NYHQ President's Message- November 2009
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E
President & Chief Executive Officer
Last spring, the H1N1 virus took the country by surprise. This fall as we prepare for the seasonal flu, we are ready for the anticipated re-emergence of the H1N1 virus.
The H1N1 virus is a relatively new infection that began to spread widely last spring —eventually reaching pandemic proportions as reported by the World Health Organization. Today, our medical staff has a great deal of experience with this virus—having been at the actual epicenter of the earliest reported U.S. outbreak.
During that outbreak, our emergency room volume increased by nearly 30 percent; we saw nearly 10,000 additional patients. People were understandably concerned about their health, however, a vast majority of the people were not sick enough to require an emergency room.
In anticipation of another patient surge, we are going out to the community proactively with a simple message— the best way to prevent an infection is to protect yourself and your family against acquiring it. Going back to basic rules of infection prevention, such as vaccination and hand washing, will help to curb the spread of the virus.
A lesson learned last spring was that the public needs our continual real-time education on when it is appropriate to come to the hospital for care. We want our community to remain vigilant, manage their concerns and take action and come to the emergency room only when it is necessary. To help educate our community, we hosted a leadership forum for school and elected officials, business and civic leaders and news media. We’ve positioned ourselves with the news media as experts on how to handle the outbreak. Media, such as CBS Nightly News, WABC-TV and WCBS-TV, have featured our hospital’s advice to the community. Several public service announcements that we have prepared will keep the educational message circulating throughout flu season.
Those who are at highest risk for H1N1 complications are pregnant women, newborns and patients who are already ill from other conditions. Another part of our plan is to make sure that we vaccinate all hospitalized patients to reduce risk of H1N1 infection.
We are vaccinating our employees and medical staff. We want to safeguard our workforce, and we know we will need them to remain healthy to provide care in the event of another outbreak. It is unknown how serious the next round of H1N1 may be, but we are prepared for any situation and we want our community to be, too.
On another note, as I was putting this letter together, we learned the bad but not unexpected news that Governor David Paterson has issued a Deficit Reduction Plan for the duration of the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2010. If enacted, the immediate plan will cut many more millions from New York hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers. The GNYHA (Greater New York Hospital Association) is emphasizing that proposed state Medicaid cuts will trigger additional federal cuts because the Medicaid program is a federal-state partnership. Proposed for the next budget cycle are even more drastic cuts – cuts that would be a continuation of the pain health care has endured repeatedly in the state budget over the past years.
In response to the governor’s proposal, statewide budget hearings by the Senate and the Assembly commenced immediately. New York Hospital Queens has contacted our state legislators to make them aware of our opposition to these cuts and we are participating in GNYHA’s efforts to push this back.
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E
We are pleased to welcome a new member to our administrative team as the new chief information officer.
||Philip Myones has been appointed to our hospital’s leadership team as vice president of information services and chief information officer. With 28 years of information technology experience, he comes to us from the Computer Sciences Corporation in Falls Church, Virginia. There, he held several roles, serving as the Ascension Health Account Executive, Health Care and Mid-Market Solution Director for North America, and Application Delivery Director.|
His accomplishments with efficient health care information structure over the years marries well with the goal of our Information Services Department, and that is to implement and integrate the IT programs that will carry us into the future. The future includes a robust electronic medical record system and other virtual infrastructure that are integrated into our systems. It saves time—for our hospital personnel and patients. IT programs come with built-in safety mechanisms, such as order sets and contraindication warnings that help our clinicians do their jobs more effectively. Information technology is a major investment. In the long term, the value in patient safety and patient satisfaction, makes our investment worth the cost. And, we thank Michael Kreitzer, interim CIO, for the past year of his service and expertise.
In other leadership team news, the Healthcare Leaders of New York (HLNY) has lauded John Sciortino, senior vice president and chief operating officer, for his leadership and management excellence. The HLNY 2009 Healthcare Classic was a benefit in support of the Zachary Foundation, which devotes its funds to mitochondrial disease research and other children’s charities. At the event, the Zachary Foundation donated $2,500 to NYHQ’s division of pediatric gastroenterology, in Mr. Sciortino’s honor.
In addition to patient care, our physicians and clinical staff take an active role in teaching and conducting research throughout the year.
Jeffrey Rosen, M.D., chairman of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, was recently appointed associate professor of Clinical Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He maintains an an adjunct appointment as clinical assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at New York University School of Medicine. He plans to devote additional time to research and writing for peer-review journals.
Penelope Chun, M.D., R.D.M.S., director of Emergency Ultrasound, received her appointment as assistant professor of Emergency Medicine in Clinical Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. In addition, she was elected a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
James Satterfield, M.D., attending surgeon and 2008 past president of the Queens County Medical Society, is being honored by two organizations for his dedication to medicine and strong leadership in the community—the United Black Men of Queens County and the Medical Society of the County of Queens.
Our Lang Center for Research and Education coordinates research conducted at our hospital. At any given time, we have more than 125 ongoing research projects. This month, we feature 10 research studies that were recently presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly Research Forum held in Boston, MA.
Our Continuing Medical Education program provides physicians, as well as other members of the health care team, educational activities to expand the knowledge and skills that are needed to provide high quality patient care and meet requirements for state licensing. These programs examine continuing issues influencing health care, sound clinical practice and ways to improve patient safety and reduce patient risk factors. We held three educational programs in October.
Physicians Report on New Approaches to
Caring for Vascular Disease
Our vascular, heart and surgical physicians presented a symposium, “Vascular Disease in Primary Care,” to review the latest advances in screening, diagnosis and procedures for vascular disease. Our clinical experts discussed topics such as aortic aneurysms and peripheral vascular disease and were joined by colleagues from other major medical centers, such as the Cleveland Clinic, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and New York University Medical Center.
Symposium on New Strategies to Reduce Infant Mortality and
Africa and Asia lead in numbers of premature births with North America close behind. Our Pediatrics team developed its 5th NYHQ Neonatal Symposium for tri-state area medical specialists who care for pregnant mothers and premature newborns on ways to reduce potential health issues and increase survival rates of pre-term infants. Symposium topics focused on new nutritional strategies to reduce infant mortality and improving outcomes for babies with hypertension and fungal infections.
Seminar on Preventing and Treating Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in our country. Our NYHQ College and Department of Pediatrics developed a seminar for teachers, parents, children and pediatricians on the physical, psychological, social and nutritional components of childhood obesity. The seminar presented our comprehensive “Fit Kids” option—as a successful approach for fighting childhood obesity.
Fit Kids is a free program that is offered to all school-age patients who are evaluated at our Theresa Lang Children’s Ambulatory Care Center and are determined to have an elevated body mass index. The ultimate goal is to ‘prevent’ rather than ‘cure.’ The program teaches children how to make nutritional and behavioral choices that can last a lifetime.
Major Modernization Update
We remain on track to open the 190,000 square-foot (seven story) west wing by mid-2010. Progress on the project includes the exterior curtain wall, windows, and metal panels that are complete with the exception of the area at the temporary hoist. The exterior curtain wall in the area of the temporary hoist will be completed as soon as two of the buildings elevators are operational. Installation of the new service elevator cabs is tentatively scheduled to begin this month. Startup of the major mechanical equipment and the emergency generators will be completed later in the fall.
The exterior sidewalk bridge on Main Street is expected to be removed by the end of November. All mechanical, electrical and plumbing roughing including IT cabling continues on all floors. The hospital has completed a major coordinated effort with Con Edison to connect electricity to the new West Wing. The main oxygen supply has also been connected to the new building.
Painting on the 4th and 5th floor nursing units has commenced. The installation of drywall is in progress on the 1st and 2nd floors. Drywall framing is in progress in the basement. Installation of acoustic tile ceiling grid is in progress on the 4th and 5th floors. Lighting fixtures are being installed on the 4th and 5th floors. Ceramic tile work for the toilets and showers on the 5th floor will begin this month. Radiation shielding continues on the 2nd floor procedure rooms.
The seamless connection from the West Wing building to the existing North Building on the 2nd floor is now complete. Demolition is completed in this area and the drywall framing is expected to begin shortly. This will become the Interventional Cardiology Recovery Area. The seamless connection on the first floor in the North building to the new West Wing is also complete. This area will become the Ambulatory Surgical Area.
NYHQ Featured at Flushing Chamber Meeting
I had the privilege of being invited to be the guest speaker at the Flushing Chamber of Commerce meeting on October 14th at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Flushing. I provided an update about the hospital to business leaders and members of the media. Joining me was the Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Samuel Lang, M.D. who gave an overview about our Heart and Vascular Center.
H1N1 Education and Resources
As part of the overall preparation planning for public education, New York Hospital Queens created a hotline telephone number [718-670-2121] for members of the community to obtain information about H1N1. The message includes up-to-date information about vaccination. The hospital’s web site [nyhq.org] also provides comprehensive information about H1N1, with a link that ties into the city’s Department of Health Web site.
In addition, the hospital held a seminar on October 1st for community leaders entitled, “An Educational Seminar About H1N1 Novel Virus.” Physicians from the hospital including Stephen Rimar, M.D., chief medical officer; Diane Sixsmith, M.D., chairman of Emergency Medicine; James Rahal, M.D., director of Infectious Disease; Jose M. Villarin, M.D., associate chairman of Pediatrics; as well as a physician from the Centers for Disease Control/New York City Department of Health, and elected officials NYS Assemblymember Rory Lancman and NYC Councilmember John Liu. The event received wide-ranging media coverage including major television and New York daily newspaper publications.
Congressman Crowley Visits NYHQ
New York Hospital Queens was honored to have Congressman Joseph Crowley visit the hospital to see and hear an update about the hospital. Hospital leadership provided a tour for the Congressman that included the Emergency and Pediatric Departments. Congressman Crowley was briefed about the new West Wing project and the services provided by the hospital’s ambulatory sites throughout the borough.