Westmed Medical Group plans to expand in Westchester
The fast-growing private medical group Westmed, which already dominates Westchester's health care scene with 250 doctors on staff and another 928 employees, is hoping to open a major 85,000-square-foot facility in Harrison, Newsday has learned.
Company officials said they are in negotiations to rent a property that it can renovate and open in 2015 as Westmed's fifth outpatient, full-service medical facility with internists, primary care doctors and specialists who will have access to on-site blood labs and radiology centers that offer X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds -- services that have traditionally been provided by hospitals.
Westmed chief executive and co-founder Simeon Schwartz said he was not ready to disclose the location because the lease is not yet signed but expected to have an announcement by March or April.
"We need space for more doctors," Schwartz said.
Town Supervisor Ron Belmont would neither confirm nor deny the buzz in local real estate circles that is pointing to his municipality, which encompasses West Harrison, Harrison and Purchase. But, he added cheerfully, "It would be wonderful if it's in Harrison."
Westmed's expansion is part of a growing trend for doctors to join medical groups that give them marketing cachet while taking over the business-side headaches, such as billing and running an office, according to Laurence Gottlieb, Westchester County's economic development director.
While the doctors in the group maintain hospital affiliations, they can see patients at one of seven Westmed sites around the county, including four that offer full-service medical testing in White Plains, New Rochelle, Yonkers and Rye. The doctors are also available at smaller sites: One in Scarsdale and two in Purchase.
The company, founded in 1996, is expanding by "vacuuming up a lot of independent medical practices," Gottlieb noted. "I don't know if there are any independent doctors still out there."
By the time the newest facility opens in 2015, Westmed hopes to have 300 physicians under its umbrella, Schwartz said.
During a recent interview with Newsday, Schwartz said his company's strategy is to offer patients an alternative to hospital care.
In scouting for its newest location in Harrison, Westmed is shopping in a town with an aggressive business-friendly campaign to redevelop run-down office complexes along the I-287 corridor. Once known as the Platinum Mile, it is already booming with three major projects that are each in the 200,000-square-foot range.
With zoning variances in hand, Minnesota-based Life Time Fitness is turning the old Gannett Suburban Newspapers building into a resort-style fitness center while Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is converting the former Verizon headquarters into a new outpost. Also in the works is the renovation of a former Nokia site into state-of-the-art laboratories by the biotech research company Histogenics.