POTSDAM - The 2011 was a year of growth and enhancement of services and providers for Canton-Potsdam Hospital. To help meet the needs of the community, providers have been added as active affiliates of the Hospital, including: Dr. Mariam Asar, Psychiatry; Dr. Steven Berk, Ophthalmology; Dr. George Dodds, Hospitalist; Dr. Brian Kerrigan, Family Practice; Andrew LaFrance, NP; Melanie Lukesh, NP; Jorge Mangual, CRNA; Cvetlana Pyatigorskaya, NP; and Robert Worden, CRNA. New part-time affiliates include Dr. Anthony Dowidowicz, Emergency Medicine; Dr. Waguih Kirollos, Gynecological Surgery; and Dr. Hasan Rahman, Psychiatry.
The Hospital completed construction of its Center for Cancer Care, attached to the main building. The new facility creates a comprehensive center for cancer care, uniting the Warner Cancer Treatment Center, formerly located off-campus on Market Street, and the medical oncology unit that was housed in the main hospital. The Center houses the region's newest linear accelerator, features open-design access for greater patient comfort, and is among the very few buildings in the North Country using geothermal heating and cooling. The linear accelerator targets cancer cells with tremendous accuracy, greatly reducing the impact on healthy cells. The new Center offers patients convenient access to essential hospital services such as laboratory and imaging.
Major investments at the EJ Noble Professional Medical Building in Canton included the construction of a contemporary medical office facility, which houses the specialties of pediatrics, family health, and urology. Re-bricking of the existing building's façade corrects water penetration and heat loss issues. In 2012, work will begin to upgrade the original building's interior and relocate services.
Dramatic growth in emergency department volumes (25,000 visits in a space designated for 15,000) required the Hospital to renovate and expand. Work included the addition of two new treatment rooms, upgrade of the original ten treatment rooms, installation of bedside documentation computer systems, renovation to an open-design nurses' station (to allow for more visibility and patient monitoring), touch-screen displays, and a flat-screen television locator board to track medical orders for patients being treated and those within the waiting area. The Department plans to create two more patient treatment rooms and utility rooms in 2012. Also scheduled will be installation of breakaway doors and added square footage within the resuscitation and trauma area.
Physical Therapy Services added to the Brasher Falls community have been remarkably well received. Appointments are available five days/week.
In January of 2011, the Potsdam Physical Therapy service relocated to newly constructed space at 49 Lawrence Avenue next to St. Lawrence Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Expansion of the existing Occupational Therapy program is planned for 2012.
A Vice President-level Quality and Patient Safety position filled in 2011 commits powerful resources to achieving quality outcomes, process improvement and cost reduction.
After months of preparation by cross-functional teams, a state-of-the-art enterprise-wide computer system was installed. The new software improves communication between doctors and healthcare staff therein reducing the risk of human errors in the delivery of healthcare. With electronic medical records, inpatient clinical, and financial/administrative modules, the hospital is now positioned to take advantage of governmental financial incentives that were offered on an aggressive timeline.
Separate, specialized electronic medical record software was installed to address the unique needs of both the emergency department and off-site clinical locations. The systems are designed to integrate with the hospital's enterprise-wide system.
In December of 2011, the Hospital took measures to enhance security for the safety and privacy of patients, visitors, and staff. The initial focus was on the emergency department and patient registration areas and includes limiting visitors and locking secondary access entrances by 6:30 p.m. Beginning January 2012, patients and visitors will find remote lock-down mechanisms on entrance doors, badge access only into the emergency department, visual monitoring equipment installed, and revised visitation policies in place for all patient units. Future measures will address remaining on and off-campus locations.
Since the 2011 arrival of the Hospital's new low-dose CT scanner, radiation exposure to patients has been halved. Initially offered to patients undergoing head, neck, and abdominal scans, the equipment quickly became used on all patients requiring a CT scan. Additional cutting-edge technology upgrades are planned for 2012.
In early 2011, the Hospital joined the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's Project JOINTS (Joining Organizations IN Tracking SSI) Initiative, a federally-funded program designed to speed adoption of proven methods to prevent surgical site infections after hip and knee replacement surgery. The program has been extremely successful.
A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals from nursing, housekeeping, nutritional services and administration implemented a falls prevention program, which has shown tremendous results. Patients at risk for falls wear easily identifiable garments and are taught how to reduce their risks both in a healthcare setting and at home. The staff on medical/surgical 3rd floor celebrated more than 100 days without a fall.
The Hospital signed an agreement to participate in IPRO's 10th Statement of Work, designed to align with the goals of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The agreement mirrors the Hospitals steadfast commitment of promoting and providing safe, affordable, effective, coordinated care.
After a long history of accreditation with the same organization, Canton-Potsdam challenged itself to meet the stringent criteria of Det Norske Neritas (DNV) Healthcare. Certification requires implementation of the nationally renowned ISO9001 safety and quality standards within a three-year period.
A new program to monitor patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) after they have gone home from the hospital improves their health and reduces the number and frequency of hospital re-admissions. An RN stays in communication with patients to help monitor follow-up physician visits, medication usage and physical activity, in accordance with a plan tailored to each patient's needs.
Pat Ellis, NP, Director of St. Lawrence University's Student Health and Counseling Center and R. Sheldon Johnson '68 and Virginia H. Johnson Endowed Chair was a featured clinical leader-educator in an American College Health association-approved webinar series hosted by the National College Depression Partnership, an affiliate program of New York University. The webinar provided college health and counseling professionals with training in the latest advances in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of depression in college students. In addition, Ms. Ellis was a contributing author of A Pilot for Improving Depression Care on College Campuses: Results of the College Breakthrough Series-Depression (CBS-D) Project, published in the Journal of American College Health.
In April, the Hospital launched its revised website, designed to provide visitors with up-to-date health education. The changes include physician reviewed health articles provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, one of the world's largest continually-enhanced online consumer health information libraries. Visitors also have access to education and research documents, procedure and follow-up instructions, and an interactive symptom navigator.
Working collaboratively with other health-centered organizations within the County, Canton-Potsdam Hospital has been successful in making dozens of health fairs, screenings, workshops, and continuing education sessions available to the community. Support groups and "Ask the Doctor" events are increasingly well-attended.
The need for charity care is greater than ever. Despite reimbursement cuts, Canton-Potsdam Hospital contributed more than $1.15 million in charity care in 2011.
The Hospital Foundation's $2.3 million Constructing Healthier Communities Campaign raises monies for the construction of the Center for Cancer Care, renovations to the E.J. Noble Medical Office Building, and construction and renovations to the Lawrence Avenue Medical Campus. The campaign has already raised $2 million in pledges with more than $800,000 in gifts paid to date. The public will be invited to donate toward the campaign in 2012.