The economic crisis has forced hospitals and health care facilities in Queens and throughout the city to stretch dollars further than ever before. On a federal level, there has been a lot of talk of health care relief, but only a modest portion of the funds for New York State from the health care aspects of the federal stimulus package reached the intended target—hospitals and health care providers. It seems that plans for health care reform are beginning to crystallize but remain in flux as partisan politics stymie progress.
These days, it feels like one hand of government understands what we need to build and protect access to health care, and that the other is ready to take it away before that support can even be realized. Over the past two weeks, we have spent a great deal of time with city and state officials. We know they are focused on how to provide health care with needed support, while achieving a delicate balance with other priorities such as education, employment stimulus and tax relief.
Through the initiative of Senator Toby Stavisky and Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, we hosted a forum for the Queens Delegation prior to their return for special sessions in Albany. We discussed how the steady stream of deep budget cuts over the past several years has placed high quality health care in Queens at risk. [See NYHQ Hosts Health Care Briefing for Queens Delegation, below].
Then, on September 25 Governor David Paterson held a press conference from our hospital to announce that Queens health care facilities will receive an infusion of $30 million from a total of $436 million to be disbursed state wide as part of the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law of New York State (HEAL NY) program.
For the announcement, our auditorium was filled with elected officials, representatives from the other neighboring health care institutions, dozens of members of the press and our own employees. We heard Governor Paterson, State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, M.D. and members of the State Senate and Assembly announce that New York Hospital Queens will receive $4 million toward the much needed renovation and expansion of our emergency room which is now seeing more than 120,000 patients a year in a space designed to accommodate less than 50,000 [See The Pursuit of Grant Funding, below].
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall also spoke at the press conference and discussed the gap in access to care that exists in New York City, she demonstrated this with a statistic: Manhattan is a borough of 1.5 million people and there are 6.1 beds per 1,000 people. In Queens we have 2.3 million residents and only 1.6 beds per 1,000.
During the press conference, I was proud to hear speakers praise our hospital and our staff, and we are grateful for the grant. These monies will help us, but only represent about one-third of the total cost of our emergency room expansion. It cannot go unnoticed that as gracious as the governor was with his praise of our hospital, he clearly signaled more budget cuts to come. He vows to close the $2.1 billion gap in the current fiscal budget.
Health care is a big-ticket item in the state budget. However, patient care is not something that can be bargained with. High quality patient care requires funds to maintain facilities, technology and high quality work force. Unfortunately, three recent hospital closings in Queens are a clear example of what happens when health care funding is compromised.
Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E
It’s an honor for us when other organizations recognize our physicians, nurses, employees for their expertise. This month, three of our people will be celebrated for their contributions to patient care and the health of our borough.
At the 15th Annual Queens Leaders Award Reception for the New York Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation later this month, Jeffrey Rosen, M.D., chairman of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, will receive an award for his leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases for the people of Queens. I will have the pleasure as serving as the Reception Chair. The event will be held October 22 at the Center for Automotive Education and Training in Whitestone.
The Wholeness of Life Award from the HealthCare Chaplaincy is given annually to a hospital employee who in his/her treatment of others demonstrates respect for human beings as whole persons, promoting health in body, mind and spirit. This year’s honoree is Mimi Lim, R.N., M.P.A., C.I.C., NEA-BC, clinical director of Patient Care Services. She has served our hospital as a nurse and a clinical nurse leader for 28 years.
Our Women’s Auxiliary will honor Claire Shulman, former Queens Borough President, current member of our Board of Trustees—and a former nurse, at its annual fundraising luncheon on October 29. The NYHQ Women's Auxiliary works with the hospital to raise funds and support health-related programs that benefit the hospital and our community
We are happy to welcome a new member to the Board of Trustees, as well as several physicians who have demonstrated a history of commitment to high quality care, patient safety and patient satisfaction.
|Michael Meyer, president of the TDC Development International, has been appointed to our Board of Trustees. TDC is a member of the F&T Group, a diversified real estate services company located in Flushing and Shanghai, China. Prior to his work with the F&T Group, Mr. Meyer held positions with Quest International, Inc, Accenture, Tishman Realty & Construction and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Flushing Business Improvement District. He achieved a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School.|
|Marios D. Gagos, D. O., has joined the faculty of our cardiology division at New York Hospital Queens. Dr. Gagos is a graduate of The State University of New York at Stony Brook, with a degree in pharmacology. He received his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and served his residency and cardiology fellowship at Winthrop University Hospital. He has a special interest in nuclear cardiology and is also pursuing an MBA degree from the New York Institute of Technology. Dr. Gagos has been involved in medical research since beginning his work in cardiology. Studies in which he has participated have been published in notable journals including the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and he has presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Cardiology.||
Vanessa Escobar Barboza, M.D., comes to our physician staff as full-time hospitalist, one of the newest and fastest growing medical specialties in the country. As a service to those community-based primary physicians who find it difficult to care for their patients while in the hospital, a hospitalist assumes the role of the patient’s primary care physician while hospitalized. A hospitalist devotes individualized time with the patient from the admission process up through discharge. The hospitalist coordinates a plan of care with a patient’s primary care physician, updates the physician throughout a patient’s stay and then refers the patient back to their primary physician for care after hospitalization.
Dr. Escobar Barboza completed her internal medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Health Center, an affiliate of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She received her medical degree from Universidad del Norte in Colombia. A resident of Flushing, Queens, Dr. Escobar Barboza speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Three surgeons have joined our Department of Surgery, a team of more than 200 general surgeons and practitioners from all major surgical specialty areas who practice in the community and at our hospital. They are Nitong Du, M.D., attending general surgeon, K.R. Kurtis Kim, M.D., attending vascular surgeon, Jason Sample, M.D., director of emergency surgery, trauma and surgical critical care.
Dr. Du joined our medical staff after he completed his fellowship in minimally invasive surgery here. He had served as chief resident at the Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Du received his medical degree from The Beijing Medical University School of Medicine and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Basic Science at New York Medical College. He is fluent in Mandarin.
K.R. Kurtis Kim, M.D. comes to us following his Vascular Surgery Fellowship at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. His expertise is in balloon angioplasty, stent, endograft and open surgical solutions. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Kim received his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, and completed general surgery residency at State University of New York/Buffalo. Dr. Kim is fluent in Korean.
Dr. Sample previously served as associate director of trauma and surgical director of medical education at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens and attending surgeon at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, MD. He completed his surgical residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, with concentrations in colorectal, thoracic, gastric and mixed tumor services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as well as trauma and general surgery services at Jamaica Hospital.
We welcome Anjali Bharati, D.O. as an attending physician in Emergency Medicine. She recently completed fellowship training in Emergency Ultrasound at our hospital. She performed her residency training in Emergency Medicine at Metropolitan Hospital, New York, NY, where she served as chief resident. Dr. Bharati achieved her medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Valhalla, N.Y.
To share research findings with the medical community, our physicians and clinicians publish their work in peer-reviewed journals, present it at medical conferences around the world and speak to community-based organizations about good health practices.
New to our Surgery Department, K.R. Kurtis Kim, M.D., recently published a case report on Coil Embolization for Renal Artery Aneurysm, in “Endovascular Today.” The report shows that coil embolization and stent placement is a safe and effective alternative treatment modality to traditional open surgery, in certain cases.
The hospital enacted a new protocol for insulin prescription for our hospitalized patients, which has yielded outstanding outcomes for diabetes control and has prompted an abstract for presentation to other medical experts. Daniel Lorber, M.D., director of Endocrinology, Regina Cregin, PharmD, hospital pharmacist, and residents Amit Desai, D.O. and Rachel Rubinova, D.O., authored the abstract "Institutional Subcutaneous Insulin Protocol Utilizing Computerized Prescriber Order Entry Eliminates Sliding Scale Orders" and it will be presented at the Diabetes Technology meeting in San Francisco in November.
The abstract,“Risk Factors for Delayed Analgesia in Patients presenting to the Emergency Department with Long Bone Fractures,” authored by Michael S. Radeos, M.D., M.P.H., director of emergency medicine research, Ferleine Bautista, M.D., emergency medicine resident, Nidhi Garg, M.D., coordinator of emergency medicine research, and Alfred Caliguri, R.P.A.-C., was presented recently at the Fifth Mediterranean Emergency Medicine Congress in Valencia, Spain.
Jose D. Torres, Jr, M.D., attending physician in Emergency Medicine, recently taught at a conference for New York City first-responders about “Management of Difficult Airways.” The program was hosted by the Department of Emergency Medical Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
David Barlas, M.D., associate director of the Emergency Medicine residency program, recently spoke to an audience of regional emergency medicine residents about “How to Write a Research Abstract” at the New York State Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians Resident Forum Focus on Research Conference at the New York Academy of Medicine.
In a recent issue of the “New England Journal of Medicine,” a letter to the editor was published that was written by Judah Goldberg, M.D., emergency medicine resident, in response to an article concerning recent Institute of Medicine recommendations regarding resident work hours.
Todd Kerwin, M.D., director of non-invasive cardiology, presented a lecture to a group of senior citizens at Temple Israel in Flushing about heart health including cholesterol, blood pressure and the advantage of taking aspirin on a daily basis. The lecture included a lively question and answer period.
James Rahal, M.D., director, Infectious Disease Division, spoke to parents and school officials about how to protect ourselves and others against H1N1 infection. Dr. Rahal was invited by Flushing community leader John Choe to speak to families at the Sheraton-LaGuardia Hotel in downtown Flushing. He stressed that the community should heed the instructions by our hospital and the New York City Department of Health and take measures to prevent spreading illness.
Seminar Tackles Emerging Pattern of Childhood Food Aversions
Physicians from our Pediatrics Department discovered a pattern of eating aversions among children in traditional Chinese households that may impact their nutritional intake. To stunt this emerging eating pattern, our concerned pediatrics team invited a dietician who specializes in Eastern diets to meet with Chinese-American families to educate them on how to add nutritional value to a traditional Chinese diet.
The NYHQ seminar, “Nutrition and Growth in Chinese American Children: Optimizing Your Child’s Feeding and Nutrition” was moderated by Joseph J. Abularrage, M.D., chairman department of pediatrics, Peri Millman, M.D., director of pediatric gastroenterology, and Anthony Porto, M.D., attending pediatrician, director, Fit Kids program. Our gastroenterologists, pediatricians, swallowing therapists, nurses and dieticians also attended the seminar.
Valuable Outreach to Our Patients and Community
As a quality of care measure, hospitals are required to counsel our emergency room and admitted patients on smoking cessation. We have taken this a step further by reaching out the community and by providing smoking cessation classes and a monthly smoking cessation support group. In addition, our HealthOutreach Program recently partnered with a program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise awareness in the Spanish-speaking community on the effects of second hand smoke, especially in households with children. This program is now based in our Theresa Lang Children’s Ambulatory Center.
Every month, the hospital participates in a vast number of free health activities for Queens residents. For example, In August, the hospital participated in 12 health fairs. More than 200 people had their blood pressure screened and another 200 were screened for diabetes. Six blood drives yielded 366 volunteers who donated blood to us— a great service for the people of Queens, and also a cost savings for the hospital.
New Technology for Quicker Hepatitis and HIV Diagnosis
The Pathology and Clinical Laboratory Department has added new technology that speeds up testing for hepatitis and HIV. The new VITROS EciQ computerized analyzer machine can analyze specimens within 55 minutes and produce reports within one hour, it formerly took one to three days. In 2008, the lab processed 25,000 of these tests. The new technology will expand capacity for testing, increase lab access for community physicians and result in shorter turnaround times.
We Are Named a Flagship Hospital for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
We are a major health care provider for the treatment of breast cancer in Queens and are a flagship hospital sponsor for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The NYHQ Breast Center, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and our HealthOutreach Program have assembled teams of walkers to represent our hospital at the event to be held in mid-October at Queens Borough Hall.
NYHQ College—A Model Program for Increasing Job Performance
Our partnership with Queens College/CUNY is an example of how our direct involvement with community organizations helps us flourish. With the assistance of Queens College, in 2001, we became one of the first health care organizations in the country to create a corporate college. This model has since been adopted at many other health care organizations. What is significant about our corporate college is that it helps our employees build their personal and professional skills and raise the rate of job satisfaction. In addition, it has yielded a workforce with more capability and a higher level of job performance.
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 have been completed on all floors. The exterior curtain wall (pictured, bottom right) in the area of the temporary hoist will be completed once the building elevators are operational. Startup of the major mechanical equipment and the emergency generators are anticipated later this fall. For many months, the sidewalk in front of the hospital on Main Street has shielded passersby with an exterior sidewalk bridge. In September, the bridge was removed.
||Of major note for the interior (pictured, left) of the new building, the electrical power and main oxygen pipe tie-in have been connected. Continuing interior work includes drywall installation, taping and spackling and adding ceiling tiles to new patient care areas. Ceramic tile work for toilets and showers also began in September.||
NYHQ Hosts Health Care Briefing for Queens Delegation
To provide our elected officials with an unobscured view of the state of hospital and nursing home care in Queens, we held a briefing with State Senate and Assembly members representing Queens in Albany. We expect our elected officials to make informed health care decisions and provide much needed support for our health care facilities. This briefing underscored the importance of making health care a top priority for state legislators, and the danger of additional cuts to health care funding at the state level.
Representatives from the Greater New York Hospital Association and Continuing Care Leadership Coalition reviewed the anticipated budget cuts on a state level and discussed its expected effect upon impending health care reform on the federal level. We discussed our current financial challenges and the difficulty in maintaining patient quality of care in light of budget cuts. We also highlighted the impact of patient volume surges due to recent hospital closures and the H1N1 virus outbreak last spring.
The Pursuit of Grant Funding
To assist us with expanding, improving our facilities or adding new programs, we apply for grant assistance wherever possible. New York State Department of Health and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York announced the availability of $30 million in grant funding from the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law for New Yorkers (HEAL-NY). Funds were awarded to Queens hospitals that were strongly impacted by the February closure of St. John’s and Mary Immaculate hospitals. With this funding we plan to expand the Emergency Department by adding 14 treatment beds and create a new Emergency Department lobby to relieve congestion. During the first quarter of 2009, our Emergency Department experienced a 9 percent average monthly increase in volume. In the second quarter, with the H1N1 outbreak we treated nearly 30 percent more patients than usual for that time period.
We recently received news about the receipt of another grant award. Burton Wasserman, D.D.S., recently announced the Department of Dental and Oral Medicine received a federal grant for $82,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Ryan White Program for HIV/AIDS Care. Since congress enacted the 1990 Ryan White Program, our dental program has received grant funding every year. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Wasserman has achieved more than $4 million in grants for the hospital’s dental program.