Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak chosen governor-elect of PA-ACP and more

What's new for healthcare in the Upper Delaware region, February 3 to 9

Posted 2/2/22

Delaware Valley Hospital announces Sally Dean award winner

WALTON, NY — The Sally Dean award is United Health Services—Delaware Valley Hospital’s most prestigious award. It …

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Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak chosen governor-elect of PA-ACP and more

What's new for healthcare in the Upper Delaware region, February 3 to 9

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Nurse Mandy Kilmer was recently presented with the Sally Dean award at Delaware Valley Hospital. Pictured are Rolland “Boomer” Bojo, left, Mandy Kilmer and Randy Taylor, Kilmer’s supervisor and the director of ancillary services.
Nurse Mandy Kilmer was recently presented with the Sally Dean award at Delaware Valley Hospital. Pictured are Rolland “Boomer” Bojo, left, Mandy …

Delaware Valley Hospital announces Sally Dean award winner

WALTON, NY — The Sally Dean award is United Health Services—Delaware Valley Hospital’s most prestigious award. It was created in memory of registered nurse Sally Dean, who during her tenure at Delaware Valley, treated her patients, their visitors and her co-workers with true dedication, commitment and compassion.

Each year, hospital employees are encouraged to nominate someone for the award, and this year, Mandy Kilmer, RN, received overwhelming support. Kilmer has had many roles during her tenure at Delaware Valley, and currently serves as an RN in the imaging (radiology) department.

She received her nursing degree from SUNY Delhi and began her career on the medical floor of Fox Hospital. She also worked at Bassett Hospital in the primary care clinics as a triage nurse and then became the clinical RN supervisor.

Missing the opportunity to directly care for patients, she came to Delaware Valley in 2010 to work on the medical floor here.

Mandy Kilmer is someone whose quiet and unassuming nature belies the tremendous difference she makes at DVH, said hospital community relations director Dotti Kruppo. “With patients, she exudes calmness; and her low-key but friendly bedside manner automatically puts people at ease. She explains what she is doing, listens to patients’ concerns and helps reassure them. She is always willing to lend a hand to any co-worker who may need assistance.”

In her time at Delaware Valley, Mandy has cross-trained in numerous areas and has been known to work in several departments in a single day, Kruppo said. “Mandy was extremely instrumental in getting the hospital’s new gastroenterology service up and running.”

In presenting the award, hospital president/CEO Rolland “Boomer” Bojo commented that when he first met Mandy he immediately knew how dedicated she was to Delaware Valley Hospital.

When she accepted the award, Mandy said that what makes her work so enjoyable is that everyone at DVH works as a team and it is like working and taking care of family.

New administrator at Grover Hermann

CALLICOON, NY — Maureen Donnelly, RN, has been promoted to administrator of Garnet Health Medical Center—Catskills at the Grover M. Hermann Hospital campus.

She will lead the clinical departments and facility staff and work with department leaders, community organizations, and the hospital’s auxiliary to support development at Grover M. Hermann.

Additionally, Donnelly will oversee the operations of the hospital’s nursing services and is responsible for ensuring that safe and efficient care is provided to all patients.  

To learn more about the Grover Hermann Hospital and the services provided there, visit https://www.garnethealth.org/locations/garnet-health-medical-center-catskills-callicoon-campus.

Dr. Rafik Elsabrout is a general surgeon with Garnet Health Doctors and a new member of the board.
Dr. Rafik Elsabrout is a general surgeon with Garnet Health Doctors and a new member of the board.
Bonnie Orr, CPA, is a new member of the board for Garnet Health.
Bonnie Orr, CPA, is a new member of the board for Garnet Health.

Garnet Health welcomes new board members

MIDDLETOWN, NY — Dr. Rafik Elsabrout and Bonnie Orr have joined the board of directors for Garnet Health.

Dr. Elsabrout is a general surgeon with Garnet Health Doctors. He is chief of surgery, chief of the surgical services committee, vice president of the medical staff and a member of the medical executive committee at Garnet Health—Catskills.

Bonnie J. Orr, CPA, has been a public accountant since 1981. She specializes in estates and trusts and provides tax and accounting advice to a wide range of businesses.  

She is also an officer and board member for several local charities.

To learn more about Garnet Health’s board, visit garnethealth.org/about-us.

New dentist at Wayne and Pike dental centers

HONESDALE, PA —  A desire to serve the community through affordable care, especially those for whom dental services are not readily available, made Pooja Chugh, DDS,  a perfect candidate for the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers’ (WMCHC) dental practices, a WMCHC spokeswoman said. 

Dr. Chugh now provides general dentistry for all ages at both the Together for Health Dental Center in Honesdale and the Pike Dental Center in Lords Valley.

“It’s very fulfilling and rewarding when I can contribute towards making the life of other individuals better,” said Dr. Chugh. “I have always been inclined towards the public health aspect of dentistry, and working at the community health centers is a great way for me to do that.”

She received her medical degree in dental surgery from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY.  She has also volunteered with the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Mission of Mercy Dental Project in Grundy, VA, and served as part of the university’s team for its Jamaica Dental Mission Project.

To make an appointment with Dr. Chugh, contact the respective WMCHC office, at 570/251-6534 for the Together for Health Dental Center and 570/775-7818 for Pike Dental Center.

WMCHC is a federally qualified health center clinically affiliated with Wayne Memorial Health System.  Both centers accept most private insurance, managed care plans and medical assistance. A sliding fee based on income is also offered to those who qualify. Visit https://www.wmchc.net for more information.

New clinical leader at Garnet Health

MIDDLETOWN, NY —  Mary Kate Donohue and Maureen Donnelly have been promoted at Garnet Health Medical Centers.

Donohue, an RN, has been promoted to Administrator of Cardiology Services for Garnet Health. In her new role, she will oversee the cardiology departments at Garnet Health Medical Center and at the Catskills facility. She will also be responsible for upgrades to the cardiology electronic health record system platform, planning for expansion of services in the Cardiac Catheterization labs, and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at Garnet Health Medical Center.

To learn more about career opportunities at Garnet Health, visit https://www.garnethealth.org/careers.

Garnet Health recognized for vaccinating people with developmental disabilities

MIDDLETOWN, NY — Garnet Health’s drive-through vaccination clinic for the developmentally disabled has been commended by Vaccine, an international journal.

“This incredible effort reached a population that would not have easily received vaccinations due to their special requirements,” said Dr. Pamela Murphy, chief medical officer at the hospital.

Garnet Health worked with Dr. Bruce Reidenberg, the medical director of Hudson Valley department of developmental disabilities services.

The clinic was open in early 2021 and Dr. Murphy, registered nurse Chris Costello and pharmacists Maria Russo and Michael Reilly ran it.  

The team assembled a curbside vaccination center on the hospital’s campus, making it easy for the patients to access care despite their limiting conditions, according to a release from the hospital.

All paperwork was prepared and submitted in advance and Dr. Murphy handled observation, rotating around active parking spaces during patients’ 15-minute post-vaccination period.

For more information and to read the article, visit  https://bit.ly/32DZxOw.

New medical director of urgent care services at Garnet Health Doctors

MIDDLETOWN, NY — Dr. Reena Patel is the new medical director of urgent care services at Garnet Health Doctors.

In her new role, Dr. Patel oversees urgent care physicians and advanced practice providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants. She joined Garnet Health Doctors in 2018.

Dr. Patel earned her medical degree from American University of Antigua in Coolidge, Antigua and completed her residency at St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She is board-certified in family medicine and treats patients in the Middletown, Monticello and Goshen urgent care locations.

To learn more about career opportunities at Garnet Health Doctors, visit garnethealth.org/careers.

Bon Secours Community Hospital now offers three-dimensional mammography and stereotactic breast biopsies.
Bon Secours Community Hospital now offers three-dimensional mammography and stereotactic breast biopsies.

COVID-19 care at Bon Secours

PORT JERVIS, NY — A COVID-19 recovery program offers tailored care for people with active infections or those recovering from persistent symptoms.

The program, held at Bon Secours Community Hospital, provides care to individuals at any phase of COVID-19 infection, from testing and diagnosis to treatment for lingering post-COVID syndrome symptoms.

“Our COVID-19 recovery program provides an important service to local residents suffering from COVID-19 infection and its aftereffects,” said Dr. Mary Leahy of Bon Secours Charity Health System.

Patients who test positive are referred to the program. For those experiencing post-COVID syndrome symptoms—extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, mental fogginess and more—care managers develop a plan tailored to their health needs. Each personalized COVID-19 treatment plan is led by providers with expertise in primary care, pulmonology (lungs), cardiology (heart), behavioral health, radiology and other specialties as needed.

The program is accepting new patients. To request information or have an assessment of your symptoms performed over the phone, call 845/671-2640.

New administrator of respiratory and ancillary services at Garnet Health

MIDDLETOWN, NY — Terence Comiskey has been named the new administrator of respiratory and ancillary services for Garnet Health. He will oversee respiratory care, sleep, wound care, diabetes and pulmonary rehabilitation at both Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown and Garnet Health—Catskills.

He is a registered respiratory therapist and has an MBA from Iona College.

Comiskey has managed clinical service lines and developed new service lines, leading a center that won awards for wound care and hyperbaric medicine.

To learn more about jobs at Garnet Health, visit https://garnethealth.org/careers.

The Wright Centers president/CEO chosen governor-elect of PA-ACP

SCRANTON, PA — Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of the Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, has been elected governor-elect for the eastern region of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP).

Beginning in April, she will serve one year concurrently with Dr. Lawrence H. Jones, governor of the eastern region, whose term expires in 2023. Her four-year term as governor begins in April 2023.

“I am humbled and proud to represent and advocate on behalf of my physician colleagues we represent, the profession of medicine we embody and the patients, families and communities we serve,” said Thomas-Hemak. “Our collective mission to improve health care and access has certainly been challenged by the pandemic, but we remain resolute in exceeding the high standards we strive for every day to improve the health and welfare of our communities.”

The 87-member board of governors of the ACP is an advisory board, and has representatives from Alabama to Alberta, Bangladesh to Brazil and Ontario. The elected board members advise the college’s policy-making body, the board of regents. The board of governors implements national projects and initiatives at the chapter level and represents member concerns at the national level.

Dr. Thomas-Hernak is from Jermyn, PA. She joined the Wright Center in 2000, and is board-certified in internal, pediatrics, addiction, and most recently, obesity medicine. She lives in Jermyn with her husband and three children.

 For more information about The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, go to https://www.TheWrightCenter.org or call 570/343-2383.

Marykate Grady is the Wayne Memorial Employee of the Year.
Marykate Grady is the Wayne Memorial Employee of the Year.

Grady is WMH employee of the year

HONESDALE, PA — Marykate Grady has been chosen employee of the year for Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The employee of the year is chosen from past employees of the month. The announcement was made in the hospital cafeteria to the recipients of the monthly recognition in 2021.

Grady is a nurse’s aide and was the employee of the month in September. Her nomination came with a long list of praise from her co-workers, according to a hospital news release.

“Cheerful,” “Compassionate” and “So helpful,” were among the comments, the release noted.

Grady has been with the hospital for almost four years and a hospital spokesperson described her as “clearly a delightful presence wherever she is posted.”

“God gives everyone a mission and mine is here,” Grady said. “I’ve learned from every patient I’ve been with.”

After finding out she was chosen, the Cold Springs resident added, “I would pick any one of the others for this. They’re all great.”  

Each employee of the month was given a colorful potted plant to take home.

Then-outgoing CEO David Hoff praised Grady and thanked all the employees of the month for their service.

Grady received a plaque, a permanent position on the hospital’s Employee of the Year Wall of Honor near the cafeteria and a monetary gift.

Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of the Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, recently earned board certification in obesity medicine. ..
Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of the Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, recently earned board …

Wright Center president now certified in obesity medicine

SCRANTON, PA — Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, president and CEO of the Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education, recently earned board certification in obesity medicine.

Practitioners of obesity medicine help patients manage obesity and its many comorbidities and to lose weight.

Obesity is the nation’s most prevalent chronic disease and is associated with many of the leading causes of preventable, premature death.

Physicians and patients can struggle to directly address the sensitive topic and create plans that will result in long-term success, according to a press release from the Wright Center.

Thomas-Hemak was certified by the Colorado-based American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM).

Two-thirds of U.S. patients are either overweight or obese, according to ABOM’s website.

Obesity medicine is Thomas-Hemak’s fourth board certification. She also is board-certified in internal, pediatrics and addiction medicine.

Increasingly, the Wright Center’s health care providers have been emphasizing prevention to improve health outcomes among northeast PA residents. In 2020, the center introduced both a lifestyle medicine curriculum in its graduate medical education programs and a corresponding lifestyle medicine service line for patients.

For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Wright Center for Community Health, visit https://thewrightcenter.org/ or call 570/230-0019.

Care Capacity Crisis Plan might address COVID-19 challenges in Pennsylvania health care

HARRISBURG, PA –– The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) presented state elected leaders with a plan last month to address the growing difficulty in the state for residents to access care.

Absent a comprehensive state plan to address the lack of staff that could lead to lack of care for patients, the association developed the Care Capacity Crisis Plan.

Since March 2020, long-term care has been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from PHCA. With hospitals reaching patient capacity due to increased patient intake, the capacity problem is being compounded by the struggle to discharge patients to long-term care facilities.

Long-term care providers are facing immense staffing challenges that prohibit them from accepting new residents, according to the news release.

“We understand the importance of a unified approach to overcome and combat the latest surge of health care needs as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the PHCA.

The group developed a plan which they say will hopefully allow long-term care providers to stay open and care for the “commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.”

With staffing shortages presenting the largest challenge to health care providers, PHCA  suggested regulatory changes and other ideas that can temporarily support providers with staff to help enable more hospital discharges to long-term care facilities.

A PDF version of the plan can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/3AwjGCB.

The PHCA is a statewide advocacy group that represents for-profit and nonprofit skilled nursing facilities, personal care and assisted living facilities.

For more information, visit https://www.phca.org/.

Grants available to improve access to behavioral health in rural America

NATIONWIDE — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that $13 million in funding is available for behavioral health in rural America.

It’s offered in partnership with the Rural Communities Opioid Response program’s behavioral health care support initiative.

Public and private organizations, for-profit or nonprofit, may apply. That includes faith-based organizations and federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations.  

Approximately 26 recipients will receive $500,000 each per year for a four-year period. The barriers to service that rural residents experience must be addressed, the capacity of the rural behavioral health system to deal with rural risk factors and social determinants must be improved, recipients must be part of a consortium of separately owned entities and all services must be provided in HRSA-designated rural areas.

Applications are due Tuesday, April 19.

A technical assistance webinar for applicants will be held on Thursday, February 3, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. You do not need to register in advance for the webinar. Email ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov for a link to the recording.

Applicants can begin the application process on https://www.grants.gov/.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3AxZxvT.

Support matters as you go through the grieving process.
Support matters as you go through the grieving process.

Grief support at Wayne Memorial Hospital

HONESDALE, PA — Grief might be the underlying theme of the pandemic.

Wayne Memorial Hospital is offering grief-support workshops, designed to help people cope with the grieving process.

The workshops will take place at the hospital from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. on two Thursdays, February 10 and Feburary 17.

Rev. Susan Treanor, a hospital chaplain, and Wayne Memorial home health and hospice social worker Anna May Walsh will facilitate the workshops.

“Grief is experienced by each individual very differently,” Walsh said. “There is no right or wrong way to engage in that experience. The process for each person is encountered in different ways.

“No one will be required to share, but sharing the experience often helps us understand our own losses more clearly. It makes us aware we are not alone in our feelings.”

The workshops will be held in the David Katz Conference Center on the second floor of Wayne Memorial Hospital, 601 Park St. in Honesdale. The hospital’s COVID-safety protocols must be followed, including masking and entry screening.

All those interested are asked to complete a registration form, which can be found at https://www.wmh.org.  More information can be obtained by emailing walsha@wmh.org.

Alzheimer’s Association offers February events

ONLINE — If you are a person with dementia, or the caregiver of a patient, the Hudson Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is offering online events and workshops that might help you in the journey.

A selection is below. For the full schedule for February, and for more information, visit https://www.alz.org/hudsonvalley.

Legal and Financial Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease—2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, February 3. A free virtual program featuring guest speaker and attorney Bridget Eichinger.

Something for Alz: Gentle Yoga for Everyone—10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, February 4. Gentle yoga exercises led by instructor Robin Laufer.

AlzWell social club—1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 5. Virtual social activities for memory-impaired individuals and their families. For more information or to register, contact Debbie Marks Kahn at 914/629.4464 or email dkahn28@aol.com.

Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease—11 a.m. Monday, February 7. An online program, free of charge. Learn how normal age-related changes in memory differ from potential signs of dementia and what to watch for in yourself and others. To register, contact Margaret Andracchi at mandracci@ypl.org or 914/337.1500 ext. 343.

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia—4:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 8. An online program, free of charge, in partnership with Adelphi University. Learn about the impact of Alzheimer’s, the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, the risk factors, disease stages, research, treatments and Alzheimer’s Association resources. To register, contact Debbie Perez at dperez@adelphi.com

Something for Alz: Musical Moments—10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, February 9. An online music program, free of charge, for people with dementia and their loved ones. It features music therapist Jeffrey Friedberg.

Healthy Living for your Brain and Body—1 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9. An online program, free of charge. Learn about the latest research in diet, nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity and social engagement. Get hands-on tools to develop a plan for healthy aging.

Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia—7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9. An online program, free of charge. Learn about the impact of Alzheimer’s, the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, risk factors, disease stages, research, treatments and Alzheimer’s Association resources.

Self-care for the Caregiver and Care-worker—5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23. An online panel discussion, free of charge, facilitated by the Young Professionals Alzheimer’s Council and featuring panelists Jenn Chan and Nicole Dauz.

Bon Secours Community Hospital now offers three-dimensional mammography and stereotactic breast biopsies.
Bon Secours Community Hospital now offers three-dimensional mammography and stereotactic breast biopsies.

3D mammography, stereotactic biopsies available at Bon Secours Community Hospital

PORT JERVIS, NY — More than 287,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are projected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2022. Breast cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

Bon Secours Community Hospital, which is part of Westchester Medical Center Health (WMCH), now offers three-dimensional (3D) mammography and stereotactic breast biopsy, a two-part strategy that uses advanced imaging technologies and diagnostics for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

3D mammography utilizes X-ray images from many different angles and layers of the breast to produce images with more detail than traditional, two-dimensional mammograms. The additional detail improves diagnostic accuracy, which reduces the chances of an individual needing to return to the hospital for more testing.

Stereotactic breast biopsies allow imaging specialists to use stereo imaging from 3D mammography scans to help identify the most optimal biopsy location. A sample of breast tissue is then removed with a needle, a pinpoint technique that helps spare healthy tissue.

Bon Secours Community Hospital is the only provider of 3D mammography services in the city of Port Jervis.

These services are offered in a new advanced imaging suite at the hospital, which is a component of a $40+ million Bon Secours Community Hospital modernization project initiated by WMCH—with $24.5 million in support from New York State plus contributions from community donors—to help transform healthcare delivery in and around Port Jervis.

For more information about 3D mammography and other women’s imaging services at Bon Secours Community Hospital, call 866/596.8456 or visit https://www.bonsecourscommunityhosp.org/diagnostic-imaging-and-radiology1.

Dressing down earned $250 for the Cooperage. Pictured are Jenna Mauder, left; Bonnie Korb WMCHC medical secretary and organizer of the Dress Down Days; and Arrah Fisher.
Dressing down earned $250 for the Cooperage. Pictured are Jenna Mauder, left; Bonnie Korb WMCHC medical secretary and organizer of the Dress Down …

Dressing down pays: Wayne’s Community Health Centers donate to Cooperage

HONESDALE, PA — It’s pretty simple. Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers employees pay $5 to wear street clothes to work one day a month.

In December, they raised $250 and donated it to the nonprofit Cooperage Project, also located in Honesdale.

“We’re exceptionally grateful for the generosity of the healthcare workers,” said Arrah Fisher, executive director of The Cooperage. “The money is going toward our ongoing food relief programs.”

The Cooperage, plus the Area Agency on Aging, work with local farms and food businesses to provide fresh and frozen prepared meals to Wayne County senior citizens.

There is also a healthy-snacks program for students in grades K-12 in the Wayne Highlands School District, said Jenna Mauder, agriculture and food program manager at The Cooperage.

Wayne Memorial Hospital announces the following births:

Riley Ann Rokosz was born December 26, 2021 to Samantha and Steven Rokosz of Hawley, PA. Maternal grandparents are Carolee and Donny Maurice of Hawley. Paternal grandparents are Nita and Steve Rokosz of Hawley.

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