February 2011

Dear Colleagues:

Health reform is very much in play along several pathways.

On the Federal level, a few judges have found the 2010 legislation unconstitutional. The House has symbolically voted to repeal the legislation, and the Senate voted not to repeal the legislation: all along party lines.

The important point is that health care reform is law.  The regulations have to be finalized, which will drive change in the way the law is implemented over the next several years. We will see more people insured and more “pay for performance” initiatives at the acute care, long term care, personal care and physician practice levels.

Most immediately, acute care hospitals across the country will continue to experience reduced Medicare reimbursement. State budgets in New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and others are experiencing extraordinary budget “indigestion.”

Here, in New York, Governor Cuomo published his 2011-12 budget, recommending landmark reductions in Medicaid funding. These onerous cutbacks are partial corrective action for a $10 billion budget deficit. At the same time the Governor has appointed a Medicaid Re-design Task Force with representatives from every sector of the State healthcare community, co-chaired by Michael Dowling, President and CEO of North Shore/Long Island Jewish Healthcare System, and Dennis Rivera from the 1199 SEIU Healthcare United Workers union.  

The Governor expects this Task Force to make recommendations to him by March 1 with the goal of achieving a reduction in Medicaid funding of $2.85 billion in 2011-12 and an additional $4.6 billion in budget year 2012-13. These State Medicaid funding reductions automatically trigger the Federal Medicaid matching dollars—ballooning the total dollar reduction of Medicaid funding for all programs to $15 billion over the two years.

With this omnipresent background of impending dollar reduction, what does this mean to each person who provides direct care to patients or who works diligently to support patient care at NYHQ; or for that matter, at all acute and long term facilities, home care programs and other agencies in New York State?

At our hospital it means continued focus on providing the best care, the best service to the satisfaction of patients and families. Delivering excellence in quality, satisfaction and safety works to keep us strong in two very important ways. First, it demonstrates to the population of our region that the best care is right here; the most satisfying experience is here for patients and their families and nobody needs to leave this borough to receive the best care available.  Second, it requires that our team of focused staff, all work efficiently, every day, 24/7, in order to provide the best care to patients.

No question that the next few years are a challenge for this industry. NYHQ is fortunate to be able to offer the best care with the best staff, and it's our team mission to ensure our future.


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


People News

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

The New York State Division of the American Trauma Society awarded Mary Ellen Zimmermann, R.N., B.S.N., the “Trauma Coordinator of Distinction Award,” for her contribution to trauma care excellence in 2010.

Congratulations to Christine Hollowat, R.N., Mother/ Baby Unit, on passing her R.N. nursing boards. She has served as an L.P.N. on the unit since 2001. She has been a member of the NYHQ patient care services staff since 1993.

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

Gregory M. Gustafson, M.D., has made a transition to full time attending interventional cardiologist in the Division of Cardiology. He had served as a voluntary member of the New York Hospital Queens medical staff since 1994. Dr. Gustafson is board-certified in both Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. 

Richard Gasalberti, M.D., an attending physiatrist and pain management specialist, joins our voluntary attending staff. He achieved his M.D. at Ross University School of Medicine, West Indies. He completed his general surgery residency at our hospital. He did a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Medical Center and a residency in orthopaedics at the Hospital for Joint Diseases Orthopaedic Institute. He is board certified by the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Jane Morris, R.N., clinical care coordinator for palliative care, is an advanced practice certified hospice and palliative nurse. She is working alongside Cynthia Pan, M.D., medical director, Palliative Care. She comes to us from the Hospice Care Network in Woodbury, N.Y.

Winter Storm Perseverance
Mother Nature has left her mark on New York City this winter, and the season isn’t over yet. We have experienced record snowfall levels. Travel to work has proven difficult. But, through it all, we remained fully operational for patient care 24/7. Christopher Calandrella, M.D., an attending physician in emergency medicine, serves as a role model for perseverance. When public transportation was unavailable, he made it to the hospital to cover his shift by walking eight miles in the snow from his home - it took him two and a half hours. We have heard a number of stories of dedication. We are grateful to all of our medical staff, employees and volunteers for their commitment to our patients.

Program News

Update on Gynecologic Robotics Program
The Gynecology Robotics Program has become the busiest benign gynecologic robotic service in the NYC metropolitan area. In May 2010, we performed the first da Vinci assisted gynecologic procedure. Subsequently, our program led by  Kathy Huang, M.D., has provided the robotic option to more than 100 women with strong outcomes—zero conversions to laparotomy, zero transfusions, an EBL of less than 100 ml and an average length of stay less than 6 hours.

Clinical Research Studies for HIV
New York Hospital Queens is participating in several clinical studies of investigational treatments for people with HIV. The studies are being conducted through our Special Care Clinic with the support of the Eugene and Theresa Lang Center for Research and Education under protocols approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Enrolled patients receive free medication and medical evaluation from our medical specialists. Individuals and physicians can learn more about these studies by calling (718) 670-2530. 

February is “Heart Month” 

As the Heart Hospital of Queens, we have made it our responsibility to educate the community about preventing and treating heart disease. As part of this, we celebrate “Heart Month” during the month of February. 

Throughout the month, we are hosting events for the community to spread awareness of heart disease risk factors and how to live “heart healthier.” On February 4 at our “Go Red” event, employees and medical staff, who gathered, dressed in red, for a large group photo as a show of support for heart health awareness. For a comprehensive list of all our “Heart Month” events, please download our complete schedule of Heart Month events.

Orthopaedics Newsletter 
The Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has developed a newsletter, Department News "Cast" that provides useful information about orthopaedics and related services at New York Hospital Queens as well as highlights on department progress, medical staff news and events being held by the department. To view the newsletter, visit the Informational Materials page for the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

A Spring Night Gala Set for May 23
Please save the date for Monday, May 23, at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan. That night we will host our annual hospital gala with entertainment by Grammy Award winner and legendary performing artist, Patti LaBelle. For more information, please contact Julie Varghese, director, Special Events, juv9007@nyp.org or (718) 670-1564.

New Care Room Unveiled for Pediatric Patients
New York Hospital Queens welcomed New York Mets Jose Reyes (shortstop), Josh Thole (catcher) and Terry Collins (manager) to the Pediatrics Unit last month for the unveiling of the New York Mets-Themed Starlight Site Care Room. The new care room is colorfully decorated with New York Mets memorabilia, thanks to a sponsorship by the Starlight Children’s Foundation NY*NJ*CT. 

Mets players visited with children who were too ill to join the festivities. Local elected officials also participated, including: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, State Senator Toby Stavisky, Assembly Member Grace Meng, Assembly Member Edward Braunstein and Council Member Peter Koo. Mets TV was on hand to record the event as were journalists from mlb.com (the Web news site for Major League Baseball), NY 1 News, the Queens Tribune, Queens Chronicle, the Times Ledger Newspapers and the Global Chinese Times. 


Best Hospital of 2010
NYHQ was recently featured as one of the best hospitals of 2010 in the Hospital Newspaper (December 2010), a regional industry publication. A full page story about NYHQ included highlights from the opening of our new West Building and featured the expansion of patient access to high quality care in Queens.  

Our Participation in Lunar New Year Events
Throughout the month of February we are celebrating the start of “Year of the Rabbit.” Each Lunar New Year’s Eve, at the stroke of midnight, we give the first baby a $1,000 savings bond from our hospital. We will participate in the annual Lunar New Year parade in downtown Flushing. Our other activities to honor this festive time include dragon dancing, singing, gift-giving and an Asian-style lunch to pay homage to Asian culture.

Implementing a “Medical Home” at NYHQ
Medicaid is a big topic in health care, especially here in New York, where the governor is trying to close a $10 billion budget gap. Real reform of the health care system is necessary. It requires strategy not just deeper cuts. A promising approach, and not just a quick fix, is the “Patient-Centered Medical Home” incentive program.

Since the enactment of health care reform legislation, the “Medical Home” concept is being adopted nationwide as a model for health care delivery. This concept was developed as a way to coordinate a Medicaid patient’s care across the continuum of care – from wellness and primary care services to hospital and subspecialty care, as well as long term nursing or rehabilitation.

A physician leader and team of providers are responsible for management of all aspects of a patient’s care, which encourages a robust and endearing relationship between the primary care physician, the patient and patient’s family. Care management is facilitated by information technology and health information exchange to assure that at every point in the continuum, all providers have real time access to a patient’s medical record. 

As a result, the Medical Home model enables better coordination of care, communication and a higher degree of responsibility for managing a patient’s full spectrum of care over time. 

We are well on our way to implementing the Medical Home model, right here. Primary care access is a foundational tenet of the Medical Home. In addition to more than 1,200 voluntary NYHQ physicians throughout our entire market, many of them practicing internists, our hospital has primary care centers in Queens. I’m pleased to report that the National Committee for Quality

Assurance (NCQA) designated our Jackson Heights Family Health Center, which provides primary care and medical services for adults and children, as a Level 1 Patient-Centered Medical Home with accreditation for three years. We are seeking Medical Home status for our other primary care and pediatric facilities.



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