New York Governor Kathy Hochul has started the $150m expansion and modernisation of the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Emergency Department in the US.

The project will create a Level One trauma centre and two critical care units with 22 beds each, as well as an advanced emergency department.

Governor Hochul said: “For too long, underserved communities like the ones Jamaica Hospital tends to were neglected, and the State failed to deliver the resources and support they need.

“As Governor, my administration is committed to righting the wrongs of the past, prioritising health equity and working to strengthen health care systems across the state.

“Thanks to a $150m state investment, the new state-of-the-art facility will help dramatically improve emergency care in this community and provide Jamaica residents the top-rate care they deserve.”

Jamaica Hospital’s current emergency department was originally designed to serve 60,000 patients a year but now serves around 120,000.

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The expansion project will allow a new facility to be built on the adjacent property to address this increase in demand.

Jamaica Hospital president and CEO Bruce Flanz said: “We thank Governor Hochul for supporting and investing in New York Hospitals.

“Her commitment to building a strong and equitable healthcare system will undoubtedly help our organisation and others to provide the highest quality care to the communities we serve.”

Funding for the project was provided through the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program IV, which supports projects in New York that aim to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and ensure financial sustainability.

The New York State Department of Health plans to award an additional $950m through future phases of Statewide IV, with $1bn allocated for Statewide V in the budget for fiscal 2024.

Among the programme’s other beneficiaries is Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, which has received $50m for expanding its emergency department.