President's Message New York Hospital Queens

 September 2012

Dear Colleagues:

Hospitals perform a delicate balancing act when instituting measures to safely reduce the average length of stay for patients while decreasing the rate of unplanned readmissions.

Reduction of average length of stay is vital because it enables us to improve patient flow through the hospital and keep the costs of care under control. We are just slightly over our length of stay goal for the year. An unplanned readmission is an unintentional readmission within 30 days of discharge from an acute care hospital that is not scheduled as part of the patient’s plan of care.

Effective October 1, the federal government will reduce reimbursement to hospitals with excessive readmissions for patients who leave the hospital following a diagnosis of heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia. The excess ratio is determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

New York Hospital Queens has been actively working to reduce preventable readmissions for several years. According to the latest statistics (1st quarter 2012), our readmission rates are at 20%, just slightly lower than the New York State average rate of 20.9%. We have yet to reach the national benchmark of 18%. In October, we do expect a lower Medicare reimbursement as a penalty for not meeting the national rate.

We have several measures in place to reduce unplanned readmissions, which includes focusing on patient education about medications, spending more time planning a patient’s discharge from the hospital, and implementing a formalized discharge phone call program.

To go a step further, New York Hospital Queens recently became one of 13 hospitals statewide to establish a sub-acute Transitional Care Unit. Since a majority of unplanned readmissions involve the older population, many of whom are Medicare beneficiaries, we have opened the unit as part of a state-run demonstration project for formerly hospitalized, Medicare patients.

Benefits of the Transitional Care Unit include:

  • A patient’s length of stay for acute hospital care can be shortened, appropriately and safely
  • A patient’s likelihood of readmission to the hospital can be reduced
  • While in the unit, which can be up to 20 days, the patient is prepared for the transition to return home or to a skilled nursing facility
  • Continuity of Care --- the Transition Care Unit is located at the hospital and is run by nurses from the Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

To access the unit, a physician discharges the patient from the hospital, and admits the patient to the unit for continued medical or nursing care. We encourage our physicians to consider the option of the Transitional Care Unit for the continuation of care for appropriate patients due for discharge. A patient’s physician can order a patient’s stay in the unit by calling (718) 670-2723. To learn more about the Transitional Care Unit at New York Hospital Queens, contact Michael Tretola, senior vice president, Continuum of Care, and administrator, Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, at (718) 480-4030.


Stephen S. Mills, F.A.C.H.E.


People News

We are pleased to announce the following appointments of our medical and professional staff:

Welcome to Paul Di Cesare, M.D., director, Total Joint Arthroplasty. He achieved his medical degree from the University of Southern California School of Medicine. As mentioned last month, he returns to New York from the University of California—Davis, where he served as chairman and professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is well known in the New York medical community from the time he served as a director at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. He completed his residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center. He completed his clinical fellowship in hip surgery at M.E. Muller Foundation in Berne, Switzerland. He will have an office at the hospital and at the Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Center in Fresh Meadows. He can be reached at (866) 670-6824 (OUCH).

Liana Leung, M.D., M.P.H., has been appointed medical director, NYHQ Ambulatory Care Center, in Fresh Meadows. She comes to us from The Queens-Long Island Medical Group, P.C., where she practiced internal medicine. Dr. Leung completed her bachelor’s degree at Yale University, achieved her master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University and earned her medical degree from Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She completed her residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Leung can be reached at (718) 670-2903.
  Ankur Chawla, M.D., joins New York Hospital Queens as an attending physician, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery.  Dr. Chawla comes to New York Hospital Queens from the North Shore University-Long Island Jewish Health System, where he completed a vascular surgery fellowship.  A graduate of University of Rochester, Dr. Chawla received his medical degree and completed a general surgery residency at Upstate Medical University and University of Rochester School of Medicine.
He can be reached at (718) 445-0220.
Fernando Kawai, M.D., attending physician, Internal Medicine, joins NYHQ as a specialist in geriatric and palliative care medicine. He comes to us from Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif. Dr Kawai also held a Harvard Medical School academic appointment when he worked as a teaching hospitalist at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. He has an office in the hospital and can be reached at (718) 670-1643.
  Welcome to Ari Bunim, M.D., attending physician, Medicine. He completed fellowships in gastroenterology, hepatology and liver transplantation at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He achieved his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine and his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bunim has an office in the hospital and can be reached at (718) 670-2399.

It is an honor for us when our hospital team members attain professional achievements and when they are recognized by other organizations:

Laurie Gordon, M.D., director, Inpatient Pediatric Unit, was awarded a certificate of Participation and Improvement by the American Academy of Pediatrics for her efforts to reduce pediatric identification band errors. The initiative was a collaborative project with six hospitals across the country, including major children's hospitals and community hospitals.  The aim was to reduce by half the pediatric patient identification band error rate (defined as absent, illegible or inaccurate) over one year.  An article detailing the results of the initiative was published in the journal Pediatrics this summer.

Peri Millman, M.D., attending gastroenterologist, was recognized by the Cornell Physicians Assistant Program, graduating class of 2012, for her skills as a clinical preceptor.

Burton Wasserman, D.D.S., chairman, Dental and Oral Medicine, served as a consulting editor for a new textbook for practicing and student dentists and hygienists, “Treating the Dental Patient with a Developmental Disorder."

Franscene Oulds, M.D., associate director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, represented the Department of Pediatrics and NYHQ in a meeting of the NYC Pediatric Disaster Coalition in planning for disasters involving children. Dr. Oulds will serve on the Community Outreach Committee and work with the NYC Office of Emergency Management in developing the hospital's pediatric disaster plan.

Adam Weinstein, F.A.C.H.E., vice president, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Compliance, is a member of a work group with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to develop criteria for a $60,000 grant in emergency management for our hospital.  In 2012, New York Hospital Queens received $55,000.

The Queens County Emergency Preparedness Healthcare Coalition (QCEPHC) elected Mr. Weinstein to the Executive Steering Committee.  In this role, Mr. Weinstein will assist in establishing transparent communication and planning among Queens County hospitals and long term care facilities.

Charles M. Lombardi, D.P.M., director, Podiatry and Podiatric Medical Education, was elected president, National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME). The NBPME is responsible for the creation and administration of the American Podiatric Medicine Licensing Examination, the exam that all podiatry students must pass for licensure.

Hadi Jabbar, M.D., director, Pediatric Asthma Center, has been appointed to the Northeast Board of Directors, American Lung Association. He is one of six directors representing New York. He was selected for his efforts to educate families and the community about asthma prevention and treatment.


Program News

Emergency Department Scores Significant Increase in Patient Satisfaction
Our Emergency Department has seen great improvement in overall patient satisfaction with the hospital experience. The organization that helps NYHQ track, analyze and improve clinical and business outcomes recorded a statistically significant increase in the second quarter of 2012.

Implementation of Electronic Health Record Technology
The successful implementation and meaningful use of the Electronic Health Record, brings NYHQ into compliance with the HITECH Act and demonstrates NYHQ’s commitment to improving patient care through the use of the EHR.  This is a significant milestone for NYHQ.  Only 20 percent of hospitals in the country has successfully attested and demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology.  HITECH, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, established EHR incentive programs for both Medicare and Medicaid.  The purpose of these programs is to promote the adoption and meaningful use of certified EHR technology.  To receive financial incentives, medical professionals and hospitals must meet certain eligibility requirements.  NYHQ is eligible to participate in both Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.  To date, NYHQ has received $5.6 million. Over the next three years, we anticipate additional payments of up to $7 million. 

Informational Exchange with Health Care Professionals on Palliative and Geriatric Care
Late this summer, we hosted two informational exchanges on Palliative and Geriatric Care

Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Beijing Long-Fu Hospital

Executives and medical staff from NYHQ met with visiting physicians from Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Beijing Long-Fu Hospital to discuss the similarities and differences between American and Chinese standards of palliative and geriatric care. The weeklong visit by the physicians was arranged by Cynthia Pan, M.D., director, Geriatrics and Palliative Care. Elected officials joined the hospital in welcoming the guests and bestowed proclamations from New York State and New York City. The physicians toured the emergency room, our transitional care unit for patients making the transition between hospital and home, the orthopaedic rehabilitation unit and the radiation oncology facilities for cancer care. On a separate day, the physicians visited the Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation for a comprehensive look at a high quality long-term care facility.

Leaders from Local Jewish Organizations and Synagogues

New York Hospital Queens hosted a discussion about palliative care, current New York State legislation and patient options when faced with end-of-life decisions. The meeting included Assembly Member Michael Simanowitz and the following leaders from the health care and Jewish community: George Weinberger, chairman of the board, Agudath Israel of America; Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, vice president, Agudath Israel of America; Toby Weiss, director, Jewish Cultural Programming – Metropolitan Jewish Health System; and Rabbi Aron Wajsfeld, director, Chayim Aruchim - Center for Culturally Sensitive End of Life Advocacy and Counseling; Stephen S. Mills, president and chief executive officer; Cynthia X. Pan, M.D., director, Geriatrics and Palliative Care Medicine; Jane Morris, R.N., clinical coordinator, Palliative Care; Rabbi David Keehn, director, Pastoral Care; and Debra Pagano Cohen, director, Community and Government Affairs.

Medical Staff Society College Scholarship Winners
Each year, our Medical Staff Society offers a scholarship program to the children of hospital employees. Congratulations to the nine recipients who were awarded college scholarships of $1,500: Parbat Chapagai, son of Chandra Chapagai, C.N.A., 5 North; Stephanie Diu, daughter of Sanica Diu, Diagnostic Laboratories; Pratik Lakhani, son of Parul Lakhani, Radiology; Natasha Nohar, daughter of Sohan Noha, Security; Sophia Jacob, daughter of John Jacob, Respiratory Medicine; Ruby Benn, daughter of Kofi Attah Benn, Outpatient Dialysis; Simran Nanda, daughter of Gurvinder Nanda, R.N., NICU; Konstantino Kritikos, son of Debra Kritikos, R.N., CVRU; and John Pagano, son of Susan Pagano, R.N., Nursing Education.


Golf & Tennis Classic- September 10, 2012
The Frank Randazzo Jr. Foundation, established in 1984, is dedicated to the support of cancer programs at NYHQ.  This year, proceeds from the event being held on September 10, 2012, are slated for the upgrade of the Radiation Oncology recovery room for patients receiving treatment at The Cancer Center. Over the years, the foundation has provided leadership gifts for both The Frank Randazzo Jr. Memorial Unit and The Frank Randazzo Jr. Cell Biology Laboratory; it has funded a free transportation program for patients receiving outpatient treatment; and it has sponsored courses and workshops for families who are caring for patients at home. 

New Support Group for Mothers of Twins and Multiple Births
Beginning this month, the hospital will host a new support group, “The Mothers of Twins Club.” The club will provide educational and social support to expectant parents of multiple births. Meetings will be held on the fourth Thursday of every month beginning on September 27 in the Lang Lobby. For more information about the group meeting, view the event listing.

Our Visibility in the Community

Hong Kong Boat Festival 2012

NYHQ served as a sponsor for this year’s 22nd Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. This year, “The Baby Catchers” led by Team Captain David Chiang, M.D., attending physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology, raced along with 170 other teams from across America and Canada. More than 60,000 were estimated to have attended the event. The Baby Catchers have participated in this competition for more than 10 years, and this year won two of the races, advancing to the finals. Congratulations to the entire team.

Launch of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Susan Lee, M.D.
, acting director, Breast Center, and other members of the NYHQ Breast Center team attended a kick-off breakfast at Citi Field to announce the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The walk will take place on October 21, 2012, at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. To join the NYHQ walk team or for more information, contact the Department of Surgery, at (718) 670-2310.

Women’s Auxiliary to Honor Frank Macchio at Annual Luncheon
The Women’s Auxiliary Annual Luncheon will be held on October 3, at The Inn at New Hyde Park. The luncheon will honor Frank Macchio, past president, NYHQ Community Advisory Council, as this year’s Spirit Award recipient for his commitment to NYHQ and the Queens community. Mr. Macchio is now a real estate manager for NYHQ. To purchase a ticket to attend, contact Jody Eglinton at (516) 807-0199. All proceeds raised by Women’s Auxiliary events fund the purchase of clinical equipment and benefit the expansion of programs for patient care and the community.

New York Hospital Queens Night at Citi Field

Several hundred family and friends of NYHQ employees and physicians attended NYHQ Night at Citi Field and watched the New York Mets defeat the Atlanta Braves with a final score of 6-5.

Support the NYHQ HANYS-PAC 2012 Campaign

New York Hospital Queens has kicked off the 2012 Annual HANYS-PAC campaign. HANYS (Healthcare Association of New York State) is an industry advocacy organization that represents hospitals on issues related to health care policy at the state and federal government levels. As a participant in the HANYS political action committee (PAC), New York hospitals have a unified voice for our budgetary and legislative needs. Elected officials need to understand the challenges we face so they can advocate for the health care needs of New Yorkers.

New York Hospital Queens hopes all health care professionals and those in the community who share our interest in shaping health care for the future consider volunteering a contribution. We know that the current economy may make it challenging to donate to the PAC, but if each of us does what we can, we can better protect our ability to deliver patient care.  To make a voluntary donation to the New York Hospital Queens campaign for the 2012 HANYS-PAC, or for more information, please contact Debra Pagano Cohen at (718) 670-1586.

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