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Stony Brook Medicine

“Eat well, live well” was the tagline for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce annual Health & Wellness Fest, which was held April 22 at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson. Attendees were instructed on how to do both by vendors set up at tables in the school’s gymnasium, featuring representatives from Stony Brook Medicine, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, St. Charles Hospital and many others.

“It’s been growing every year, and in the last two years, we were so fortunate as to have St. Charles Hospital provide us with the healthy snacks, and that’s really helped us boost the attendance,” Chamber President Jim Karras said in an interview during the event.

Chamber director of operations Barbara Ransome was also pleased with the number of vendors who turned out to offer advice to interested community members.

“We had no extra tables this year,” she said. “We had over 80 tables this year…I think there were like 45 individual vendors…All of our local nonprofits, we don’t charge them, so we feel like this is giving back to our community.”

Karras said he is proud of what the chamber has built with the annual event.

“There’s a lot of health and wellness events in the area, but I think we’re the only one that has the three major hospitals sponsoring them,” he said. “That makes a big difference.”

Ransome thanked the district for their hospitality.

“We want to put a shout out to our school,” she said. “Fred Koelbel, who is the superintendent of buildings here for the Port Jefferson School District, and for them to allow us to use this great facility, we have elevated this event.”

Other vendors included Jefferson’s Ferry lifecare community, L.I. Botanical Wellness, Save-A-Pet, Paws of War, Port Jefferson Hearing and many more.

Kenneth Kaushansky speaks at the opening ceremony of the establishment. Photo by Kevin Redding

On April 18, Stony Brook Medicine officially extended its reach to residents in western Suffolk County, with a ribbon cutting for a new, state-of-the-art medical center that provides 30 specialty services under one roof.

Advanced Specialty Care in Commack, which opened to the public last month, serves as a “one-stop shopping” destination for the health care needs of patients no matter where they are located. The center itself sits near the Sunken Meadow Parkway, the Northern State Parkway and the Long Island Expressway.

The variety of specialties includes internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, urology, neurosurgery and radiology. A complete imaging center is on site to provide X-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds, bone densitometry, and CT and MRI scans. Stony Brook doctors, including primary and specialty care internists, gynecologists, orthopedists and surgeons of all kinds, make up the staff.

“But this facility is more than just a multi-specialty clinic,” Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences and dean of Stony Brook University School of Medicine said, addressing a crowd of Stony Brook Medicine and university staff, elected officials and community members.

According to Kaushansky, one of the leaders behind the 120,000-square-foot center, patients who come to the center have easy access to “the power of Stony Brook medicine.”

“As part of Suffolk County’s only academic medical center,” he said “Advanced Specialty Care connects consumers to Stony Brook Medicine’s cutting-edge research, clinical trials and advanced technology. This is what truly distinguishes it from other physician practices in the area. You not only have access to Stony Brook primary care physicians and specialists, but also to the best ideas in medicine.”

He also said the Commack facility will soon be the new home of Stony Brook’s World Trade Center Health Program, a service that offers comprehensive, integrative health care for World Trade Center responders dealing with 9/11-related illnesses.

Samuel Stanley, M.D., Stony Brook University president, said the center signifies another Stony Brook step toward creating an aspiring, integrated health care network, focused on providing quality and value, for all of Long Island and beyond.

“Every day, we take ambitious ideas from the minds of our expert researchers who are working in medical laboratories, driven by their boundless curiosity, and bring those ideas to life at the patient’s bedside to continuously redefine health care in the 21st century,” Stanley said. “Through our leadership role in health care reform, we are driving forward with new initiatives to improve health, reduce costs and eliminate the unnecessary care for our patients.”

Among the elected officials in attendance were Suffolk County Legislators Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) and Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga); Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson); and New York State Assemblymen Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Saint James) and Andy Raia (R-East Northport.)

Stanley said they were vital to what Stony Brook Medicine does, by helping with the budget and supporting Medicare and Medicaid for the state, among other important contributions.

Fitzpatrick and Raia presented an official New York State assembly citation to the center and its faculty.

“I just wanted to say thank you to Stony Brook for taking medicine to the next level by opening this beautiful facility here in Commack,” Fitzpatrick said. “Stony Brook is growing and is offering new services and treatment and wellness to people beyond just the Three Village area. Stony Brook represents excellence.”

Margaret McGovern, M.D., professor and chair of the department of pediatrics at the university’s School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, said this is truly the “power of Stony Brook medicine, closer to you.”

“We’re extending the reach of Stony Brook Medicine,” she said, “offering medical expertise in a new and growing
market.”

She also commended Kaushansky for making the center possible.

“Ambitious ideas require exceptional leadership and imaginative solutions, and this project required both,” McGovern said. “I want to thank Ken Kaushansky, especially, for his vision and confidence in moving this project forward. By working together across traditional boundaries, we are achieving a new vision for the future of Stony Brook Medicine.”

The front entrance to the new ambulatory care center. Photo from SBU

By L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D.

Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak

As a native Long Islander, I know that we Long Islanders like to have choices and flexibility in many aspects of our lives, and we’re not shy about saying so. Having choices and flexibility in the quality of medical care we receive is certainly no exception.

That is why, on March 1, Stony Brook Medicine opened a new, multispecialty ambulatory care center, Advanced Specialy Care, at 500 Commack Road in Commack. The new center has more than 30 specialties designed to meet the majority of families’ medical needs, all under one roof.

Not only does this provide convenience for you and your family, it provides peace of mind because it means you can expect to receive the high level of expertise and compassionate care Stony Brook Medicine primary care doctors and specialists are known to provide.

And if surgery or other specialty care or access to clinical trials is needed, you can go to Stony Brook University Hospital without any disruption in the continuity of your care. As part of the only academic medical center in Suffolk County, Advanced Specialty Care offers it all.

Stony Brook doctors located in the Commack facility include primary and specialty care internists and pediatricians, gynecologists and obstetricians, dermatologists, orthopedists and urologists, surgeons and neurosurgeons. We also have a complete imaging center on site to provide X-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds, bone densitometry, and CT and MRI scans.

Another indication of how committed we are to serving our patients in western Suffolk and beyond is the sheer size of our state-of-the-art facility. The Advanced Specialty Care center occupies nearly 120,000 square feet of space, with room to expand as additional services are added. The location is just minutes away from the Sunken Meadow Parkway (Sagtikos), the Northern State Parkway and the Long Island Expressway.

We want this to be as close to a one-stop shopping experience as possible for you and your family. Whether it’s for a regular checkup or something more, I hope you will take advantage of having the power of Stony Brook Medicine close by, under one roof, at Advanced Specialty Care in Commack.

Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak is CEO at Stony Brook University Hospital and vice president for health systems at Stony Brook Medicine.

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner speaks at the Organ Donor Enrollment Day kickoff event at Stony Brook University Hospital Oct. 6. Photo from Bonner’s office

By Rebecca Anzel

Registered organ donors are hard to come by in New York state compared to the rest of the United States, and for one elected official in Brookhaven, that’s not going to cut it.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) did not hesitate when her friend Tom D’Antonio said he needed a kidney. She decided right then, at the Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival in Huntington Harbor in September 2015, that she would share her spare.

She underwent comprehensive medical testing at the end of the next month to determine if she would be a viable donor — a blood test, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, CT scan, MRI, psychological evaluation and cancer screening, to name a few.

“It’s the ultimate physical you’re ever going to have, and by the blood test alone several people were disqualified,” Bonner said. “For once in my life, it turned out that I was No. 1. And it worked out really, really well.”

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner and her friend Tom D’Antonio after their surgeries to transplant her kidney into his body in April. Photo from Jane Bonner
Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner and her friend Tom D’Antonio after their surgeries to transplant her kidney into his body in April. Photo from Jane Bonner

The surgery was April 26, a Tuesday, at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Bonnor was home that Friday and missed only eight days of work. She said she just had her six-month checkup and she is in good health.

“Jane didn’t just save my life, she saved my family’s life,” D’Antonio said. “Donating an organ doesn’t just affect the person getting the organ — although certainly it affects them the most — it affects everyone’s life.”

Bonner said she takes every opportunity to share her story to bring awareness about the importance of being an organ donor.

“I want to be a living example to show that it can be done because it’s life changing for the recipient and only a little inconvenient for the donor,” she said.

There is a large need for organs in New York. More than 9,700 people are on the organ waiting list, and someone dies every 18 hours waiting for one, according to LiveOnNY, a federally designated organ procurement organization.

New York ranks last among the 50 states in percent of residents registered as organ donors, despite surveys showing 92 percent of New Yorkers support organ donation. Only 27 percent of New Yorkers are enrolled in the state registry, versus the average of 50 percent registered across the rest of the country.

Stony Brook Medicine and Stony Brook University hosted the Organ Donor Enrollment Day event Oct. 6, including Bonner, in a statewide effort to boost the number of registered organ donors.

“Our residents need to be reminded about the importance of organ donation,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said in a statement. “Along with stressing how one organ and tissue donor can save multiple lives, understanding and debunking the social and religious myths about organ donation are also critical to turning the tides in New York as we currently rank last in registered organ donors in the nation.”

Dawn Francisquini, transplant senior specialist for the hospital, said volunteers enrolled 571 people.

“New York has a very large population, so it’s going to take a lot to get us up to where the other states are,” she said. “But we’re making progress.”

There are two ways to become an organ donor. One is to be a living donor, like Bonner. A potential donor does not have to know someone in need of an organ to donate a kidney, lobe of liver, lung or part of a lung, part of the pancreas or part of an intestine.

“I’ve been able to accomplish really amazing things, but this is a step above that. Satisfying is not even the word to describe it.”

— Jane Bonner

“Living donation is so important because not only are you giving an organ to someone, so you’ve saved that life, but you’ve also made room on the list,” Francisquini said. “So you’ve saved two lives by donating one organ.”

The most common way is by registering when filling out a driver’s license registration or renewal form to be considered as a candidate upon death. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, though, only about three in 1,000 deceased people are suitable for organ donations.

Doctors determine whether organs like kidneys, livers, bones, skin and intestines are medically viable for a waiting recipient and they typically go to patients in the same state as the donor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation Aug. 18 allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to register as organ donors. If they die before turning 18, parents or guardians are able to reverse the decision.

“By authorizing 16 and 17-year-olds to make the selfless decision to become an organ donor, we take another significant step to grow the state’s Donate Life registry and create opportunities to save lives,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Francisquini said she thinks this new law will make a big difference. Previously, because those under-18 were not allowed to express their wishes when filling out a driver’s license form, many would not register as donors until years later when renewing their license.

Since her surgery, Bonner has shared her story in speeches, panel discussions and on social media using the hashtag #ShareTheSpare.

“I really feel like this is much better than anything I could accomplish in my professional career,” she said. “Through the support of the people that keep electing me, I’ve been able to accomplish really amazing things, but this is a step above that. Satisfying is not even the word to describe it.”

Stony Brook University Hospital

By Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D.

In a unique type of collaboration, Stony Brook Medicine and Mount Sinai Health System have entered into a formal affiliation agreement that combines the strengths of both organizations to create positive change in biomedicine, the delivery of care to our communities and the education of the next generation of health care professionals.

The affiliation of Stony Brook Medicine and Mount Sinai Health System is based on our common values, as well as a reverence for translating basic biomedical science into new cures for human disease and a commitment to providing health care professionals of the future the most advanced approaches to both didactic and experiential learning.

We also share the commitment to using robust clinical evidence to determine the very best medical practices that improve the quality of care delivered to our patients. Both institutions seek to apply our understanding of human health and disease to the entire population we serve, through our leadership positions in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program and other avenues, so that all will benefit from our efforts.

Often, when people hear the word “affiliation,” it is thought that there is a merger or acquisition; however, this is not the case — Mount Sinai is not buying Stony Brook or vice versa. It is an agreement that allows collaborative efforts to flourish and heighten academic, research and clinical care synergies.

This means boundless opportunities on a number of fronts. For example, the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will develop joint graduate and medical educational programs, maximizing the strengths of existing master’s and doctoral programs at each institution. Students will have the opportunity to take classes on both campuses, allowing them to learn new techniques and expand their exposure.

In addition, the combining of two research powerhouses has immense promise to influence both institution’s abilities to make major breakthroughs by moving discoveries made at the very basic level and bringing them to the bedside faster — all to improve diagnostics and treatments. We believe that the joint efforts will yield greater discoveries than would arise from either institution alone. Mount Sinai and Stony Brook have already taken steps in this direction by investing a combined total of $500,000 to introduce new research programs, with the intent of receiving collaborative external funding.

The areas of focus include biomedical engineering and computer science; drug discovery and medicinal chemistry sciences; neuroscience, neurology and psychiatry; basic biology and novel therapeutics; and public health and health systems. The alliance will capitalize on Mount Sinai’s strengths in biomedical and clinical research and health policy and outcomes and Stony Brook’s expertise not only in the School of Medicine but also in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences and in departments such as mathematics, high-performance computing, imaging and the physical and chemical sciences.

It is a momentous time for academic medicine, health care, our respective students, faculty and staff and for the communities we serve across the Island and into Manhattan. The partnership allows both institutions to look at new ways to be innovative and bring the benefits of our shared transformation to our patients.

Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky is senior vice president of Health Sciences and dean of Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

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Focusing on clinical and population improvements for our communities

By Joseph Lamantia

Whether or not you’ve already heard of the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program, one thing is for certain: it’s about to change health care in our state.

In April 2014, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York had finalized terms with the federal government for a groundbreaking waiver enabling the state to reinvest $6.2 billion in federal savings generated by Medicaid Redesign Team reforms. Known as DSRIP, the program promotes community-level collaborations, with a focus on improving health care for patients covered by Medicaid and those who are uninsured.

The main goal of the program is to reduce avoidable emergency room visits and avoidable hospital admissions among Medicaid and uninsured populations by 25 percent over a five-year period. The plan is to accomplish this through enhanced collaboration among providers, improved electronic and direct communications, and ready access to primary care and behavioral health services.

For example, offering after-hours appointments can help patients who work full-time; translation services can assist those for whom English is a second language; and transportation to appointments can help patients who don’t have access to a vehicle or public transportation.

The DSRIP initiative for Suffolk County and its network of providers is called the Suffolk Care Collaborative.

The Office of Population Health at Stony Brook Medicine is administering the SCC and is responsible for coordinating more than 500 countywide organizations, including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long-term home health care providers, behavioral health professionals, community-based organizations, certified home health agencies, physician practices and many other integral health care delivery system partners.

Some of the 11 focus areas of the SCC are diabetes care, pediatric asthma home-based self-management, cardiovascular care, behavioral health access and substance abuse prevention programs. Central to all programs is a coordination-of-care effort using care mangers embedded in the community to support health care providers and patients to achieve individual health goals. Connecting with patients at the point of care, identifying needs and providing appropriate support in the community will help prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and support a healthier population.

Suffolk County has approximately 150,000 uninsured residents and 240,000 Medicaid enrollees who can benefit from the program’s initiatives. And, because improvements made will affect the overall health care delivery system, they have the potential to benefit everyone — enhancing the patient experience and outcomes. When providers collaborate on patient care, information can be shared, test duplication can be avoided and preventive measures can be put in place to help all patients stay healthier.

Visit www.suffolkcare.org to learn more about the Suffolk Care Collaborative.

Joseph Lamantia is the chief of operations for population health at Stony Brook Medicine.

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