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New St. Croix Cardiac Center Expected to Welcome First Patients Early Next Year

July 13, 2007 — Construction is progressing at the V.I. Cardiac Center (VICC) on St. Croix, and hospital officials expect the facility to be completed by the end of the year and serving patients by early 2008.
"We are excited to see this take shape before our very eyes,” said Gregory Calliste, Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center CEO. "It's a marvelous thing for the entire Caribbean."
The project broke ground in May 2006 and is located adjacent to the JFL Hospital. JFL Media Director Gregory L. Davila invited the press to tour the construction site Friday. Accompanying Davila were hospital advocate William J. Prochaska, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Marketing Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, cardiologist and Medical Director Dr. Kendal Griffith and Calliste.
Although construction is "on track," finances are still being sought for other phases of the project, Calliste said. Funds to complete construction are "taken care of," but at least $1 million more dollars is needed for furniture, fixtures and equipment, he said.
At a cost of $24 million, the center will provide state-of-the-art cardiac services and interventions to the residents of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. The hospital already provides cardiovascular care, such as angioplasty, heart catheterization and implanting pacemakers, among other heart treatments.
The emerging structure consists of three levels totaling 25,000 square feet. The lower level, which will be punctuated by an open-air atrium at the entrance, is a venue for community education, with space for conference rooms and a dining area. The area will be fitted for audio-visual equipment usage. The two upper levels will be dedicated to patient care, and will connect to the main hospital building via an enclosed walkway. A helipad on the roof will allow for transporting patients from off island.
The new facility will encompass an entire strategy for cardiovascular care, from diagnostic to intervention, Griffith said.
While the cardiac center rises from the ground, the JFL Hospital still struggles with other financial problems, namely a large power bill. As of June, WAPA reported that the hospital owed $4,055,689 in unpaid electrical bills. (See “Unpaid Bills Leaving WAPA Strapped for Cash, Officials Say.”)
"We are continuing to dialogue with WAPA to straighten out our issues," Calliste said, adding that patient care revenue is "not sufficient to do what we have to do."
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