Members of the Committee on Health, Hospitals, and Human Services, led by Senator Ray Fonseca toured the JFL North facility. Doug Koch, the CEO, welcomed senators to the facility. The temporary facility comprises 55,000 square feet of space with 54 patient beds. Delrice Plaskett, the Chief Nursing Officer, accompanied senators as they toured specific wings of the newly completed facility. Plaskett mentioned that several issues remain as they transition to a new facility, such as timely discharge and borders. There remains an issue with available patient space and collaboration with the Department of Human Services as it pertains to issues with borders.
The completed facility boasts improvements in infrastructure, including, but not limited to, built in alarms in rooms, lifts, improved safety features, self-turning patient beds, and systems that document patient activity. Every room is outfitted with cardiac monitors.
Senator Donna A. Frett Gregory voiced her approval with the facility, calling it “one of St. Croix’s best kept secrets”, stating that St. Croix was very blessed to have it.
According to Darryl Smalls, the Executive Director of JFL North, it is expected to take 6 years to build out the new proposed replacement hospital that would eventually come online. According to Smalls, the lifespan of JFL North would be seven to ten years with maintenance. JFL North is designed to withstand category 5 hurricane force winds up to 185MPH. The demolition of the “old” JFL is expected to take eight to twelve months. Smalls further stated that it would be a strategic demolition, and nothing from the demolition would be reused. Leased land next to the new JFL North facility would facilitate up to 250 parking spaces, and an administration building that will be completed.
Chairman Fonseca thanked the hospital staff, stating that he was very impressed with the work that had been done to complete the temporary facility.
“I’m very impressed. I think the hospital has the latest equipment and I hope the legislature can provide the staff, including registered nurses and other health care providers.” Fonseca did voice some concern however, hoping that the new facility would receive CMS hospital certification.
Executive Director Smalls voiced excitement over the senators’ tour of the new facility.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for information sharing and collaboration between the Legislative branch and the hospitals, which will only benefit the people of the Virgin Islands.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for JFL North on March 7, 2023.
Senators present at today’s tour included Ray Fonseca, Kenneth L. Gittens, Angel L Bolques Jr, Samuel Carrión, Diane T. Capehart, Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Donna A. Frett Gregory, Javan E. James Sr. Marise C. James, and Milton E. Potter.