Dear Colleagues:

February is American Heart Month. This is a good time for a progress update on our cardiovascular services. Since we established our hospital as a cardiac surgery facility 15 years ago, the entire cardiovascular program has grown to where we are now: The Heart Hospital of Queens.

Over the past year we have announced several firsts that we have brought to the borough through the Heart & Vascular Center and our Kyrenia Heart Center. This progress is due to the high caliber of our faculty and voluntary medical staff.
Our success rate for our patients is well documented, and a few of the highlights from the past year include:

  • The cardiac program is in the top 10 percent of the nation for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) care. We scored 100 percent on AMI measures established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The cardiology and emergency medicine teams developed a new chest pain protocol for the emergency room that has resulted
    in a significant reduction in the number of chest pain admissions and decreased the length of stay for admitted patients.
  • Increasingly, we perform more cardiac catheterizations through the wrist, rather than using the traditional approach through an artery in the groin. For patients in which this procedure is appropriate, the wrist approach results in less bruising, bleeding, and fewer complications. We are one of a select number of heart centers in the U.S. that offer this approach—one that requires a high level of physician proficiency.
  • Since the arrival of Samuel Lang, M.D., as the chairman of our Cardiothoracic Surgery Department in early 2009, cardiac surgery volume has increased by 72 percent.

Committed to protecting the heart health of our community, we have developed a full slate of free programs to educate the public about heart disease and our hospital’s comprehensive cardiac program. (For details, see page "Program News").

In addition to establishing ourselves as the Heart Hospital of Queens, we have been recognized as one of the safest hospitals in the country according to national benchmarks. We have accomplished this by maintaining patient safety as a core element of our operations each and every day. 

Patient safety is a nationwide concern. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the national accrediting body for health care facilities, reviews patient safety failures that appear to be reccuring in hospitals nationwide. This year, seven national patient safety goals were issued by the Joint Commission as the standard for all accredited hospitals and for those seeking accreditation. 

One of the goals is to reduce the risk of health care-associated infections. We reduced hospital-acquired infections by making changes in the processes we had in place, and by including our physicians, nurses and all caregivers in developing the new process. A process that may have been “historically” the right way to approach patient care was dismantled and rebuilt based on evidenced-based practices that work best for patients. (For more on the results, see “Even Safer Patient Care,” page 4).

The technical skills of a clinical team mean nothing if care is not provided in a safe manner. We recruit our physicians and hospital support staff with a keen eye toward their safety practices.

Sincerely,


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

PEOPLE & PROGRAMS

PEOPLE NEWS

The People of Haiti
Several weeks have passed since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. In that time our employees and medical staff have offered financial, emotional, and in some cases, their medical assistance for medical relief missions in Haiti. Our thoughts and prayers remain with our friends and colleagues who were affected by this cataclysm, and with the people of Haiti as they travel the long road to recovery.

Our Medical Community
To share research findings with the medical community, our physicians and clinicians publish their work in peer-reviewed journals, present it at medical conferences and speak to community-based organizations. As well, our clinicians are asked to participate as leaders in professional societies and organizations.

Amit Chandra, M.D., Emergency Medicine attending physician, co-authored a publication
in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock titled
“Ultrasound-Guided Nerve Blocks in the Emergency Department.” This work was the result
of an international collaboration with American-based physicians and physicians in India.

Burton S. Wasserman, D.D.S., chairman, Dental and Oral Medicine, gave a presentation
"Treating Special Needs Patients in A Changing Environment,” at  S. P. Medical College in
Bikaner, India, sponsored by the India Dental Association.

Charles Lombardi, D.P.M., director of Podiatry, was re-elected to the Council on Podiatric
Education (CPME) as a director of this national organization that accredits all podiatric
residencies, colleges of podiatric medicine and certifying boards in podiatry. Additionally, he
was elected treasurer of the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME) which
develops and administers podiatric licensing examinations for podiatric medical students.

The Elected Officials Who Represent Us
We congratulate the city-based elected officials who were sworn-in last month. New York Hospital Queens is located in Council District 20. Listed below are the elected officials who work on behalf of the Queens community.

Citywide Offices

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
Public Advocate William De Blasio
Comptroller John Liu (formerly District 20 Council Member)

Queens Office

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall
Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik

City Council Members Representing Queens

Daniel Halloran III (District 19 – Bayside, Whitestone)
Peter Koo (District 20 -- Flushing)
Julissa Ferreras (District 21 -- Corona)
Peter Vallone (District 22 -- Astoria)
Mark Weprin (District 23 -- Hollis and Eastern Queens)
James Gennaro (District 24 -- Fresh Meadows)
Daniel Dromm (District 25 -- Jackson Heights)
James Van Bramer (District 26 -- Long Island City)
Leroy Comrie Jr. (District 27 -- St. Albans and southeastern Queens)
Thomas White Jr. (District 28 -- Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, and South Jamaica)
Karen Koslowitz (District 29 -- Forest Hills and central Queens)
Elizabeth Crowley (District 30 -- Middle Village and western Queens)
James Sanders Jr. (District 31 -- southeastern Queens)
Eric Ulrich (District 32 -- Howard Beach and the Rockaways)

 

 PROGRAM NEWS

  Physicians and Public Learn About Orthopaedics and
Rehabilitation
As we invest in building a world class Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation program, we are making sure that it meets the needs of community-based physicians and their patients.

The Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation Center in Fresh Meadows was opened in 2009 and we are getting a great deal of positive feedback from the physicians and rehabilitation medicine specialists who are referring patients here. Already, the center’s hours of operations are expanding to accommodate demand. In January, a number of community-based physicians and rehabilitation medicine specialists came to an open house to learn more about the newest orthopaedic techniques and treatment options. They toured the new facility to view the advanced technological offerings including a vestibular device that is used to assess complaints of dizziness, vertigo or imbalance.

One of the reasons we are expanding our orthopaedic program is that the population of Queens is aging faster than other parts of the city. There is a growing need for orthopaedics and rehabilitative services here, as well as public education on disorders of the bones, muscles and joints. At a free community symposium last month, our specialists presented the latest news on these topics along with the benefits of minimally invasive orthopaedic procedures that are being performed by our team.

  A True Work of Art—The NYHQ Pediatrics Unit
An inviting, child-friendly environment helps set ill children and their parents at ease. Through art, imagination and a whole lot of paint, the children’s inpatient unit has been transformed into one major work of art. Giant wall murals throughout the hallways showcase the magnificence of Queens as seen through the eyes of a child—the NY Mets, the Hall of Science and the Queens Zoo. The project was made possible through the collaborative efforts of sponsors Starlight Children’s Foundation, mural artists Splashes of Hope and a donation from Benjamin Moore paints. It was unveiled for community leaders, elected officials and the community pediatricians last month.


Another First in Vascular Care at NYHQ

Gregg Landis, M.D., director of vascular & endovascular surgery and associate chairman of the Department of Surgery, recently used minimally invasive endoscopic surgery to repair an thoracic aortic aneurysm. This was the first time an endovascular stent procedure was performed at our hospital—and it is believed that this is the first time this procedure has been performed in Queens.

Heart Month at the Heart Hospital of Queens
As the Heart Hospital of Queens—we provide the expertise that the people of Queens can trust. We have made it our responsibility to educate the community about preventing and treating heart disease. As part of this, this month we celebrate “Heart Month.”

Medical staff from the Heart and Vascular Center will host a second annual symposium for the community on February 24. We have developed a month-long schedule of events for the public with free health screenings, a lecture series at the Flushing Library, the symposium and other heart-healthy events throughout February are available, please click here.

On February 5 we invite community leaders, elected officials and all members of our voluntary medical staff to rally behind the importance of spreading heart health awareness. We plan to make this statement by gathering all those “wearing red” and posing for a large group photo for the news media in the hospital cafeteria at noon. And, that evening, we will go to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where Estelle Cooper, Assistant Borough Commissioner for the Parks Department, will light the park’s iconic Unisphere in red. For more information about all heart month events, call (718) 670-1586.


PROGRESS

Even Safer Patient Care
Our Patient Safety Committee, led by Chief Medical Officer Stephen Rimar, M.D., and more than 100 hospital managers reviews our hospital-wide safety measures weekly—in one of the best ways possible—making rounds on patient floors to see our safety protocols in action.

We fortified a number of safety procedures in 2009. Our results surrounding the goal to reduce health care-associated infections are strong:

  • We had no cases of infections related to the placement of central line IVs in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
  • We reduced the rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia by 60 percent (for 6 months we had no cases) and reduced the rate of urinary tract infections in the ICUs by 70 percent (for 5 months we had no cases).
  • According to the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, we reduced hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by 75 percent and reduced hospital-wide restraint use by 58 percent. And, there were no incidents of restraint use in the critical care areas
  • We achieved 100 percent on all acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) measures, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, scoring among the top 10 percent of all hospitals nationwide. We continue to exceed state and U.S. benchmarks in the other categories of measurement—pneumonia care, surgical care and heart failure care. In addition, we had a cardiac surgery mortality rate significantly below the state average.|
  • We achieved a median time of less than 60 minutes “door-to-door” from arrival in our Emergency Room until Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (cardiac catheterization and stent placement).

The NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System has established three patient safety focal points in 2010. As a system member, these are our areas of focus, as well. The focal points include initiating new procedures to stem both readmissions and hospital-acquired infections, as well as increasing the patient safety education for our nursing and medical staff.
 

Major Modernization Update
There has been significant progress on the new seven-story West Wing. The exterior of the building looks nearly complete. An exterior curtain wall, windows and metal panels are being installed, where the temporary hoist was located. This will be complete within the next few weeks. Two of the six new service elevators have been inspected and have been approved for operation.

             
Exterior curtain wall installation where hoist was located.

               
Progress on the elevators.

The start-up of the major mechanical equipment and the emergency generators began last month. The start-up of the boilers, heating system and gas service is pending approval by the city Buildings Department.

Regarding the interior work, installation of acoustic ceiling tiles, lighting fixtures, and ceramic tiling of the toilets and showers is in progress on the first and second floors.

All mechanical, electrical and plumbing roughing, including IT cabling, is complete on the fourth and fifth floors and continues on all other floors.  In two of the heart and vascular interventional procedure rooms, medical equipment was installed.

Next month, we look forward to publishing the date for our ribbon-cutting celebration.

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