After delays, Carthage Area Hospital’s new campus moves forward

Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:00 PM EST
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TOWN OF CHAMPION, New York (WWNY) - Carthage Area Hospital’s new campus is back on the front burner. In 2018, the facility announced it would build new near Carthage High School.

Then Covid happened and the hospital’s Critical Access Hospital designation from the federal government was in jeopardy. Last week, CAH learned it would keep that designation, which provides $7 to $9 million annually.

We spoke with Carthage Area Hospital CEO Rich Duvall about where the new hospital project stands.

“Our ER volumes have almost doubled. Our in-patient unit is full and is at almost 100 percent capacity almost every day,” he said.

The hospital wants to build bigger and better along State Route 26 in the town of Champion. The road is almost built. Water and sewer lines are ready.

But 3 things brought the project to a crawl: Covid; new environmental concerns about wetlands, and whether or not the hospital would keep its Critical Access Hospital designation. Now that it does, it’s millions in federal funding every year.

“I think as we are emerging from Covid and the language has changed to solidify the future of the Critical Access Hospital for Carthage we can definitely move forward on the replacement campus,” said Duvall.

But the construction costs have skyrocketed.

“With the Covid increases, it was $100 to $120 million. There were significant increases. We’re starting to see those prices come down,” he said.

Duvall believes the project could cost $90 million dollars - up a few million from a few years ago.

“The Covid pandemic proved the necessity for rural facilities to be in communities to offer care. So whatever the expense is, as long as we keep it realistic and reasonable for our community, that helps us deliver the best care to our patients,” he said.

Duvall says to pay for the project, the hospital will rely on Critical Access Hospital funding; there is some grant money and the hospital may have to finance some of it as well. Duvall says to look for the project to get done in the next 3 years.