President's Message New York Hospital Queens

 JULY 2011

New York Hospital Queens Advocacy Helps Achieve Positive Outcomes in Legislative Session

I am pleased to share with you that New York Hospital Queens along with other New York State health care providers’ advocacy efforts helped achieve victories in the just completed state legislative session, demonstrating the effectiveness of grassroots outreach to elected officials.

New York Hospital Queens regularly communicates with our elected officials - at all levels of government.  We encourage our legislators to advocate for the health care interests of this community and health care providers - and make our needs a priority. During the 2nd quarter, we delivered nearly a dozen advocacy letters to state legislators, members of the New York City Council and healthcare industry leaders such as the GNYHA (Greater New York Hospital Association), HANYS (Healthcare Association of New York State) and the HTNYS (Healthcare Trustees of New York State).

Through our advocacy efforts we achieved positive outcomes on the following issues:

  • Significant Certificate of Need (CON) reform; the bills remove “routine” projects from the CON process, such as repair or maintenance of minor equipment
  • Reform to rein in the excesses of the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG); this legislation ensures due process protections for providers and recipients of Medicaid
  • Rejection of a multi-pronged assault on the medical malpractice system
  • Prevention of legislation that would impose nurse staffing ratios; this represents an unfunded mandate at a $42 billion cost to hospitals
  • An important victory for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) that could help ensure their long-term financial viability aligns Medicaid with Medicare reimbursement for outpatient and emergency room services

Our advocacy is ongoing and will ramp up further when the second phase of the Governor's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT)  begins. The state will also be evaluating Medicaid spending trends and we will continue to protect provider reimbursement if additional cuts are proposed. Healthcare providers will again have the opportunity to influence the recommendations that will shape the Governor's policy proposals heading into the next state budget debate. 

Visit the page Our Health Care Advocacy on this website to see examples of our advocacy message, and for communication tools that you can use to expand the reach of this effort.

2011 HANYS-PAC Kick-Off

This is the perfect segue for me to announce the kick-off of our 2011 HANYS- PAC (Political Action Committee) Campaign. As you are aware, hospitals and practitioners are experiencing dramatic cuts to reimbursement as well as other sources of federal and state funding. Already, the cuts to NYHQ total close to $49 million over the past four years.

The PAC serves as a collective voice for New York’s health care institutions and our health care practitioners. The PAC has led to significant accomplishments that help physicians and hospitals care for patients.

The HANYS-PAC helps us send a powerful message of unity on behalf of health care leaders by allowing individuals to pool their contributions. Every dollar contributed goes directly to campaigns to present issues of concern to candidates in office or who will be seeking federal and state elected office. We can influence the future of health care delivery in this state, as well as at New York Hospital Queens and for the patients we serve.

Participation in the HANYS-PAC is voluntary and contributions are accepted only from individuals.  I hope you will consider a contribution. We know that the current economy may make it challenging to donate more. If each of us does what we can, we will help to shape health care policy that can better protect our ability to deliver patient care. 

If you are considering making a donation to the New York Hospital Queens' 2011 Annual HANYS-PAC or would like more information about it please contact Debra Pagano Cohen at 718-670-1586 or e-mail her at

Whatever you choose to contribute, I thank you in advance for your support.

Stephen S. Mills


People News

We mourn the passing of a dear colleague, mentor and friend, James J. Rahal, M.D. Dr. Rahal, 77, director, Infectious Disease, passed away on June 11. Dr. Rahal was a widely published researcher and hands-on physician. Dr. Rahal, a world-renowned infectious disease specialist, is remembered for his work in raising alarms nationally about the rise of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals. He also emerged as a leading expert in the treatment of West Nile virus after the Queens outbreak in 1999. Until his death, he had directed significant research in our Infectious Diseases laboratory and served as the program director of the Fellowship in Infectious Diseases. In memory of his lifelong passion for discovery and continuing his legacy of research, his family has suggested that donations be directed to the Fund for the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory.

Our physicians and clinical staff frequently present their work at medical conferences and in peer-reviewed publications:

Moshe Rubin, M.D., director, Gastroenterology, co-authored “Antiplatelet Agents Do Not Impact the Hospital Course in Patients With Gastrointestinal Bleeding,” which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

Akkamma Ravi, M.D.
, attending radiation oncologist; Susan Lee, M.D., acting director, The Breast Center; Karen Karsif, M.D., former director, The Breast Center, Adrian Osian, physicist, Radiation Oncology; and Dattatreyudu Nori, M.D., chairman, Radiation Oncology, and director, The Cancer Center; had their research on “MammoSite multilumen catheter: Dosimetry considerations” published in the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics.

Paul Freedman, D.D.S., director, Oral Pathology, co-authored, “Odontogenic Carcinosarcoma: Case Report and Literature Review,” which was published in the Journal of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. 

Members of the Infectious Disease team, Peter Wasserman, M.A., R.D., Sorana Segal-Maurer, M.D., acting director; Wehbeh Wehbeh, M.D., attending physician, and David S. Rubin, M.D., director, Specialty Care Center; co-authored research on “Wasting Disease, Chronic Immune Activation, and Inflammation in the HIV-Infected Patient” for the journal Topics in Clinical Nutrition. 

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

Congratulations to the 75 physicians on our medical staff who were named in the Castle Connolly Top Doctor guide. A selection of those physicians were also listed in New York Magazine’s annual excerpt from the Castle Connolly guide, as well as Newsday’s “Top Doctors” Guide and Castle Connolly’s site. New York Hospital Queens is home to many of the best doctors in New York and America!

Program News

Innovative Incisionless Procedure to Treat GERD
With the aid of a new surgical device, Stephen Merola, M.D., associate chairman, Surgery, and, director, Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, and Moshe Rubin, M.D., director, Gastroenterology, are now able to perform an incisionless procedure for the treatment of GERD. The procedure is a minimally invasive option for those patients who have severe gastroesophageal reflux and are not responding to medical therapy or who no longer want to take medication for the rest of their life. Some of the advantages of this procedure over laparoscopic surgery may include a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, no visible scars and higher patient satisfaction.

Grand Opening of Educational Multi-Media Room in Theresa Lang Children’s Center

The Department of Pediatrics hosted the grand opening of the new Theresa Lang Children’s Center Educational Multi-Media Room in June. The room was developed through a donation from the NYHQ Women’s Auxiliary in honor of the late Theresa Lang, a founding member of the Auxiliary. The multi-media room functions as a digital, Internet, video and print resource for the education of faculty, students, residents and the community at large.

5 West Unit Receives Award for Rapid Improvement
Over the past year, our 5 West nursing unit participated in the VHA Empire-Metro Rapid Adoption Network Project to improve nursing communication. VHA is an independent organization that helps health care facilities improve clinically and financially. Member hospitals in the Rapid Adoption Network share information about their clinical practices. This has proven successful for a faster turnaround for clinical improvement and employee performance. More than 30 hospitals in the New York area participated in the project. Our hospital achieved the award for Most Improved in Nursing Communication.

Palliative Care Education Program
On the heels of the well-attended Palliative Care Symposium in June, we have expanded education on palliative and end of life care for our house staff, attending physicians, physician assistants and nurses. A four-part training series began on July 6 on the topic of “Principles of Palliative Care and Whole Patient Assessment,” in the Lang Auditorium. The next education session will be held on October 5. For more information, contact Cynthia Pan, M.D., director, Palliative Care, by calling (718) 670-2434 or emailing

The Cancer Center Program

Last month, in recognition of national cancer survivor’s month, we held a “Celebration of Life” event for nearly 300 people - many of them our former and current patients. As survivors were reunited with our Cancer Center team, many were overcome with emotion. They stated that the staff of the Cancer Center was responsible for saving their lives. Three cancer survivors shared their stories, which was motivational for those in the audience still fighting cancer.

Our Cancer Center is one of the largest multidisciplinary cancer treatment programs in Queens and the surrounding communities. It is made up of a team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and specialists in many forms of cancer care, including breast, prostate, colon and gynecological. Our cancer specialists are considered pioneers in oncology, such as our director of the Cancer Center, who is well known for his cutting-edge research in brachytherapy (radioactive seed implantation), and our director for medical oncology, renowned for his work on new chemotherapy protocols. In addition, we are the frequent recipient of major research grants, and we sponsor numerous physician education programs to provide the latest research and information regarding cancer diagnosis and treatment.

If you or someone you know needs guidance through cancer, support groups, genetic testing or medical evaluation, we havea multi-lingual patient support service dedicated to provide assistance starting from the day a patient receives a cancer diagnosis.


More Than 100 Hybrid OR Procedures Performed to Date
Our hospital has performed more than 100 procedures in the new hybrid OR since it opened in the new West Building earlier this year. New York Hospital Queens has one of only three hybrid operating rooms in the tri-state area. The hybrid OR combines the advantages of an operating room with interventional radiology imaging. Prior to the development of this type of OR, physicians had to decide whether a procedure would be done surgically with less imaging capability or if they would perform a radiological procedure without surgical intervention. Now, the choice can be made on the spot to use both if necessary. For more information about the vascular procedures that are typically performed in this OR, contact Gregg Landis, M.D., director, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, at ext. (718) 445-0220.

NYHQ Web Site Goes Mobile

We track how people get to, and found that 3,000 visitors a month - about 10 percent - come from mobile devices. In fact, that figure has doubled since 2009. Our figures for mobile traffic far exceeds the norm for hospital Web traffic nationally.

The next logical step was to enhance the mobile user’s NYHQ Web experience. All mobile phone users who have access to the Web from their phones can now view on a new mobile-optimized version of the Web site. Interactions are made simpler, such as being able to quick dial listed phone numbers found in our “Find a Doctor” directory. To access the new version from a web-enabled phone, type in in a phone's web browser.

Wellness Program for Hospital Employees, Staff
As it is our responsibility to care for health of our community, we also promote healthy living and illness prevention to our employees and medical staff through a new employee wellness initiative. Healthier employees have a better quality of life for themselves and their families. When our workforce has fewer health problems, we can also achieve a cost savings on health insurance benefits.

The initiative includes exercise and weight loss contests as well as consulting assistance from Weight Watchers. If employee participation is counted as a measure of the program’s progress, then it is a success so far. More than 600 people have enrolled for the exercise and weight loss challenges. For more information about this program, contact Danielle Gulinello, wellness program coordinator at (718) 661-7219 or email


SAVE THE DATE: Kids Day for Healthy, Active Living
The community is invited to a “Kids Day for Healthy, Active Living” on July 16 at 10 a.m. at Kissena Corridor Park with NYHQ’s Fit Kids Program. Assembly Member Grace Meng is hosting the event to educate children on how to eat well, exercise on a daily basis and correct unhealthy habits. The Fit Kids Program is expected to provide instruction on eating right and exercising through games and activities.

NYHQ Speakers’ Bureau

Our hospital has an active roster of physicians who make themselves available to speak at community meetings and participate in health fair events. Kudos to two physicians who reached out to the Queens community in June: Ed Chai, M.D., director, Neurology, who discussed Parkinson’s disease with the staff of the Asian Home Care Program from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; and Gerald Wang, M.D., who was the guest speaker for Tiffany’s employees on the topic of “Prostate Health and Disease.” Physicians who are interested in joining our Speakers’ Bureau can contact Debbie Pagano Cohen, director, Community and Government Affairs, (718) 670-1586 or

Site Map | Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Privacy Policy | Term of Use
For a medical emergency, please call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.
Copyright © NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens
56-45 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355