PEMBERTON TWP. – The Deborah Heart and Lung Center required $ 100 million for an expansion project due to be completed in 2022.
And now, according to officials, the hospital has the money.
Deborah announced last month that she had received a $ 88.2 million soft loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the last funding required for the expansion, hospital officials said. The hospital had already raised around $ 16 million for the effort.
The project will convert Deborah’s stationary double occupancy rooms into private suites and add a new stationary tower with 36 private rooms. Upon completion, Deborah will increase its capacity from 89 to 95 beds and have all of the private rooms, according to hospital officials.
“Although the project was in the works before COVID-19, the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of transforming it into private spaces for patient care and visitor safety,” said a press release from Deborah.
The expansion will also add value to Deborah’s educational and research facilities by adding new technology in the electrophysiology labs and cardiac catheterization labs.
“We are very excited about the loan approval,” said Joseph Chirichella, CEO of Deborah. “We had this project on the drawing board before the pandemic, and despite the enormous difficulties and burdens in the healthcare system in the past year, our team pushed ahead with our future planning.”
When they announced the $ 88.2 million loan, federal officials mentioned that “nearly 800,000 rural residents fall within the Deborah basin.”
“Access to quality medical care is critical to the future of our rural New Jersey communities,” said Brandon Pfeilmeier, USDA acting state director for New Jersey.
Deborah aims to lay the foundation for the project by summer and complete it by the end of 2022. The project is called Deborah 100 because its completion coincides with the 100th anniversary of the hospital.
“This is an exciting project and marks another milestone in the 100 year history of Deborah,” said Chirichella.
Jarrad Daniel Saffren has been a local news and sports reporter in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 2015. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JarradSaff. Please support local journalism with a subscription to the Burlington County Times.