Local News

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Hyperbaric Medicine program at Westchester Medical Center, flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, recently received Accreditation with Distinction from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) for its comprehensive hyperbaric oxygen therapy program, which offers 24/7 services to the sickest patients in our region.


Westchester Medical Center’s Hyperbaric Unit staff (from left): Zachary Badame, CHT; Monica Alfonzetti, CHRN; Kausik Kar, MD, Medical Director of the Hyperbaric Unit; Manny Orriola, CHT; and Victoria Piliero, CHT

Only 206 hyperbaric centers nationwide seek designation from UHMS out of the thousands that offer the service, and among that group, a mere 12 percent of the centers receive the notable Accreditation with Distinction designation. This is due to the society’s 1,600-criteria survey that assesses factors including a center’s 24/7 availability, the number of physicians trained to provide the service (24 at Westchester Medical Center) and the academic nature of the program in a tertiary care facility.

In existence for more than 30 years, the hyperbaric medicine program’s multidisciplinary approach to successful chronic wound treatment includes patient nutrition, medication, transportation and social services, as well as specialized vascular, general and reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


Burke Rehabilitation Hospital has launched a new Outpatient Physician Practice on its White Plains campus (785 Mamaroneck Ave.), providing expanded services. Patients will now be able to schedule appointments with board-certified Burke/Montefiore physicians for a variety of medical conditions requiring physical rehabilitation in an outpatient setting.

The Burke/Montefiore physician practice team will be made up of physicians able to treat and manage complications related to stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, orthopedic surgery, amputations, musculoskeletal disorders, chronic pain, dementia, arthritis and other debilitating conditions that do not need to be treated in a hospital.

These physicians have expertise in a wide variety of specialties, including pain injections, EMG and other diagnostic testing, general physiatry, interventional spine treatments, neuro-rehabilitation, oncological rehabilitation, orthopedic rehabilitation, prosthetics and orthotics, and sports rehabilitation. The practice brings together these physicians in one convenient setting, making it easier for patients to access outpatient care close to home.


Crystal Run Healthcare’s pediatric office in Haverstraw was recently granted Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) — the highest achievable level of recognition a patient-centered medical home can receive.


Members of the Haverstraw Medical Home team, including Shoeb Amin, MD; Dipak Banker, MD; Shelley Carolan, DO; Robin Epstein, RN, PNP; and Hilary Petersel, MD, display their newly awarded NCQA Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home Certificate of Recognition.

The NCQA PCMH is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve care, improve patients’ experience of care and reduce costs. Medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and their personal clinicians, instead of approaching care as the sum of episodic office visits. In granting Level 3 PCMH recognition, the NCQA has verified that Crystal Run has made a commitment to providing quality improvement within its practice and employs a patient-centered approach to care, resulting in happier and healthier patients.

The NCQA’s PCMH Recognition Program is the most broadly endorsed PCMH evaluation program in the country, with more than 12,000 practices (with more than 60,000 clinicians) recognized.


Can paramedics prevent discharged patients from landing back in the hospital? Can teens be trained to help peers seek primary care? These are some of the questions community organizations are trying to answer using new funds awarded by Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative (MHVC), a group of providers, community-based organizations and government officials whose goal is to improve the quality of life of Hudson Valley residents. This effort is part of New York state’s $8 billion investment to advance care for people receiving Medicaid, while also decreasing preventable hospital readmissions by 25 percent over five years.

The funds will benefit organizations along the Hudson River from Westchester County to Albany. Groups receiving the most funding from MHVC include:

  • Rockland Paramedic Services: awarded more than $350,000 to train paramedics so they can expand their role to post-hospital visits. After patients leave the hospital, paramedics will visit them in their homes to make sure they understand their discharge instructions, including how to take their medication. They can also arrange visits with social workers and have calls with physicians.
  • Maternal Infant Services Network: awarded $250,000 to connect teenagers to primary care and instill a lifetime of healthy habits. Part of this campaign involves focus groups with teens to learn what they care about most. Teens will meet with local physicians and even be trained as Wellness Ambassadors.

Each organization receiving funding has a rich history of successfully motivating people within the Hudson Valley to make positive lifestyle changes. The goal of the Innovation Fund is to build healthier communities within and beyond the Hudson Valley.


Full Circle Women’s Health, the midwifery practice based in Harrison, is entering a new chapter in its 15 years of service. Effective in early October, the practice expanded under Phelps Medical Associates, a member of Northwell Health’s medical group, Northwell Health Physician Partners. With this new union comes a new name, Northwell Health Physician Partners Phelps Medical Associates Midwifery. This is the largest midwifery program to join a full-service hospital system.


Full Circle Women’s Health in Harrison is now part of Phelps Medical Associates.

The new relationship will allow the practice to grow even further and expand midwifery services under the broad network of Northwell Health. As part of Northwell Health Physician Partners, the practice will gain access to advanced systems and more administrative resources. Additional benefits include the opportunity to accept many more insurance plans than were accepted in the past. Practitioners will continue to deliver babies at Phelps Hospital, which is also part of the Northwell Health system.


For the 12th consecutive year, Press Ganey Associates Inc. has recognized Calvary for the Hospital’s consistent highest level of customer satisfaction. This year, Calvary received the Pinnacle of Excellence and Beacon of Excellence awards. Calvary has received both awards every year since 2013, when Press Ganey debuted them.

The Pinnacle of Excellence Award recognizes clients who have maintained excellence over three years in patient experience, employee engagement, physician engagement or clinical quality performance.

The Beacon of Excellence Award is given to top-performing organizations that have maintained excellence over three years in patient satisfaction.

For 2017, Calvary is the only hospital in New York to achieve a Pinnacle Award.

To date, Calvary’s many accolades include an unbroken track record of accreditation from The Joint Commission for Calvary Hospital and Calvary@Home (Home Care and Hospice); 2012 Circle of Life Award; 12 consecutive Press Ganey Summit or Beacon awards, ever since these awards were first given out in 2006 and 2013, respectively; and designation by the National Cancer Institute in 2005 as an “international center for training in palliative care.” In addition, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization places Calvary@Home above state and national averages in important patient issues such as relief of pain and patient education.


A special group of Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) employees representing multiple healthcare professions and celebrating the cultural diversity of our region raised nearly $40,000 running in the TCS New York City Marathon in support of WMCHealth facilities across the Hudson Valley.


WMCHealth Team member Melissa Maura, PT, DPT, at Westchester Medical Center

The team’s 12 members — five registered nurses, a cardiac rehabilitation care manager, an oncology pharmacist, a physical therapist, an outpatient mental health counselor, two anesthesiologists and an OB/GYN — all of whom are motivated by their own special stories, competed in support of the life-changing and lifesaving care provided at each of WMCHealth’s 10 Hudson Valley hospitals.