Archive for the tag 'hospitals'

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Some lame duck politicians go out on a whimper, defeated by gridlock, apathy and restlessness on part of the people. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not one of those politicians. In just the past few months alone, Bloomberg has pushed a massive $20 billion storm protection plan and scored a victory when the New York State Supreme Court upheld his plan to expand taxi service across the city. He’s expanding recycling programs, banning styrofoam, and even pissing off Sarah Palin. The New York Times is now reporting that Bloomberg is seeking to make major changes to the city’s building code to increase the resiliency of buildings citywide in the event of more extreme weather incidents like Superstorm Sandy.

Needing only the approval of the City Council, Bloomberg’s plan to overhaul the building code would make New York City a national leader in making buildings more resilient in the face of hurricanes. For the time being, the new rules would mainly affect the construction of new buildings and big renovations on existing buildings in the flood areas, including much of Sheepshead Bay.

But some upgrades could also be required in existing larger buildings. The Times listed changes that would have to made to residential buildings, co-ops, condominiums, public housing and rental apartments:

For example, emergency lights will be required in hallways and stairwells in case of extended blackouts. Existing buildings will have to add faucets to a common area on lower floors, like a laundry room. That is intended to allow people on upper floors, which lose water pressure from electric pumps during blackouts, to obtain water.

Officials and experts estimated that a 20-story co-op could spend $16,000 for faucets in a laundry room, and more than $100,000 for backup lighting that could last many days. The lighting would be far cheaper if owners deployed battery-powered lights with a shorter life.

Bloomberg’s task force, which he set up with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, did not propose any new rules for existing single-family homes. Still, homeowners looking to make major renovations would have to conform to new regulations like using longer screws and nail fasteners on windows and doors so they can stand up to high winds. New sloped roofs would have to use reflective shingles to cut down on heat.

Hospitals would also have to protect their windows, potentially costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars per building. The city also wants to force businesses that store toxic chemicals to keep them in flood-proof areas. Resistance to the plan is expected to come from real estate developers who fear the overall increased costs they would incur.

In pushing the changes, Bloomberg cited the destruction of Sandy as an imperative.

“Sandy clearly underscored why we need to protect our buildings. We learned a lot, and we want to make sure we won’t forget those lessons,” the mayor said at a press conference.

Mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn stressed speed as being an important factor in executing Bloomberg’s plan.

“We plan to move as quickly as possible,” Quinn told the Times.

Source: Coney Island Hospital

Source: Coney Island Hospital

It’s a boy!

Sheepshead Bites offers a hearty congratulations to Anastacia St. Juste and her newborn baby Amari, a beautiful boy who is among the first to enter this world at Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) since Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012.

Amari, weighing a petite 6 pounds, 12 ounces, was born on Tuesday at 10:55 p.m., just a smidgen more than 24 hours after the reopening of the Labor & Delivery unit on Monday. Amari and his beaming mother, pictured above with Ob/Gyn chair Toni Stern, are both healthy and happy.

The reopening of the Labor & Delivery unit marks one of the final steps in Coney Island Hospital’s service recovery. Just about all units and services have returned to the hospital, including badly-needed 911 intake. The hospital shut down entirely in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, as water damaged the institution’s equipment and infrastructure, and rendered destruction in the facility’s ground floors. Repairs to the hospital and preventative measures for future floods are expected to cost more than $200 million.

If you have a question about the status specific services, you can call the hospital’s main line at (718) 616-3000.

Source: Gregory Maizous

A Coney Island Hospital doctor was honored for her leadership in helping advance the cause of the public hospital system.

Olga Golubovskaya, an MD and an associate chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway), was one of eight Brooklyn doctors and 28 city doctors overall to receive a Doctors’ Day award. Issued by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the award recognizes doctors for their leadership and commitment to advancing the mission of the public hospital system and providing the highest quality healthcare to New Yorkers.

Dr. Golubovskaya, and the other doctors were given high praise by HHC President Alan D. Aviles.

“The physicians we honor on this Doctors’ Day are vital to the well-being of our city. They are helping to make HHC a national model of safe, efficient, and patient-centered health care delivery and care deeply about our mission to serve New Yorkers regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status,” Aviles said.

Congratulations to Dr. Golubovskaya and all the other winners for their excellent service and their recognition. Keep up the good work!

Coney Island Hospital nurses go Gangnam Style during Nurse Appreciation Week.

Coney Island Hospital nurses, now fully reunited after months of work to bring Coney Island Hospital back online, celebrated National Nurses Week with five days full of events to celebrate their contributions to the hospital community.

National Nurses Week kicks off on May 6, National Nurses Day, and lasts through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It’s a week to celebrate nurses and their caregiving. But while many New York City hospitals celebrate with just a luncheon, Coney Island Hospital has been going all-out for its nurses for years – and this year’s festivities carried special meaning in a hospital devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

“[Nurses Week at Coney Island Hospital] is a time to make sure that everybody finally gets to have some fun,” said Terry Mancher, the hospital’s nursing chief. “They love it. It’s good for nurse retention and morale.”

Mancher said that while most other hospitals celebrate their nurses with a luncheon, Coney Island Hospital celebrates with a week of events. This year they had service awards, a dance crew, a Broadway Comes to CIH event, and a cultural night when the nurses share their cultural heritage with their co-workers. The week caps off with the most boisterous, electric event of them all: the Record Label Review, when scores of nurses perform songs, dances and show off costumes from major music artists.

Mancher herself even did a little impromptu Gangnam Style during the event, and joined in on Alicia Keyes’ “Girl of Fire” – although she was certain to tell the audience to delete any photos of video they took of her performance.

Coney Island Hospital nurses played a key role in helping evacuate dozens of patients into upper-floors of the hospital as Sandy’s waters crashed into the building’s lobby, flooding the first floor and basement. The facility lost power from Con Edison, and as the water rose, they also had to shut down their generators to avoid damaging. The nurses stayed with their patients, providing comfort and solace until the hospital could be fully evacuated on October 30.

While the hospital remained offline for months, nurses were redeployed at facilities around the city. In the last few months, they’ve finally been reunited, as most of the hospital’s services have been restored.

And the return to familiarity has had a marked effect on the nurses, Mancher said, leading to one of the most meaningful Nurses Week since the extravagant celebrations began approximately 15 years ago.

“Everyone’s smiling all week and it makes it better than ever,” Mancher said. “Everyone felt more united, everyone came back, and we’re finally one big happy family again.”

Photo by Maria Danalakis

PBS just published an article that delves into the complicated and confusing world of hospital grading, a system that is baffling people as to how effective and reliable their hospital choices are.

Hospitals are graded by a wide range of rating organizations, all using different metrics to sort through what they consider quality care:

The calculations that go into these ratings are complex. Most hospital assessments synthesize dozens of pieces of data Medicare publishes on its Hospital Compare website, including death rates and the results of patient satisfaction surveys. They also examine other sources and use private surveys to create user-friendly lists or grades, which they display on their websites.

The Joint Commission looks at how frequently patients received recommended treatments, such as flu shots for those with pneumonia. Consumer Reports examines the numbers of patients who die or are readmitted, infection rates and Medicare patient surveys of their experiences. Leapfrog looks at data from its surveys of hospitals, the consistency with which hospitals followed safe surgical practices and frequencies of infections and some types of patient harm. Healthgrades analyzes detailed Medicare records to find death and complication rates for 27 procedures and conditions.

I decided to take a quick look at Coney Island Hospital’s scores and found that not only was I getting different answers, but different kinds of answers depending on which grading service I used.

Leapfrog gives Coney Island Hospital a C letter grade score. When you click the link that explains how they arrived at that score, they don’t address the specific hospital in question. Instead, they give you a complicated breakdown of their scoring system in general.

Healthgrades doesn’t give a final easy to read to ranking like Leapfrog, but rather parses its rating over several various procedures. For example, according to Healthgrades, Coney Island Hospital’s treatment of collapsed lungs is ranked above average while their treatment of blood clots following surgeries are ranked below average. It lends to itself to a level of specificity that promotes more vagueness than clarity.

Overall, the article presents a fascinating look at how too much information might be limiting people in their effort to gain a clear picture of the best health care options available to them, and is well worth checking out.

Source: Gregory Maizous

The following is a press release from the Health and Hospitals Corporation:

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation announced today that for the first time since Hurricane Sandy flooded its basement and first floor, causing substantial damage to its emergency department, Coney Island Hospital is again receiving ambulances for most types of cases through the City’s 911 service.

“The restoration of ambulance service brings us one step closer to our goal of restoring all services in the facility and re-establishing ourselves as the primary health care source in southern Brooklyn,” said Arthur Wagner, the hospital’s Executive Director.

“Since the storm, Coney Island has been systematically restoring services to help meet the healthcare needs of the community,” said Dr. John Maese, Chief Medical Officer. “We are delighted to again expand our much-needed services to the community and accept 911 ambulances.”

Ambulances began arriving at Coney Island on Wednesday, February 20. The hospital is accepting most types of 911 patients, including heart attacks and stroke cases. Trauma care and labor and delivery remain closed.

Repairs are ongoing at Coney Island, and its emergency department continues to function at a reduced capacity due to storm damage. However, the hospital’s Tower Building has re-opened along with most of its inpatient beds and imaging and laboratory services, and the hospital has for several weeks been admitting walk-in patients from its emergency department and patients from other HHC facilities.

It has inpatient adult psychiatric beds available, operating rooms, as well as medical/surgical and intensive care beds. All primary and specialty outpatient clinics are open, and have been operating a fleet of mobile medical vans providing primary care services and flu shots in parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island affected by Sandy.

Photo courtesy of MDanalakis via Flickr

Source: Maria Danalakis

FEMA has approved $103 million in aid to the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation to help fund repairs at facilities including Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway).

Senator Charles Schumer announced last week that the funding would come through, according to the Wall Street Journal, and will contribute to repairs at Bellevue Hospital, Goler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Metropolitan Hospital Center in addition to Coney Island.

The $103 million package still falls far from the $810 million HHC execs said they needed to come back from Sandy at a press conference two weeks ago. That number includes $200 million for Coney Island Hospital, and is the total estimated price for repairs, revenue loss and improvements to protect against future storms.

Regardless, the FEMA grant will help fill the coffers and keep repairs underway.

“I’ve seen the damage with my own eyes, and it was devastating. I appreciate FEMA listening to our pleas and getting these funds here quickly. This is not the end of the aid that these hospitals will need – not by a long shot – and we’ll keep fighting until the hospitals have been fully restored and they can get back to what they’re good at – helping New Yorkers heal and recover,” Schumer said Thursday.

Coney Island Hospital is currently open for most outpatient and some inpatient services. They expect to be fully operational and resuming emergency room intake within the next few months.

The “all in” costs for repairing Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) and upgrading it to be better prepared for future storms is approximately $200 million, Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan Aviles told Sheepshead Bites during a press conference yesterday.

Aviles led U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and reporters on a tour of the facility, showing off the hospital’s progress nearly two and a half months after Superstorm Sandy. The two announced that repairs to the city’s public hospitals in the wake of the storm and necessary improvements will cost $810 million – an amount included in the $51 billion aid being considered in Congress.

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We’ve extensively covered the mayhem and damage visited upon Coney Island Hospital since Superstorm Sandy flooded its basement and first floor and knocked out its power late last October. A Metrofocus report now looks to the future as Coney Island Hospital, and other hospitals shut down by Sandy, begin to plan to better protect their infrastructure  and better handle mass evacuations to prevent life threatening conditions for patients in critical need.

When Sandy struck Coney Island Hospital, the situation was dire.

“It was really, really frightening because all of a sudden there were no lights […]no communication. No communication even with the telephones that we have here in the hospital. No communication with any cell phone,” Terry Mancher, the chief nursing officer at Coney Island Hospital told Metrofocus. “We were pretty much left totally by ourselves.”

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A high-powered spotlight used to illuminate Coney Island Hospital’s (2601 Ocean Parkway) construction work appears to be irking neighbors, and possibly blinding drivers.

Here’s what tipster Ed L. wrote to us:

There is a lack of concern for the neighbors and community as well as the safety of cars that come around the corner of Shore Parkway and East 6th St.  The construction crew aim the lights in the direction of Shore Pkwy and East 6th St blinding drivers as they turn the corner as well as blinding the community. I have asked for the lights to be aimed at the hospital not into the windows and streets of the community. They just don’t care.

Well, we doubt the folks there don’t care. The hospital shuttered during Sandy, and has only partially reopened as they make repairs. With thousands in the community depending on them as a 911 intake facility and provider of other critical health services, we know the team is  laboring to bring the community hospital back on line as soon as possible. But that’s no excuse for making a dangerous situation for drivers and neighbors.

Sheepshead Bites has contacted the hospital’s administration and is awaiting a response.

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