St. Barnabas Hospital dedicates entryway

St. Barnabas Hospital opened its new lobby on Third Avenue and E. 183rd Street on Thursday, November 19. St. Barnabas board chairman Victor Wright, Councilman Joel Rivera and St. Barnabas president Dr. Scott Cooper presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony (l-r). Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Going to the hospital for medical care or to see a relative can be stressful but St. Barnabas Hospital wants to make your visit a more pleasant experience.

St. Barnabas dedicated a new lobby at its main entrance at Third Avenue and E. 183rd Street on Thursday, November 19. The P.S. 59 children’s choir sang and Councilman Joel Rivera assisted at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Since 2003, due to the expansion of the hospital’s emergency room, its main entrance has been without a lobby. Although the emergency room expansion was essential, the hospital felt less inviting, a St. Barnabas administrator said.

“This is important to the community because now we have a true front door with proper waiting and concierge services,” Leonard Walsh, chief operating officer at St. Barnabas explained. “This is more respectful for our patients and visitors.”

The new lobby was completed on the heels of the hospital’s new ambulatory surgery wing, which opened in August.

Administrators, physicians, staff, community leaders and members of the hospital’s board of trustees attended the ribbon ceremony.

“This is a great day,” Rivera said. “The years without a lobby were sad. When people come into the hospital, they wanted a warm place, and now the entrance looks magnificent.”

Dr. Scott Cooper, president and chief executive officer of St. Barnabas, indicated that some had questioned whether it made sense to spend money on a lobby, as it is not directly related to medical care. Cooper believes that the lobby was needed to make people feel at home when coming to the hospital.

“I think it enhances the [patient and visitor] experience,” Cooper said. “Anything that the hospital can do to relieve the anxiety of being in the hospital for treatment is worthwhile.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony coincided with the Great American Smokeout, held throughout the United States on November 19. Dr. Richard Stumacher distributed literature about how to quit smoking.

“Today is also the Great American Smokeout and we have a smoking secession program in English and Spanish to make sure that people can get the help they need to quit,” Stumacher said.

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