By Lana Bortolot
When The Floating Hospital opens its new clinic, staffers can expect their Fitbits to get a workout. Occupying three floors, the clinic – 1.5 times larger than the current location – will require a considerable amount of footwork to keep patients flowing through the various areas of care. The new clinic will expand annual patient capacity from 20,000 to 24,000 within four years.
Sreeta Karl-Quintana, director of clinic operations, has been walking the floors of the nearly completed construction site, planning for all the ways patients and staff interact – from the time of arrival to their departure, and all the potential stops in between. Because families often arrive with multiple members requiring multiple services, plotting the way they travel through the clinic efficiently is an important consideration.
“It’s traffic control,” Sreeta says. “It’s a lot bigger, so there’s a lot more going on.” The process will involve training staff on patient transport and communications in between floors and departments. “We’ll have to talk to each other, otherwise we will lose patients.” Patient escort is a vital safety issue when considering people with physical challenges and volatile behaviors.
What will the new clinic look like?
Like the existing clinic, the new space will offer “one-stop shopping” for all its services: medical, dental, behavioral health, health education and a satellite of the The Floating Hospital Pharmacy. On the first floor, reception and waiting areas have been expanded to comfortably accommodate patients, a consideration made more important with the new public-health concerns.
The larger area will increase intake and screening efficiencies, and a kids’ zone creates space for tutoring and other interactions. The new teaching kitchen will be the centerpiece of TFH’s health education – a place where families can learn together how to select and prepare nutritious meals.
Essential integrated behavioral health and medical services will be offered on the second floor with expanded exam and consult rooms, borrowing from models in private practice to ensure TFH patients receive treatment efficiently but also with the integrity and compassion that is a hallmark of our care. The third floor houses an expanded dental clinic and administrative offices.
“Staff is really dedicated to making this a reality and working in Covid times, we’re doing things now that we wouldn’t have done before and we’re very patient,” Sreeta says. “We will work with what we have because our goal is our patients.”
Since 1866, The Floating Hospital is the largest provider of healthcare to homeless families. We provide free and secure transport to and from over 300 shelters and domestic violence safe houses throughout New York City.
The Floating Hospital operates a main clinic in Long Island City. Additionally, we have satellite clinics at shelters, public housing, and assessment centers throughout the city.