Y officials considering outpatient center
Updated 6:31 pm, Friday, March 18, 2011
The Westport Weston Family Y is exploring the possibility of partnering with an area hospital to provide outpatient medical services at its new center, which is scheduled to open in 2014 at Camp Mahackeno.
The hospital could offer services such as physical and occupational therapy and bariatric care by leasing space within the Mahackeno center, Westport Family Y Chief Executive Officer Rob Reeves said Tuesday.
"Many Ys across the country are working with local hospitals to provide services to the community as a one-stop shop where people can get services," he said. "It would be a collaborative relationship."
Reeves' talked about the plan a month after the Y Downtown, a group of town residents opposed to the Mahackeno project, decided to end its legal battle against the new center. Following the Planning and Zoning Commission's approval of the Mahackeno Y in 2008, Y Downtown filed a series of appeals against the P&Z and the Family Y, the latest of which was turned down last January in the state Superior Court in Stamford.
Under the special permit for the Mahackeno center granted by the P&Z Commission, the Y would need the approval of the commission, the Planning and Zoning Department director, or the town's Administrative Review Committee to lease space for the outpatient center.
Reeves first mentioned the potential venture while speaking recently to the Westport Sunrise Rotary club at the downtown barbecue restaurant, Bobby Q's. He stressed, however, that the Y has not finalized any plans for the outpatient facility and the concept is at the exploratory stage.
Acknowledging two of the key concerns raised by opponents of the Mahackeno Y, Reeves also said the outpatient center would have a "minimal" impact on parking and traffic in the area.
"We're not talking about bringing in half a hospital to the building," he said. "We need the space for the Y."
Such a partnership already exists at many Ys across the country. The Ohio State University Medical Center, for example, runs an outpatient rehab center attached to the Gahanna YMCA in Gahanna, Ohio.
"Our members recognize the medical center as a good collaborator and a convenient location," said Gahanna Y Executive Director Chris Angellatta. "On our end, people know that we have medical experts in the building, and they're really good about helping anybody that has questions."
Reeves did not disclose when Y officials would make a final decision on whether to include an outpatient center at Mahackeno. Y officials estimate the Mahackeno center will cost about $40 million to build, most of which will raised from an upcoming capital campaign.