Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center (Suffern)

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Coordinates: 41°6′42″N 74°8′7″W / 41.11167°N 74.13528°W / 41.11167; -74.13528[1] Good Samaritan Community Hospital is a non-profit, 286-bed hospital located in Suffern, New York, providing services to the residents of Rockland County and southern Orange County in New York, and northern Bergen County in New Jersey. The hospital also serves these communities as a Level II Trauma Center. Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center is a member of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, which also includes St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, New York, and Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, New York. The Bon Secours Charity Health System has subsequently become part of the WMCHealth Network. The hospital currently has a staff of more than 600 doctors and 2000 employees. Its academic affiliate is the New York Medical College School of Medicine.


In November 2002, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center celebrated its Centennial and marked a century of continued growth and service to the residents the hospital serves. In 1902, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center opened with seven beds, three doctors, seven nurses and four Sisters of Charity, more than enough to serve Suffern’s population of 1,800 and small business district consisting of: four hotels, three churches, one school, a lumberyard, an opera house and an assortment of small stores.[2]

A private citizen, said to be Ida Barry Ryan, donated a building at Orange Avenue and East Park Place and $25,000 to the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth to create a hospital. In its first year, the hospital treated 162 patients and was soon forced to expand. During the next ten years, the hospital added an operating room, a pharmacy and X-ray departments. By 1917, the hospital had 35 beds, nine physicians and three specialists. Maternity services had been available at the hospital from the beginning, but the Spring Valley branch of the Ladies Auxiliary funded the furnishings and equipment for a nursery in 1926 and a maternity ward in 1927.

By 1929, a population increase created an urgent need to build a larger hospital. A committee raised $93,000 and, in 1932, bought 25 acres (100,000 m2) on Lafayette Avenue, the current site of the hospital, for $22,500. The new 72-bed hospital opened on December 14, 1938, and was the first hospital in Rockland County to be fully approved by both the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. In 1939, the hospital won an award as the best-equipped Catholic hospital in the United States and Canada.[2]

When the Tappan Zee Bridge opened in 1955, it brought a large number of new residents to the region and in 1959, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center responded to the need for medical care with the Cardinal Spellman Pavilion. Home Care was founded in 1962 and today has grown into one of the largest home care programs in New York.[2] In 1970, the new Sister Miriam Thomas Pavilion, a five-story, $7 million health facility, was opened, with two 35-bed Medical/surgical floors, a maternal and newborn care center, a laboratory, radiology, a nuclear medicine and cobalt center and a recovery room. The Monsignor Patrick J. Frawley Memorial Psychiatric Unit also opened.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Critical Care Center was completed in 1980, and the Frank and Fannie Weiss Renal Dialysis Center was opened in 1982. An $85 million building and renovation project included the construction of a cardiac catheterization laboratory and expansion of the radiology, laboratory and rehab services departments as well as the addition of state-of-the-art equipment.[2] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the hospital added: a 28-bed chemical and alcohol dependency outpatient program, a children’s diagnostic center, single-room maternity units and a neonatal intermediate care nursery (NICU-level), and brachytherapy in radiation oncology services.

In 1996, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and its sponsors, the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, the Sisters of Mercy and the Franciscan Health System to form the Tri-State Health System.[2] The Emergency Department earned a Level II trauma services designation in 1997. In January 2000, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and the Sisters of Charity entered into a co-sponsorship with the Sisters of Bon Secours, creating Bon Secours Charity Health System.[3] In the fall, the hospital unveiled the Union State Bank Family Birthing Center[4] and added a full-time maternity consultant.

Cardiac Services in Rockland County[edit]

Despite the high level of service provided by Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center during its first hundred years, Rockland County still lacked cardiac services for the aging community. The hospital was approved to begin performing angioplasties in 2003, but it was clear that the hospital's service area needed more. In 2005, the first major step in remedying this situation was taken when the New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council recommended granting approval of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center’s Certificate of Need (CON) application for an adult cardiac surgery program.[5] Also in 2005, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center became the first hospital in the country to earn Disease Specific Care Certification for the management of acute myocardial infarction. The Stroke Center at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center is also recognized as a Primary Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health. Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center was the first hospital in New York State to earn both "The Joint Commission" Primary Stroke Center certification, along with state designation as a Primary Stroke Center.[6]

In 2007, the hard work of the previous two years was realized when the hospital performed its first open heart surgery, which marked the complete opening of The Active International Cardiovascular Institute at Good Samaritan, the only comprehensive cardiac surgery program in New York State west of the Hudson River between the New Jersey border and Albany, more than 100 miles (160 km) to the north.[7] Only one month previously, the hospital was once again recognized with the Gold Seal of Approval for both the Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) and Management of Stroke from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).[6]

Relationship with the Orthodox Community[edit]

Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center's location near the center of Rockland County's Orthodox Jewish community has presented some challenges over the hospital's history. This history came to a head in 2006 when the village of Suffern was sued by the federal government for religious discrimination after it denied Bikur Cholim the right to run a home offering lodging and meals to Orthodox Jews visiting patients at the hospital on the Sabbath and holy days.[8] The Shabbos House had been housed inside the hospital itself from 1998 to 2004 when it had to move due to an increased need for space within the hospital. Earlier in 2006, the village of Suffern moved to close the existing Shabbos House due to zoning concerns, leading to allegations that the village sought to remove the large Jewish population.[9] A decision in the case was rendered in 2007.


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