December 2013/January 2014

Dear Colleagues:

I wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year. I want to take a moment to reflect on 2013 and look forward to 2014.  

First, I would like to thank George F. Heinrich, former chairman of the Board of Trustees for NYHQ and Silvercrest, for his many years of service. He resigned in December. I would like to welcome our interim board chairman, trustee Gary J. Zuar who also serves as the Senior Vice President of Finance for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

As you know, a lot has happened in 2013 as our hospital (as well as the entire healthcare industry) transforms the way we provide care. We have continued to implement our strategic plan to increase access to safe, high quality care for the community via new medical talent, technology and physician practices.

Here are a few highlights that we should be proud of:

  • Two practices, Queens Diabetes and Endocrinology and Bayside Primary Care (formerly known as Barra, Coman, Rawlings), have joined our hospital and are now members of our New York Hospital Queens physician group, New York Queens Medicine & Surgery, P.C.
  • We added physicians and services to our Maspeth Multispecialty Care and Whitestone Primary Care practices, and there are more practices coming online in 2014
  • NYHQ added six new medical leaders in our Departments of Medicine, Surgery, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, and Pathology & Clinical Laboratories
  • Our  state-of-art pharmacy opened; it includes an automated tablet-dispensing robot and IV compounding suite that will help us improve medication safety
  • The hospital achieved excellent results on the Joint Commission survey (among the best in the country), and earned an “A” in safety from the Leapfrog Group
  • We successfully attested to Meaningful Use Stage 1, Year 2 to the CMS Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program; we received a total of approximately $9.7 million, thus far
  • At the end of this month, we launched our newly renovated Pediatric Asthma Mobile Unit at Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement in Long Island City

Please read on for more information about our physician practices, the new pharmacy, and other exciting news at NYHQ.

I look forward to working together to continue our progress. You can look for more information on our goals and plans for 2014 in the State of the Hospital update (dates and times to be announced soon).


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

P.S. Now, this publication is only distributed electronically. Please contact Public Affairs & Marketing 718 670-1065 to be added to distribution lists.


NYHQ Continues to Expand Access to Care in Queens

As noted on the front page of this newsletter, NYHQ continues to expand access to primary care and specialty services in Queens. The physician practices Bayside Primary Care (formerly known as Barra, Coman, Rawlings) as well as Queens Diabetes and Endocrinology have joined NYHQ. In addition, physicians and services have been added to the hospital’s Whitestone Primary Care and Maspeth Multispecialty Care practices. These practices are members of our New York Hospital Queens physician group, New York Queens Medicine & Surgery, P.C.


More NYHQ-affiliated physicians are expected to join the Whitestone Primary Care and Maspeth Multispecialty Care practices in 2014. We will continue to acquire and build additional practices to meet the needs of the community. Read more about these practices online! www.nyhq.org/Primary-Care-and-Multispecialty-Practices

We welcome Gregory Pontone, M.D., F.A.C.C., attending cardiologist, who specializes in Non-Invasive Cardiology. Dr. Pontone is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Nuclear Cardiology and Echocardiography. He comes to us from a private group practice where he served as a staff physician, practicing cardiology and internal medicine.

Dr. Pontone completed his fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at North Shore University Hospital where he served as chief fellow. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital where he served as assistant chief resident. Dr. Pontone earned his medical degree and bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.

His office is located at 14-02 150th Street, Suite A, in Whitestone Village and he can be reached at 347-625-6214. He also sees patients at Bayside Primary Care located at 44-02 Francis Lewis Boulevard, Suite A in Bayside.  Please call 718-631-0500 to schedule an appointment or refer a patient to the Bayside office.

Dr. Pontone participates in all NYHQ insurances. He is a member of the NYHQ physician group, New York Queens Medicine & Surgery, P.C.

Mitchell Chorost, M.D., F.A.C.S., director of Surgical Oncology, and associate director, Cancer Center, received a three-year appointment from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) as Cancer Liaison Physician for the cancer program at NYHQ. Cancer Liaison Physicians are an integral part of cancer programs accredited by the American College of Surgeons CoC.

Cancer Liaison Physicians evaluate, interpret and report their facilities’ performance data through the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), and facilitate quality improvement initiatives based on data findings. Cancer Liaison Physicians are responsible for leading CoC initiatives within the cancer program and collaborating with agencies such as the American Cancer Society on behalf of the hospital. The CoC collects data from its accredited cancer programs and provides tools for these programs to facilitate analysis of patterns of diagnosis, treatment, and quality of care for cancer patients.

Congratulations to Johnathon LeBaron, D.O., resident, Emergency Medicine, who was the recipient of the American College of Emergency Physicians National Outstanding Medical Student of the Year Award.

We welcome Sarah Selby, D.O., attending physician, Emergency Medicine. Dr. Selby comes to us after completing her residency in Emergency Medicine at Jacobi Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center. She earned her medical degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.  

Congratulations to Bruce Spinowitz, M.D., associate director, Nephrology and associate chairman, Medicine, on being selected as Nephrologist of the Year by the American Kidney Fund. He will be recognized for his outstanding contributions to nephrology at the Annual New York Spring Event.

We welcome Georgios-Efthymios Triantos, M.D., Ph.D., a surgeon who is a consultant for the General Hospital of Rhodes, as the 10th fellow to take part in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation - New York Hospital Queens Hellenic American Emergency Medicine Exchange (HAEME) Fellowship. Dr. Triantos plans to use the knowledge gained during his time at NYHQ to improve Emergency Medicine on the island of Rhodes.  Michael S. Radeos, M.D., M.P.H., research director, Emergency Medicine, serves as the program director for the HAEME Fellowship.

Congratulations to Geddis Abel-Bey, M.D., director, Obstetrics, who received the New York City Medical Reserve Corps Valued Responder Award for his outstanding service during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Edward S. Bennett, M.D., attending physician, Emergency Medicine was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in October at the ACEP Annual Meeting in Seattle, Wash.

Dr. Bennett was appointed as an honorary Police Surgeon and will serve as a consultant to the New York City Police Department.

Nidhi Garg, M.D., attending physician, Emergency Medicine, was elected Alternate Councillor for the research section of ACEP. 


State-of-the-Art Pharmacy Unveiled at NYHQ

In December, we unveiled our state-of-art pharmacy located on the lower level of the hospital. The 4,500 square foot pharmacy has an automated tablet-dispensing robot, as well as an IV compounding suite that provides a sterile environment used for the preparation of IV medication. The new pharmacy will help improve medication safety.

The automated robot will help reduce the risk of potential medication errors and will help us provide medication to patients at a faster rate. It double verifies the type of medication and dose that will be dispensed, and tracks inventory and medication expiration dates.

The medication is dispensed in a package with a barcode. Prior to administering the medication, the nurse scans the medication barcode, scans his/her ID and scans the patient’s ID band to submit the information to our electronic medical records. If there is an error, the nurse is alerted.   

The robot will also help reduce medication waste. It can accept returned, unused medications that have not expired.

Want a Tour? Contact Alexander Melchert, M.S., R.Ph., director, Pharmacy, 718-670-1545.

Articles about our pharmacy were featured in the Times Ledger and New York Post!

New York Hospital Queens Brings Asthma Care to Children at Riis Settlement

NYHQ unveiled a newly renovated pediatric asthma mobile unit that will provide treatment directly to children at the Queensbridge Houses headquarters of Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement (Riis Settlement), in Long Island City. The van renovation and asthma care program are funded by a $326,000 grant from TransCanada through the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Riis Settlement is located in an area of Long Island City known as “Asthma Alley,” a region stretching from the South Bronx, through East Harlem and into Western Queens. This area has one of the highest child asthma rates in New York and is surrounded by manufacturing sites, bridges and transportation hubs. Too many times, the cost of care, securing appointments and finding a consistent source of care prevent children and their caregivers from successfully managing symptoms of asthma.

A pulmonologist, pediatrician, respiratory therapist and social worker from the Pediatric Asthma Center at NYHQ staff the mobile unit. Hadi Jabbar, M.D., director, Pediatric Asthma Center, spearheaded this program and will see patients on the mobile unit.

The mobile unit is parked at Riis Settlement (10-25 41st Avenue, Long Island City, N.Y.) every Tuesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are preferred. To refer a patient or make an appointment, call 718-670-1920.

Graduate Prosthodontics Program to Receive $50,000 Gift

Nobel Biocare, a company that manufactures dental implants and individualized prosthetics, will donate $50,000 to our Graduate Prosthodontics Program for 2014. The donation will fund dental implants and the components necessary to restore the implants.

Recruiting for Type 2 Diabetes Medication Study

NYHQ is actively recruiting individuals to take part in a clinical research study, The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: Comparative Effectiveness (GRADE) Study that will compare the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most commonly prescribed medication for treating type 2 diabetes.   

To enroll in the study, we are seeking men and women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 30 or older, who have been diagnosed within the last five years. Individuals may be on metformin, but not have taken any other diabetes medication within the last six months. Physicians can refer patients and interested individuals can see if they qualify for enrollment by calling the Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Center for Research and Education, at 718-670-1827. During the five-year study, participants will be monitored free of charge, which includes at least four medical visits per year.

Phyllis August, M.D., Theresa Lang director, Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Center for Research and Education, and Daniel Lorber, M.D., associate director, Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Center for Research and Education, and director, Endocrinology, are co-investigators  in the study.


ICD-10 Coding Readiness

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has mandated a significant change to the diagnosis and procedure coding and classification system. This change, effective October 1, 2014, requires a great deal of preparation.

The International Classification of Disease (ICD) was initially developed to track morbidity and mortality. Specifically, the ICD-9 coding and classification system, in place for over 30 years, will be replaced with ICD-10.  This is a regulatory mandate and affects all providers, services and care settings – not only services provided in the hospital.

What is changing?

  • ICD-10 is a new system – not an expansion or revision of the current system
  • ICD-10 requires a greater level of specificity of care to be documented in the medical record
  • Allows for improved ability to measure performance outcomes and track population health
  • All clinical and billing systems must be updated to accommodate new code format
  • All clinicians and all affected staff will require training to implement the changes
  • Most functional areas (including Coding, IT, Scheduling, Registration, Case Management and Quality) and our clinicians will see a deep and broad impact

    Our preparation is underway. We have created a task force to drive this initiative; led by Michele Ryga, and supported by KPMG, a consulting firm. Please watch for upcoming announcements that will provide more information as well as schedules for department-specific ICD-10 training.


Vice Chairman and Secretary Elected to NYHQ Community Advisory Council

David Dolan (left) and Ashook Ramsaran (right) were elected as vice chairman and secretary for the NYHQ Community Advisory Council, respectively. They join Veronica Tsang (center), chairperson, to complete the council’s leadership team. The Council is a group of Queens business leaders and civic-minded individuals who assist the hospital in development, public affairs, community and government relations, and make recommendations for the improvement of facilities and programs.

Mr. Dolan is well known in the Queens community for his volunteer work and serves as a Eucharistic minister at Holy Family Parish. He also volunteers in NYHQ’s Department of Pastoral Care. Mr. Ramsaran serves as executive vice president at the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and chairperson of GOPIO’s Tracing Our Roots Committee. He is a member of several associations and boards including the Guyanese East Indian Civic Association and St. John’s University’s Committee on Caribbean and Latin American Studies.

Pediatric Holiday Party

The Department of Pediatrics in collaboration with our 2013 Special Events Year-Long Sponsors and the Division of Public Affairs and Marketing, hosted a holiday party for young patients and children of NYHQ employees. The party included a free gift, photo with Santa (played by Frank Macchio, real estate manager) and fun activities. Team members from the New York Cosmos soccer club made a special appearance at the party.

Let's Be a Better Neighbor

With the main campus of New York Hospital Queens located in a residential neighborhood, it can be great for our neighbors who have easy access to our facility. But, the reality is it can be challenging to live next to a facility that is open and active 24-hours a day.  

We ask all employees, medical staff, visitors and patients to make it easier for area residents to be our neighbors. When you arrive at or leave our facility and the surrounding neighborhood, please:

  • Throw away your garbage before you leave the hospital
  • Use one of the 20+ trash receptacles located around the perimeter of our main campus
  • If you notice that a trash receptacle is overflowing, call: 718-670-1215
  • Watch the volume of your voice and do not use profanity— kids live here too!
  • Our vehicles add to the noise in the neighborhood— avoid honking the horn or playing loud music; please obey all traffic signs and do not speed or use neighbors’ driveways to turn around

    Please help us spread the word. Let’s all do our part to be better neighbors and make our neighborhood as great a place to live, as it is to get health care.


NYS Health Commissioner Declares Influenza Season 

The New York State Health Commissioner officially declared influenza season in N.Y. on December 19, 2013. According to N.Y.S. public health law and hospital policy, this means health care personnel (including but not limited to all NYHQ employees, voluntary and attending medical staff, nursing staff, contract staff, students and volunteers) who have not received the flu vaccine now must wear surgical masks in areas of the facility where patients may be present (on campus and off-site) during the declared influenza season.

The flu vaccine is still available for health care personnel, as listed above and in the policy, via Infection Preventionists in the Infection Control office or practitioners in the Employee Health Services office.

  • Infection Control office
    Basement of the North Building, room N010
    Call ahead: 718-670-1256
  • Employee Health Services office
    139-09 58th Avenue, Suite 302 in Flushing
    Call ahead: 718-670-1280

The hospital’s policy [NYHQ Personnel Influenza Vaccination Program 2013-2014, # 9200-398], was created to enforce the legislation and is available for review via Sentact. The policy includes information about getting vaccinated, medical exemptions, declination of the vaccine and compliance.

Increasing Pedestrian and Driver Safety around NYHQ’s Campus

We want to let all colleagues know that despite many improvements made to traffic rules in our hospital neighborhood, we are working with local officials to implement additional changes to try to prevent future accidents.  NYHQ will also promote safety through:

  • Additional safety awareness education from the ED discharge team and main lobby reception security staff, and signage to include reminder notices in parking garage
  • Work with the 109 Precinct to enhance enforcement of traffic laws on surrounding streets, as well as our own enforcement of ED entrance ramp for non-emergency use
  • Aggressive work with our traffic consultant and the Department of Transportation to address safety needs including, but not limited to: lighting, crosswalk signage, traffic light timing

Every Day, Every Time:  You must be aware and careful when crossing the street or driving near the hospital, even if you are in a hurry.  As careful as you may try to be, you cannot control the vehicles that are sharing the streets so you must:

  • Cross the street only at designated cross walks
  • Cross only when the “Walk” signal appears; do not cross only because the traffic light is red, wait for a “Walk” signal (traffic lights on Booth Memorial Ave./Main St. intersection are not synced)
  • Look both ways before, and while, you cross the street
  • If you are a driver, do not make a left turn out of the NYHQ parking garage; when entering the parking garage, turn slowly and always look for pedestrians
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