NY State Hospital Review and Planning Council Recommends Approval of Good Samaritan Hospital Cardiac Surgery Application

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New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council recommended granting approval of Good Samaritan HospitalÂ?s Certificate of Need (CON) application for an adult cardiac surgery program at the Rockland County hospital.

Accepting the endorsement and recommendation of the state Department of Health, New York State Hospital Review and Planning Council recommended granting approval of Good Samaritan Hospital’s Certificate of Need (CON) application for an adult cardiac surgery program at the Rockland county hospital.

A final decision on the application will be rendered shortly by Dr. Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr. P.H., New York State Commissioner of Health, who will act based on the Council’s recommendation.

When approved by Commissioner Novello, Good Samaritan Hospital will add a comprehensive cardiac program to its service area in Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties. Good Samaritan’s program builds on established clinical partnerships with Westchester Medical Center, who will act as academic affiliate. Construction on the new facilities is expected to begin within three months, with the actual surgical suite to open in approximately 18 months.

Mr. Dominick Stanzione, CEO of the Bon Secours Charity Health System, a regional Catholic health system of which Good Samaritan Hospital is a member, commented on the approval, saying, “We are gratified that the process of approval has moved forward. The people of Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties deserve convenient access to the highest level of interventional cardiac care that this surgical program will provide. Having these services available to the growing population base will save lives in our region, and enhance the quality of life for scores of people living in these communities.”

Community support for this application has been both widespread and highly vocal. Support from county, regional and community officials, business leaders, the labor unions, major health and civic organizations, and representatives of virtually every one of the community’s diverse religious communities weighed in with their support. But perhaps most importantly, over 4,000 letters of support from the citizens of Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties were received in Albany.

Once Commissioner Novello’s final approval is granted, Good Samaritan’s cardiac surgery program will fill a critical void for residents of Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties by making comprehensive cardiac care and educational outreach more readily accessible. Although Good Samaritan began performing life-saving emergency angioplasty procedures on patients experiencing heart attacks as of October 31, 2003, no medical institution in the 130-mile corridor west of the Hudson River – from the New Jersey border to Albany – was able to offer comprehensive cardiac surgery. This region’s growing population is currently underserved in cardiac services, which has created the potentially life-threatening situations that this program is designed to combat.

The need for interventional cardiac services in the Rockland, Orange and Sullivan County service area was pointed up in testimony delivered to the committee by Dr. David Brogno, an Interventional Cardiologist with privileges at Columbia-New York Presbyterian Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital, as well as at both Valley and Englewood Hospitals in New Jersey. Dr. Brogno highlighted alarming statistics in his testimony that showed cardiac mortality rates to be higher than the national average in Rockland, Orange and Sullivan Counties, partially attributable to these patients traveling out-of-state for cardiac care.

Dr. Brogno also testified that Good Samaritan Hospital recently became the first hospital in the nation to be awarded a Certificate of Distinction for the Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The certification was awarded following an extensive on-site review of the hospital’s protocols, systems and procedures for heart attack patients by the prestigious health care rating body. This disease specific certification by JCAHO means Good Samaritan has met the highest quality national standards for the management of patients who present in the emergency department with a heart attack.

The Bon Secours Health System has promised a substantial capital commitment to develop the needed facilities and programs for cardiac surgery at Good Samaritan. Bon Secours, parent organization of Good Samaritan Hospital, has the financial depth to make the initial capital investment, and will support working capital needs during the program’s initiation. This commitment is estimated at approximately $17 million, all of which will be provided without any New York State bonding.

Good Samaritan Hospital has already established the medical relationships it requires to carry forth this initiative. Expert clinical guidance and support for the cardiac surgery and angioplasty programs will be provided by Westchester Medical Center. Over the past ten years, Good Samaritan has built a solid clinical relationship with Westchester Medical Center in several clinical areas such as neonatal care and trauma services.

Significantly, eleven cardiologists – representing a total of 23 practicing cardiologists from Greater Rockland County, stood during committee testimony to show their support for Good Samaritan’s application.

“This approval is an important step forward in providing critically-needed cardiac services to the people of the Lower Hudson Valley,” commented Stanzione. “We are grateful for the heartfelt and vocal community support and the support of the medical community that helped to bring this issue to the forefront for consideration. We look forward to a positive outcome with Commissioner Novello, and to quickly developing the necessary facilities, staff and protocols needed to conduct a very successful surgical program that serves our community.”

Good Samaritan Hospital is a member of Bon Secours Health System, Inc., one of the nation’s leading Catholic healthcare systems. It is also part of the regional Bon Secours Charity Health System, which includes St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, NY and Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, New York. Additionally, Bon Secours Charity Health System provides the services of a Certified Home Health Agency, two long-term care facilities, an assisted living and adult home facility and several other medical programs. For more information about Good Samaritan Hospital, or any of its programs, contact Good Samaritan Hospital at 845-368-5000, or log on to http://www.goodsamhosp.org.

Media Contact:

John Lonsdorf

R&J Public Relations

(973) 331-1070

Jlonsdorf@RandJpr.com

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