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Northwell Health

Dr. David Rivadeneira. Photo from Northwell Health

David Rivadeneira, MD, MBA, has been appointed director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington. The announcement was made in press release on June 4. For the last seven years, Dr. Rivadeneira has led surgical services and colorectal surgery at Huntington Hospital.

“We are thrilled Dr. Rivadeneira will be leading the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington,” said Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief and director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute and senior vice president of cancer services at Northwell Health. 

“He is a gifted surgeon, experienced leader and skilled educator, who also has strong community ties. Cancer experts throughout the health system look forward to collaborating with him as he builds new cancer programs in the Huntington area,” he said.

“The goal of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington is to provide a center of excellence to offer phenomenal cancer care and to be a leader in cancer services in Suffolk County,” said Dr. Rivadeneira, a resident of Lloyd Harbor. 

“As Suffolk’s population grows each year there is a tremendous need to provide top-quality cancer care to residents locally. It’s much less stressful for patients to get care in their community than travel to Nassau Country or Manhattan. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored our patients’ desire to avoid leaving the area for cancer care.”

Dr. Rivadeneira said the Cancer Institute at Huntington, located at 270 Pulaski Road in Greenlawn, treats patients with range of diseases such as breast, thoracic, colorectal, kidney, prostate and other cancers.

“To create an environment in which patients receive exceptional care, a key component is to have the best doctors with the appropriate expertise in organ disease-specific cancers, as well as specially-trained nurse navigators dedicated to guiding patients through their journey,” he said. 

“We are recruiting top physicians in oncology, radiation oncology, surgery and professionals with genetic expertise. Also, we are adding certified staff members to the program who will offer nutrition support and integrative approaches such as meditation and other holistic modalities.”

Future plans include building a comprehensive ambulatory cancer center at Huntington Hospital offering patients a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care treatment. Clinical leaders in all oncology modalities will be within the campus of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington, making it easier for patients and their care teams to communicate and meet when deciding treatment plans. With a close connection to the National Cancer Institute-designated Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, patients will benefit from leading cancer research.

The new front entrance of the emergency room. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

With the decision of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to lift the elective surgeries ban in Suffolk on May 16, area hospitals will be able to resume an important aspect of their day-to-day operations. 

Hospital officials have praised the news because elective and emergency procedures are seen as a vital source of revenue for these facilities. 

James O’Connor, president of St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson and chief administrative officer of St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown, said it’s good news that both facilities can resume these important procedures. 

“It’s a public health issue, you have these patients that were holding off on these urgent and vital surgeries,” he said. “Those needs didn’t go away because of COVID-19.”

O’Connor said between them the two hospitals perform around 750-800 surgeries a month. Orthopedic, bariatric, spine and general surgeries are the most common. The hospitals have already started to bring back staff and furloughed workers have been contacted and will report back to work. 

Elective/urgent surgeries have been put on hold for nearly two months, in an effort to ensure there were sufficient hospital beds and medical staff available to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The St. Charles president said that he expects the hospitals to be back “at full volume” in performing surgeries by sometime next month.

“After week one, we will be ramping up the percentage of surgeries that will be done,” he said. “The first week will be at 25 percent and then we’ll keep going forward.”

Stony Brook University Hospital has begun bringing back personnel to the Ambulatory Surgery Center, main operating room and other areas. 

“The hospital is looking forward to rescheduling cases to provide the care necessary for its patients and addressing their surgical needs as soon as possible,” said Carol Gomes, chief executive officer at Stony Brook University Hospital. 

On average, approximately 100-120 cases daily are performed at the hospital. Those include general surgery, orthopedics, neurosurgery, surgical oncology, cardiac surgery, trauma, kidney transplants, urologic procedures and gynecologic surgery. 

The return of these services will help hospitals who are in the midst of financial hardship from the ongoing coronavirus crisis.  

According to a report from the American Hospital Association, U.S. hospitals and health systems have lost around $50 billion per month on average during the COVID-19 crisis. From March 1 to June 30, the association estimates a total of $202.6 billion in losses. 

“Hospitals and health systems face catastrophic financial challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the AHA said in the report. 

The association also predicted more financial hardship as millions of people could be left unemployed and lose health insurance. It could lead to increased uncompensated care at hospitals. 

O’Connor said without those services health care systems would cease to function. 

At Huntington Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, officials have started to implement a daily symptom screening policy for all staff and developed a non-COVID care pathway for all elective/urgent procedures — from parking and presurgical testing to discharge. For the last eight weeks the hospital has been performing surgery on emergency cases. 

“I am confident we are prepared to safely take the next step with elective surgeries,” said Dr. David Buchin, director of Bariatric Surgery at Huntington Hospital.

Stony Brook University Hospital will also implement a number of safeguards in preparation for elective surgery patients. In addition to expanding on the use of telehealth, it will test all patients prior to surgery and have them self-isolate prior to operations. 

For St. Charles and St. Catherine hospitals, O’Connor said all patients will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test 72 hours before a planned procedure. 

Tents like the one above are being used during Stony Brook University Hospital’s drive-through testing for the coronavirus. Photo by Kyle Barr

Hospitals along the North Shore of Western Suffolk are changing the way they operate to keep the number of coronavirus cases down.

Stony Brook University Hospital

Stony Brook University is asking that all patients who have cold and flu-like symptoms to go directly to its emergency room department area and not get out of their cars, according to its website. Between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., patients driving to the emergency department entrance will be greeted and screened while in their vehicles.

Stony Brook University’s Ambulatory Care Pavilion COVID-19 Triage area. Photo from SBUH

Those with cold and flu-like symptoms and mild respiratory symptoms will be directed by staff members to go to the hospital’s new triage area located in the nearby Ambulatory Care Pavilion. The triage area will be staffed by emergency medicine physicians and nurses.

According to Stony Brook Medicine, “The triage service is to separate patients with cold and flu-like symptoms from others seeking emergent care, in order to provide all patients with a streamlined environment for care and treatment.”

Dr. Eric Morley, clinical associate professor and clinical director of the SBU Renaissance School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said in an email the new procedure has been successful.

“The process has gone very well, and we are seeing an increasing number of patients in the triage and treatment area located in the Ambulatory Care Pavilion,” he said. “Our staff have adapted very well to the new process. The level of teamwork and dedication of our staff is clearly the driving force behind this success.”

He said doctors have seen patients with both cold and flu-like symptoms, and also those who fit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for COVID-19 testing.

On March 18, a drive-through testing site for the coronavirus opened in the commuter P Lot on the southern end of the SBU campus. According to the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), those wishing to be tested must call 888-364-3065 to schedule an appointment. No referral from a doctor is needed but operators will ask callers questions such as age, symptoms, if they have any underlying health problems and if they have been out of the country. The information will be given to the New York State Department of Health, which will call back with an appointment confirmation if testing is deemed necessary.

SBUH has revised its visitors policy. In response to New York State declaring a state of the emergency due to COVID-19, the hospital will no longer allow visitation until further notice.

“While we understand the important role that family members and visitors play in a patient’s healing process, this is a necessary step we need to take at this time for our adult units,” a statement from SBUH officials said, adding that exceptions will be made in pediatrics, labor and delivery, maternity and neonatal intensive care, also end of life on a case-by-case basis.

Catholic Health Services of LI: St. Charles and St. Catherine hospitals

Catholic Health Services of Long Island, until further notice, has suspended visits to all its hospitals as well as skilled nursing facilities, according to its website. Hospital officials said exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, which will entail hospital and nursing home leadership making a decision in conjunction with its infection prevention department and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening for the coronavirus before allowing visitation. CHS may make exceptions for end of life and newborn delivery.

On the CHS website, Dr. Patrick O’Shaughnessy, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, explained the screening on the system’s website.

“At all CHS hospitals emergency departments, in our skilled nursing facilities and throughout our regional nursing service, we are actively screening, asking patients about recent travel and looking for signs and symptoms of the virus,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Symptoms include fever and respiratory issues. Also, we are taking these precautionary steps at our owned physician practices.”

CHS has canceled all elective surgeries from March 23 through April 24, according to its website.

Northwell Health: Mather and Huntington hospitals

Northwell Health Labs announced March 11 in a press release that it began semi-automated testing for COVID-19 through its Lake Success facility.

“Since we began manual testing Sunday evening, we processed about 133 tests,” said Dr. Dwayne Breining, executive director, in the press release. “Moving to this semi-automated system will enable us to increase our testing capacity immediately to about 160 a day, and then to several hundred a day later this week.”

Dr. John D’Angelo, senior vice president and executive director of Northwell Health’s emergency medicine service line, said in an email that changes have been in place for a while in its health care system.

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson is sending tests to Northwell’s Lake Success facility. File photo from Mather Hospital

“We instituted changes from normal practice long ago, starting with 100 percent screening of all patients on arrival with positive screens being masked immediately and escorted directly to a private room for further investigation,” D’Angelo said.

He added that a decision was made soon after to mask every employee after emergency department changes.

“I believe we were the first in the region to institute such a mask mandate,” he said. “Lastly, as traditional screening (travel to CDC level 2/3 countries or known close contact) became less relevant, we decided to mask everyone — all patients, all visitors and all staff — while we continue to aggressively cohort patients with potential COVID-like symptoms.”

Emergency department volumes in the Northwell system have remained at or below average, according to hospital officials.

“The public is listening and staying home,” said Dr. Leonardo Huertas, chair of emergency medicine at Huntington Hospital.

D’Angelo said a surge plan is in place for all Northwell system emergency departments which can be used if the overall general volumes increase “or if there is a surge of COVID-suspected patients.”

He added that if a plan was needed “an exterior ‘split-flow’ model” would be put in place. This would enable those who may possibly have COVID-19 but aren’t that sick to be treated in an alternative care site adjacent to the emergency room, while “those arriving with COVID symptoms but are too sick for the alternative care site will be brought directly into a predetermined, cohort isolation area within the emergency department. Every site has such plans.”

Northwell has also canceled all elective surgeries. These surgeries, endoscopies and other invasive procedures in the outpatient setting will continue when doctors determine that they are clinically necessary.

A Mather Hospital official also said that the junior and adult volunteer programs have been suspended, and the hospital is working with Northwell on childcare alternatives for staff members.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has halted all public events until April due to the Coronavirus. File photo

With six cases of coronavirus Covid-19 in New York state confirmed as at March 4, state, local institutions are preparing for the potential spread of the virus.

New York lawmakers earlier this week passed a $40 million spending bill. The funds will allow the Department of Health to hire staff, purchase equipment and gather additional resources to address a virus for which a travel ban no longer seems sufficient to ensure containment.

A 50-year old Westchester man tested positive for the virus, even though he didn’t travel to areas of contamination, which include China, South Korea and Italy, and didn’t have known contact with anyone who has traveled to those areas. Through the so-called community spread of the virus, which has a mortality rate of more than 3 percent, can infect a wider range of people.

Northwell Health Labs said earlier this week it expects to begin testing for Covid-19 within a week. The health facility, which announced the future testing at a news conference March 2 with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said manual testing could involve 75 to 100 tests each day. After it automates the tests, the facility could process hundreds and even thousands of tests on a daily basis. Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson is part of Northwell Health group.

Meanwhile, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University have made recommendations to staff who might travel to areas of infection.

BNL is following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the State Department regarding health notices and travel advisories. The U.S. State Department has a do-not-travel restriction on trips to China and Iran, along with specific areas of Italy and South Korea, while it also recommends reconsidering travel to Italy, South Korea and Mongolia.

Also, BNL is asking visiting scientists if they traveled to China or live with someone who visited China within 14 days. If the answer to either question is “yes,” these individuals have to complete a 14-day period away from China without symptoms before returning to the lab.

BNL canceled the International Forum on Detectors for Photon Science conference, which was scheduled for March 29 through April 1 at Danfords Hotel in Port Jefferson. The conference was expected to have 40 participants.

CSHL has canceled or postponed all upcoming conferences and courses bringing participants to campus through April 5th. The laboratory will reevaluate future offerings on a rolling basis.

Also, CSHL is cleaning common areas including bathrooms, counters and dining areas more frequently, is providing more hand sanitation stations, is enhancing the readiness of its Center for Health & Wellness and is providing secure transfer protocols for at-risk people with potential symptoms of the virus.

SBU discouraged school-related and personal travel to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. The school also created a mandatory preapproval requirement for all publicly funded university-sponsored travel plans to China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. SBU has not canceled the Florence University of the Arts program, since the university is continuing classes as usual and the Tuscany region doesn’t have any reported cases of the virus.

On a national level, the Federal Reserve, in a move similar to decisions from other central banks, cut interest rates by half a percentage point, the biggest cut since the financial crisis of 2008. The cut was designed to stave off an economic slowdown caused by business disruptions from the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the Federal Reserve said in a statement.

Updated March 5 to reflect most current CSHL procedures regarding conferences and courses.

Photo from Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital has achieved a prestigious four-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in its annual 2020 hospital rankings, its comprehensive quality measurement report released on Jan. 30.

CMS hospital rankings of more than 4,000 Medicare-certified facilities nationwide take into account over 50 performance measures that analyze health care outcomes such as readmission rates, patient experience, safety and quality of care. CMS’ hospital rankings are considered among the best hospital report cards to help inform where to receive medical care.

Huntington Hospital’s CMS rating follows its recognition as New York State’s highest-ranked community hospital by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-20 Best Hospital list.

“From redesigning our Center for Mothers & Babies to include all private rooms for a better patient experience to consistently setting and meeting high benchmarks for health care quality, we at Huntington Hospital take our patients’ needs to heart as we thoughtfully provide them with world-class care,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. 

“We are always looking at ways to not only provide the necessary health care that our Suffolk County residents require, but to go above and beyond to give them the best medical care available,” he added.

Huntington Hospital nurses have received the highest nursing honor – Magnet designation – a Long Island record four times in a row.  The hospital’s orthopedics program has also been consistently been ranked by the Joint Commission with the gold seal of approval for its hip and knee replacements and was among the top 1 percent nationally in orthopedics, according to U.S. News. 

Huntington Hospital has also been designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology and a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation.

For more information about Huntington Hospital, go to www.huntington.northwell.edu or call 631-351-2000.

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Photo courtesy of Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital has achieved a prestigious four-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in its annual 2020 hospital rankings, its comprehensive quality measurement report released on Jan. 30.

CMS hospital rankings of more than 4,000 Medicare-certified facilities nationwide take into account over 50 performance measures that analyze health care outcomes such as readmission rates, patient experience, safety and quality of care. CMS’ hospital rankings are considered among the best hospital report cards to help inform where to receive medical care.

Huntington Hospital’s CMS rating follows its recognition as New York State’s highest-ranked community hospital by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019-20 Best Hospital list.

“From redesigning our Center for Mothers & Babies to include all private rooms for a better patient experience to consistently setting and meeting high benchmarks for health care quality, we at Huntington Hospital take our patients’ needs to heart as we thoughtfully provide them with world-class care,” said Dr. Nick Fitterman, executive director of Huntington Hospital. 

“We are always looking at ways to not only provide the necessary health care that our Suffolk County residents require, but to go above and beyond to give them the best medical care available,” he added.

Huntington Hospital nurses have received the highest nursing honor – Magnet designation – a Long Island record four times in a row.  The hospital’s orthopedics program has also been consistently been ranked by the Joint Commission with the gold seal of approval for its hip and knee replacements and was among the top 1 percent nationally in orthopedics, according to U.S. News. 

Huntington Hospital has also been designated as a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology and a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation.

For more information about Huntington Hospital, go to www.huntington.northwell.edu or call 631-351-2000.

 

Huntington Hospital’s four midwives, from left, Laura Jabbour, Jessica Hilsenroth, Michele Mayer and Lindsay Price. Photo from Northwell Health

Huntington Hospital’s four midwives are now seeing patients at Northwell Health Physician Partners ob/gyn offices in Commack and Smithtown. 

Midwives Michele Mayer, Jessica Hilsenroth, Laura Jabbour and Lindsay Price have office hours at 777 Larkfield Road in Commack and 222 East Middle Country Road, Suite 114 in Smithtown. In addition, the midwives see patients at Huntington Hospital’s Women’s Center at 270 Park Ave. in Huntington.

“In response to patient requests, we have begun seeing women at these convenient offices to better serve the residents of Suffolk County,” said Mayer, supervisor of Huntington Hospital’s midwife practice. 

Midwives provide care to women from their first gynecologic visit through menopause with comprehensive prenatal care and natural childbirth; well woman exams; treatment of common gynecologic issues; and contraception consultation, initiation and surveillance.

To schedule an appointment with a Huntington Hospital midwife, please call 631-351-2415. 

For more information about the Northwell Health Physician Partners Obstetrics and Gynecology call 631-775-3290 (Smithtown office) or 631-470-8940 (Commack office).

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Stephen Bello

Bello appointed Executive Director

Northwell Health has appointed Stephen Bello as the new executive director of its Eastern region, which includes Glen Cove Hospital, Plainview Hospital, Syosset Hospital, South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, Huntington Hospital, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson and Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead along with ambulatory care centers. 

“Northwell Health’s Eastern region has seen a great deal of growth in recent years and I look forward to bringing more new services and programs to Eastern Nassau County and Suffolk County,” said Bello. 

Photo from Northwell Health

GoHealth Urgent Care, together with its partner Northwell Health, recently opened a new Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care center to serve the communities of Huntington and Centerport. Located at 241 East Main Street in Huntington, next to the Huntington Crescent Club, the new center offers convenient services such as onsite laboratory and X-rays, electronic medical record integration with Northwell Health, with day/walk-in visits and short wait times, extended hours and are open on weekends and holidays.

“We’re excited that the Huntington and Centerport communities will have another Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent care center right in their neighborhood,” said Sarah Arora, New York market president. “Our centers provide unmatched customer experience and top-quality urgent care, allowing patients to stay within the Northwell Health network they already know and trust.”

“Northwell Health’s partnership with GoHealth Urgent Care will continue to provide patients with a more personalized and innovative urgent care experience,” said Adam Boll, executive director of Joint Venture Operations at Northwell Health. Call 631-812-2873 for more information.

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John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson. File photo

Mather Hospital’s Emergency Department has received a Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians. 

“Mather Hospital has taken the appropriate steps to meet the needs of seniors in our community,” said Emergency Department Medical Director Dr. Adam Wos. “This holistic approach includes fall prevention, medication reconciliation, and discussions about goals of care. Our plan is to ensure that our doctors and nurses have the latest knowledge and equipment to care for the fastest growing population in our nation — people over age 65.”

The voluntary geriatric accreditation provides specific criteria and goals for emergency clinicians and administrators. The accreditation recommends more than two dozen best practices for geriatric care. Northwell Health EDs were awarded a level 3 accreditation, which requires many of these best practices and geriatric education for emergency medicine staff, as well as screenings and programs focused on older adults. Those include: geriatric-friendly equipment availability and policies regarding routine assessments for delirium, dementia or fall risk. 

The accreditation is for three years. Mather was one of 17 Northwell Health emergency departments across Long Island, New York City and Westchester to receive the accreditation. 

“This was an initiative that we wanted to get behind to help the department ensure the best patient outcomes,” said Mather ED nurse manager Julie Tegay, who spearheaded the accreditation project for the hospital.