“New York state has lagged behind other states in this field and we are excited to work with Glens Falls Hospital in developing and providing our patients with higher quality and more cost- effective choices,” Hammad said.

Glens Falls Hospital President and CEO David Kruczlnicki said, “We are confident this will be a meaningful and enduring partnership that will improve vision care throughout the region. It will advance patient connectivity within our health system and increase the hospital’s operating room capacity for other surgical procedures.”

Glens Falls Hospital, with 3,000 employees, is the largest health care provider between Albany and Montreal.

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