CLIFTON SPRINGS — The future of Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic was uncertain before plans were announced in 2013 for a partnership with Rochester Regional Health.
If there were any doubts after the affiliation became official in 2015, they are gone after the hospital’s new “medical village” opened recently. It is the first phase of a $32 million expansion and renovation project.
“People said ‘Oh no, the hospital’s going to close,” Dr. Dustin Riccio, president of Rochester Regional’s eastern region (which includes Clifton Springs Hospital and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital), said of the mood at the time. “As you can see, RRH is invested in this site, and this is tangible proof and progress. We are investing $32 million in this campus. This should tell people that these guys aren’t going away.”
The project got a jump start in 2017 from Marjorie Morris and G.W. Lisk Co., which donated a combined $3 million. Morris, who died last year at the age of 95, was the wife of the late I. A. “Drew” Morris, the longtime owner of G.W. Lisk.
Over the years, the Morris family and Lisk provided unparalleled support to Clifton Springs Hospital and the community it serves. In fact, as the second phase of the hospital project begins, Lisk and the estate of Marjorie Morris will match donations from local donors — up to $1.5 million — through the end of this year.
Officials said the $3 million donation kicked off the boldest concerted fundraising effort in the hospital’s history as part of Rochester Regional’s “Because Care Matters” campaign. The outpatient medical village encompasses more than 50,000 square feet, and officials said it expands programs focused on community wellness including cardiac rehabilitation, women’s health, physical therapy, dental, and speech therapy, among other programs.
“The medical village is not a new concept in health care, but it’s new for this community. Basically, it’s a number of different points of care in one site focusing around primary care,” Riccio said. “We are bringing in services that typically you had to go to Rochester General or Strong for in the past.”
Riccio said the women’s health department, spearheaded by Dr. Ahmad Awada, will offer obstetrics and gynecology services not offered at Clifton in quite some time.
“We won’t be delivering babies here, but the big thing from a medical village standpoint in phase one is bringing women’s health services here for the first time in 12 years,” Riccio said.
Work has begun on phase two, which will include modernizing operating rooms, procedure rooms and a patient access center that Riccio calls a “centerpoint for the registration process.” That phase is expected to be complete next year, and Riccio believes it will attract specialized physicians.
“We want to work with vascular surgeons, as well as expand surgical services and replace outdated equipment,” he said. “This will help recruit new doctors to the area and retain doctors.”
A recent ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the medical village was attended by local politicians and community members.
"At a time when our industry is facing many challenges, Clifton Springs has continued to improve and the expansion project has been tangible evidence of that improvement and turnaround," Riccio said.