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Huntington Hospital

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police have arrested a man for driving while intoxicated following a motor vehicle crash that critically injured his passenger in Melville April 14.

Alvarado Barrios-Martinez was driving a 1996 Honda Accord north on Route 110 when he hit a 2014 Subaru Outback, which was stopped at the red light at the intersection of Route 110 and Arrowwood Lane. The Subaru was forced into a third vehicle, a 2016 BMW X3, which was also stopped at the red light.

A male passenger from the Honda was transported to Huntington Hospital in critical condition with a head injury. A female passenger was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Huntington Hospital.

Barrios-Martinez, 26, of Huntington Station was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. He was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip.

All vehicles were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that analyzes health policies, has created an interactive map so Americans can compare changes in their premiums and tax credits from the Affordable Care Act to the American Health Care Act. Image from the Kaiser Family Foundation Website

Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, since its inception in 2010, and after much adieu, a bill has finally been introduced to take its place.

The American Health Care Act has been met with opposition from both parties, while elected officials and hospital administrators weighed in on what the changes might mean for North Shore residents.

The most notable changes in the new health care plan compared to the existing one include an elimination of the individual mandate, which required all Americans to purchase health insurance or be subject to a fine — a sticking point for many Republicans on Obamacare; a cut of federal Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood for one year; adjusting tax credits based on age instead of income; and shifting Medicaid expansion set forth by Obamacare to the discretion of states instead of the federal government, among many others.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to deliver health policy analysis to the public, has created an interactive map on its website to illustrate the estimated changes in premiums paid and tax credits for several demographics from the ACA to the AHCA.

“This is bad news for New York. … We cannot support this legislation in its current form.”

—Kevin Dahill

Tax credits, or the amount a taxpayer can offset what is owed in federal income tax, are a component of both the current health care law and the proposed replacement, though their implementation is very different.

According to the map estimates, a 27-year-old living in Suffolk County making $30,000 per year would receive about 50 percent less in tax credits in 2020 if the new bill became law. A 27-year-old making $40,000 per year would see the tax credit slashed by only 14 percent, but a $10,000 raise would net that same 27-year-old an approximate additional 52 percent in tax credits under the AHCA compared to the ACA.

A 40-year-old Suffolk County resident making $30,000 annually would receive 24 percent less in tax credits, while a 40-year-old making $50,000 would see a 128 percent boost in tax credits. Additionally, a 40-year-old making $75,000 annually would receive $3,000 in tax credits — under Obamacare no tax credits would be received.

Similarly, a Suffolk County resident who is aged at least 60 and earns $75,000 per year would receive a $4,000 tax credit under the proposed bill, despite being ineligible for a tax credit under Obamacare. A 60-year-old making $30,000 annually would receive a 2 percent increase in tax credits.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who has said in the past he would like to maintain certain aspects of Obamacare, like allowing people aged 26 or younger to remain on their parents’ health plans and coverage for people with preexisting conditions, weighed in on the Republican plan in an emailed statement through spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena.

DiSiena reiterated Zeldin’s stance on kids remaining on parents plans and coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions, though she added he believes a smooth transition from the ACA to the new plan is the most important thing.

“Obamacare has resulted in higher premiums, higher deductibles, lost doctors and canceled policies, among many other challenges,” she said. “Deductibles are so high, many people now feel like they don’t even have insurance anymore. One-third of the counties in our country only have one option left under the exchange. That’s not choice. That’s a monopoly.”

“Deductibles are so high, many people now feel like they don’t even have insurance anymore. One-third of the counties in our country only have one option left under the exchange.”

—Lee Zeldin

DiSiena also sought to dispel what she called misconceptions being perpetuated about the new bill and what the policy might do to people’s coverage. She said no one will be kicked off Medicaid under the new bill, premiums might rise in the short term but are expected to be 10 percent lower by 2026 than their current levels, and the claim by the Congressional Budget Office that 24 million Americans covered under Obamacare would lose coverage can be attributed to people who were forced to purchase health care opting to go without.

DiSiena added Zeldin is generally supportive of the bill as written but intends to monitor proposed amendments.

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) was far less supportive during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” March 14.

“We have to continue to point out that 24 million people are going to be kicked off, that their premiums are going to go up, that there’s a transfer of cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and raising premiums on senior citizens and others,” he said in the interview. “This is really a life and death thing.”

Suozzi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Kevin Dahill, president and CEO of Suburban Hospital Alliance, an organization that represents the advocacy interests of Long Island health systems including St. Catherine of Siena in Smithtown and St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, issued a statement regarding the House bill March 13.

“The House bill neither truly repeals nor meaningfully replaces the Affordable Care Act,” Dahill said. “This is bad news for New York. … We cannot support this legislation in its current form.”

Chief Medical Officer at Huntington Hospital Michael Grosso said in an email his facility will continue to hold itself to the highest standards regardless of the federal health care law.

“That said, we must bear in mind as an informed citizenry that when effective, preventive health care is delayed or denied, society pays the price several times over,” Grosso said.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill today, March 23. House Republicans introduced several amendments to the original legislation earlier this week.

By Victoria Espinoza

For Huntington residents, going to the emergency room just got a little less painful.

Huntington Hospital unveiled its new $53 million emergency department Dec. 13, which is capable of handling 64,000 patient visits per year. The department starts treating patients Jan. 3.

The new ED is more than double the size of the old. In total it’s 28,000 square feet, with 47 treatment spots and 12 private waiting stations where patients receive results. The facility was designed with a mission to significantly improve patient care.

“Efficiency is the idea behind this whole department,” Michael Recupero, director of patient care services in the ED said at the opening.

An entirely new system was put in place for dealing with patients from the moment they enter the building, to ensure their stay is as short and effective as possible.

Michael Recupero shows how the lighting system will works. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.
Michael Recupero shows how the lighting system will works. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.

Under the new method, patients are immediately seen by a nurse to determine if they need instant treatment in the main ED or treatment in one of the four intake rooms. The intake rooms are what Recupero calls “the game changers.”

“Traditionally you’d come in and be seen by a triage nurse, then you’d sit and wait in the waiting room for an undisclosed period of time, and then be brought to a room where you would wait some more,” he said. “Finally you’re seen by a doctor. But with this model, you’re seen by a nurse and then immediately placed in one of the intake rooms where a doctor will see you.”

The intake rooms feature a brand new lighting system that helps staff learn what step of care each patient in a room is at. The system, created by the University of Colorado, runs similar to a traffic light, but with four colors. If the light above an intake room is red, the patient is in the room and needs their vitals checked. If the red light is flashing that means vital check is complete. When the light is yellow, a provider is in the room and when flashing yellow, the provider completed their exam and the patient is ready to move. A green light indicates the room needs cleaning and flashing green means the room is clean and ready for the next patient. When flashing blue, the patient needs an EKG test done.

“It’s really amazing,” Recupero said. “With visual queues, we don’t even have to have a conversation. [A doctor] can see what’s happening in each room without anybody telling [him or her].”

On the wall of every intake room is a whip-off board with a checklist of certain tests a doctor may order.

Within the first five minutes you’re getting orders done,” Recupero said.

One of the private waiting results stations. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.
One of the private waiting results stations. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.

He explained the ED is spilt into half of an emergency department and half of an urgent care center. Patients with less serious illnesses are taken to “super track” spaces where they quickly get antibiotics, or an X-ray, and are then sent to one of the 12 results waiting areas, which are private cubicles with lounging chairs and floor to ceiling windows.

The main part of the department will be divided into an east wing and a west wing, with a nurse’s assistant, doctor and three nurses on each side. Another doctor is designated to the trauma area, which deals exclusively with patients in extreme conditions.

Recupero said other standout features in the new ED are a pediatric wing that can treat up to nine children at once, a radiology section exclusively for the ED — meaning no other departments are allowed to take time away from ED patients to use the machine — a dedicated Ob/Gyn area and a behavioral health area.

Michael J. Dowling, the CEO of NorthWell Health, of which the hospital is a member, said the hospital plans to apply for level three trauma designation in 2017.

“It’s a new beginning here,” he said at the opening. “This is just a wonderful example of what you can do when a lot of people put their efforts together and have the communities and patients interests forefront.”

Leonardo Huertas, chairman of emergency services for the hospital, said the new treatment style at Huntington Hospital will be a win for patients.

“The emergency department leadership has envisioned a way to best care and manage our patients,” Huertas said. “The new ED was designed with an eye for innovation. We wanted to change the traditional sequential process which is riddled with bottlenecks and delays.”

Camilo Rivera was arrested for slashing a man and causing serious injury. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Police Department 2nd Precinct officers were called to Fairgrounds Avenue in Huntington Station Sept. 20 after a 911 caller reported a male had been slashed at approximately 11:45 a.m.

The man, Juan Rosa Corrado, 38, was transported to Huntington Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

Following an investigation, Second Squad detectives arrested Camilo Rivera, 40, and charged him with first-degree assault.

Rivera, of Huntington Station, was held overnight at the 2nd Precinct and was scheduled to be arraigned at 1st District Court in Central Islip Sept. 21. Attorney information was not immediately available.

A shooting in Huntington Station Aug. 27 left one man dead and another injured.

Antoine Butts-Miller, 18, was standing outside a residence on 5th Ave. with a large group of people when police said he and another man were shot at approximately 3:30 a.m.

Butts-Miller, 18, of Huntington Station, was taken by Huntington Community First Aid Squad to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other victim, a 31-year-old man, was also taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on the shooting to contact the Homicide Squad at 631-852-6394 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

The Nightingale phone helps connect patients with their nurses immediately, no matter where the nurse is in the hospital. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

Huntington Hospital is breaking new ground in patient care with the Nightingale phone, a communication system that helps put patients in connection with nurses quicker than ever before.

The hospital has been piloting the new phone in the oncology wing of the hospital since 2015, and has seen a significant improvement in patient care and a decrease in wait time from when a patient calls for a nurse and when the nurse arrives to give treatment.

Patients are raving about the new invention.

Mary Ellen Cantone, a patient at the hospital, said the response to her call was immediate.

“I hit the button and someone was talking to me instantly,” she said in a statement. She said once at 2 a.m. she called for her nurse for ice chips, and the nurse came in right away with them.

“It has really improved nursing care and nursing work.” — Shanell Blanchard

“It’s a wonderful thing to use, it saves them time and they just know everything,” Cantone said. “They’re the best nurses here, and God picks the nurses for this floor, the oncology floor.”

The phone, created by Marie Roggenkamp, nurse manager at Huntington Hospital, has a red nurse button on the back that, when pressed directly, calls the device the patient’s nurse is wearing so that the patient can talk to his or her nurse immediately without the typical wait time.

Stephen Smith, manager of site communications at the hospital, worked with Roggenkamp to create the phone, which is an improvement from the call bell system hospitals use now.

“The call bell system requires a nurse to be close enough to hear the call bell or see the light go off outside the patient’s room, and may take longer to get a response,” he said in a statement. “This allows the patient to connect with the nurse no matter where they are on the unit.”

Roggenkamp said she saw success in patient satisfaction scores in the oncology wing after the Nightingale was implemented back in July 2015. She said call bell responses could take anywhere from seven to eight minutes, but with the Nightingale, a nurse could be in the room with medication within two minutes.

One of the most important features of the Nightingale phone is the call forward feature.

A concern with having nurses wear a device that can immediately connect them with a patient is the opportunity for increased error if the nurse is already performing a procedure when a call comes from a new patient.

“In the event a nurse is hanging chemotherapy [drugs from an IV], she can have a call [from the Nightingale] forwarded to a nursing assistant,” Roggenkamp said. If the assistant is also busy, the call will then go to the nurse manager, and then the call desk.

This pilot program is also cost effective; to add a speed-dial button to the hospital phones only costs an extra 50 cents.

The nurse manager said Huntington Hospital hopes to have the Nightingale phone installed in every unit by the end of 2016.

Nurses at the hospital like the new system as much as management.

“It has really improved nursing care and nursing work,” nurse Shanell Blanchard said. “I know what they need before going in there. Before, a call bell could be going off in another room, but it might take me five minutes to answer it. I need to finish with the patient I am with, wash my hands, ask what they need and then go get it.”

Blanchard said patients have also enjoyed the fact they have more control in their care.

“It’s a great feeling of independence,” she said. “To know if I press that button I can get to my nurse directly.”

File photo.

A 20-year-old man was walking across Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station on Wednesday night when he was hit by a car. He was transported to Huntington Hospital with serious head injuries.

The victim was walking north across Jericho Turnpike at the intersection of Oakwood Road when he was struck by a 2007 Lexus that was driving east on Jericho Turnpike last night at approximately 9 p.m.

The 20-year-old was transported to the hospital by Huntington Community First Aid Squad and was later transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The name of the pedestrian is being withheld pending notification of the family.

The driver of the Lexus, Gerard Marrone, 42, of Huntington Station, was transported to Huntington Hospital with minor injuries.

The vehicle was impounded for safety checks and Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating the crash. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

 

A 40-year-old woman from Huntington Station was shot on Wednesday, July 6 just before 11:30 p.m.

Lanise Felder was walking on Craven Avenue towards 10th Avenue in Huntington Station when police said she thought she heard a firecracker explode and then felt tingling in her lower leg and realized she had been shot about four inches above her ankle.

Felder, 40, was transported by a family member to Huntington Hospital, where she contacted police and received treatment for her injury.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the incident, or about a black SUV, possibly a Nissan Pathfinder, that was seen leaving the scene of the shooting, to contact the Second Squad at 631-854-8252 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

 

Artist Jo-Ann Corretti and Huntington Hospital Board of Directors Chairman William Frazier unveil the painting. Photo by Alex Petroski

People don’t often get to celebrate a 100th birthday, but on May 5 the Huntington Hospital community came together to do just that.

The hospital cared for its first patient in May 1916. To commemorate the centenary, staffers unveiled a commissioned painting of the original, smaller facility and a display of photos and artifacts that spanned the 100-year history.

Hospital equipment from the 1930s. Photo by Alex Petroski
Hospital equipment from the 1930s. Photo by Alex Petroski

“This is a big day,” Huntington Hospital Board of Directors Chairman William Frazier said in the hospital’s main lobby prior to the unveiling. “You think back 100 years and how modest this institution was — now think where it is today.”

Artist Jo-Ann Corretti was commissioned by the hospital to create a likeness of the building. She used acrylic paint to do the job, which took her about three months.

“They gave me all of these old pictures, anything they could find for me to work from,” Corretti said after the painting was revealed. “I had to lay them all out and I had to take a little from here and a little from there.”

Hospital Executive Director Gerard Brogan spoke about the institution’s mission and how it has remained constant despite many changes to the building and surrounding area.

“I think it’s important just to think about what was the genesis of the hospital,” Brogan said. “It was a 70-year-old woman who was about 5-foot-1 [and] decided that this community needed to have the very best in medical care; care that rivaled any where else in the New York City area or anywhere else on Long Island. That was the spirit that started Huntington Hospital. It was not just to have a hospital, but to have a facility that served the community and provided them the best care that you could find anywhere.”

Hospital equipment from the 1930s. Photo by Alex Petroski
Hospital equipment from the 1930s. Photo by Alex Petroski

Brogan also detailed many of the awards and accolades the hospital has received in recent years, which he credited to the dedicated and caring staff.

“You do not need to leave your area to go into New York City to get outstanding, cutting-edge care,” Brogan said. “That is the commitment of this institution and all of the people that work in it. Everybody here is titled ‘caregiver,’ because everybody impacts the patient experience.”

The Huntington Historical Society helped to amass artifacts, like obstetrician/gynecologist equipment from the 1930s and a bill from 1960 with substantially lower prices than today, to be displayed around the hospital’s lobby.

The painting will be auctioned off in November at the hospital’s annual benefit gala. Prints are also for sale.

A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

By Victoria Espinoza

Huntington Hospital has been under the leadership of Dr. Gerard Brogan for the past year, and since he assumed his post, the hospital has implemented new surgical procedures, protocols and equipment to ensure patients are offered the most advanced and effective treatment they can get.

Brogan, the executive director, first joined the team at Huntington in January 2015 but has been a resident of the town for the past 20 years.

Dr. Gerard Brogan, has been exectuive director of Huntington Hospital for about 15 months. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian
Dr. Gerard Brogan, has been exectuive director of Huntington Hospital for about 15 months. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

“My philosophy is I want to work at a hospital where I would go as a patient or would send my family to,” Brogan said in a phone interview. “If anything happens to me in Huntington, I am coming to this ER.”

Huntington recently became the first hospital on Long Island to offer the O-arm, a surgical imaging system that generates a three-dimensional computer model of the spine. This over $1 million equipment helps doctors have a more precise view of what they are operating on during surgeries, like screwing nails into the spine.

During the operation, the neurosurgeon refers to the monitors, which provide real-time verification of the location of surgical tools and implants with submillimeter accuracy.

The first surgery using the O-arm was successfully completed at the end of March, and according to Brogan, six more successful surgeries have followed.

The executive director said this equipment ensures “the ultimate in surgical precision,” and that the use of this machinery is “an indication how cutting-edge our hospital is.”

“If you want to be a leader for excellence, you need this capability,” he said.

Dr. Robert Kerr, chief of neurosurgery at Huntington Hospital, was the first to use the O-arm.

“When you have to place a stabilizing screw into the spine and it passes within millimeters of the spinal cord, nerve root or vital arteries, there is no substitute for the kind of accuracy the O-arm provides to a neurosurgeon,” Kerr said in a statement.

Changes at the hospital are coming in even bigger packages.

A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian
A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

The hospital is currently in the middle of creating an entirely new $43 million emergency department, which Brogan said will cut down waiting times, help diagnose patients faster and overall improve the quality of a patient’s stay while in the emergency department.

He said some of the protocol changes have already been implemented in the current emergency department, cutting down patients’ wait time by an average of 48 minutes, due to methods like including physicians when a patient is first being triaged and beginning blood work sooner, but added that he is excited to see further changes implemented.

“I think for the patients, the experience is going to be just phenomenal,” Brogan said.

Awards have followed the success of Huntington, with the hospital recently named a national 2016 Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The hospital is one of 11 named to this list, in the Northwell Health system. The nursing staff at the hospital also received Magnet Recognition for excellence in nursing for the past 12 years, a national recognition that less than eight percent of hospitals worldwide have earned.

“If we are going to do something [at Huntington Hospital],” Brogan said, “we do it as well, if not better, than anywhere else in the country.”

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