River Hospital Begins Its 9th Year
With the celebration of its 8th Anniversary on April 15th 2011, River Hospital eagerly looks forward to the progress planned for the 9th year of business. The month of April includes a national recognition week for Healthcare Volunteer Week, April 10th through 16th. This makes a great time to say thank you to some of the ‘unsung heroes’ who have volunteered their time to contribute toward the growth thus far.
Past and present members of the Board of Directors, Hospital Auxiliary, and other community members give selflessly of their time and energy to assist with a variety of responsibilities and tasks from governance to gardening activities, and filing to philanthropy efforts. The old adage says “It takes a community to raise a child” can also be modified to state “It takes a community to grow a hospital”. Involvement at all levels adds to the quality experience patients receive when they come to River Hospital and River Community Clinic for their health care services.
It is the mission of River Hospital to provide compassionate, cost effective and accessible, primary health care to the year round and seasonal residents, and visitors of the River Communities. The hospital prides itself on high quality outpatient, inpatient andspecialty services to meet individual and community needs through partnerships with our patients andcommunities we serve. Sincere thanks to all volunteers and staff who have contributed, and who continue to contribute towards carrying out our mission. River Hospital Foundation is planning a reception to thank our volunteers. Watch for details as they become available.
For more information about becoming a volunteer for the hospital please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.riverhospital.org or 4 Fuller Street, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607. For information about volunteering for hospital events please visit www.riverhospitalfoudation.orgor contact the Foundation Office 315-482-4976.
Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011
River Hospital Foundation Appoints
Andrea C. Bates, Alexandria Bay, has been named as the River Hospital Foundation Executive Director of Development. This position has been designed to assist in the implementation of a long-range fundraising plan, such as planned giving, in addition to working with River Hospital to assist in strategic planning, marketing and grant securing efforts.
Ms. Bates is a graduate of Houghton College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has experience in marketing, planning and developing a capital campaign, as well as planning events and fundraising initiatives.
Ms. Bates has been employed by Jefferson Community College, Watertown, as Community Services Coordinator. She was also Alumni Development Officer at the College and currently serves on the Macsherry Library Board of Directors, Alexandria Bay. She is married to Geronimo Bates, owner of Northern Tree Surgery.
Andrea Bates will begin her new position April 4th and will be located at the River Hospital Foundation office on Route 12, Alexandria Bay. She will join Jodi Kemple, River Hospital Foundation’s Office Manager and Event Coordinator.
Ms. Bates states “I’m very excited to be working for River Hospital and in the River Community. River Hospital is a huge asset to our area, and I’m looking forward to letting everyone know what a treasure we have.” River Hospital and River Hospital Foundation are pleased to have her join the team in fulfilling the vision and mission to meet the health care needs of the River Communities.
Posted on Monday, April 4, 2011
The Year in Review
Throughout this past year River Hospital has undergone a number of changes and improvements. Having come through the effects of the very difficult decision to close the Skilled Nursing Home to spare the financial viability of the other quality health care services offered by River Hospital, efforts have been made to advance forward. Given that River Hospital IS the only hospital in a 30 mile radius, there is a significant population who do rely on this facility for their emergency and non-emergency health care needs for themselves and their families. The Board of Directors and Administrative staff have taken on the task of developing a new strategic plan to identify where health care needs exist and to create options to address those needs.
A variety of visible patient access and convenience changes have been underway. Patients and visitors who have been to this facility in the past will immediately notice the change in Registration process upon entering the hospital. In February 2011 renovations were completed to relocate and expand the Registration/Admissions area, which allows for a more patient friendly flow and more private setting for the outpatient and emergency registration process. Adjacent to the new registration area is the new waiting area with a dedicated access point for the Emergency Department. The former Registration area has been converted to a private triage area where emergency room patients are initially screened and evaluated by the clinical staff. The waiting area used previously for the combined Emergency and Lab waiting remains unchanged for the comfort of patients waiting for Lab services.
River Hospital continues to offer inpatient acute care and rehabilitative services, and maintains a license for 24 inpatient beds. Second floor renovations now offer a much more efficient and patient centered care unit that is segregated from the outpatient traffic flow, and offers the prime views of the St. Lawrence River which we believe are very comforting to our patients.
At this current time the inpatient Pharmacy is settling into a larger area to accommodate its needs. Through grant funding from New York State Department of Health, River Hospital was able to purchase an automated drug dispensing unit to improve cost capturing and inventory controls. Units have been purchased for the Emergency Department, Ambulatory Surgical Unit, as well as the main Pharmacy. These new dispensing units have also allowed for more efficient hands-on treatment with quicker access to the drugs necessary for patient care.
The Ambulatory Surgical Unit continues to grow and River Hospital continues to consider additional services for this unit which would be appropriate under the guidelines of a Critical Access Hospital. Cynthia Otis, RN, joined the ASU staff this past year as the Director of Surgical Services. Other changes in personnel appointments in this unit came with the acceptance of Prasad Yitta, MD as the Medical Director of Ambulatory Services.
Services offered in the ASU are provided by the following surgeons: Dr. Prasad Yitta, a General Surgeon who performs hernia repair, breast biopsy, excision of skin lesions and lipomas, as well as general and local procedures; Dr. David Ewing-Chow, an Ophthalmologist, of Jefferson Eye Surgeons, who performs blepharoplasty surgery (correction of ‘droopy eyelids’), strabismus surgery (correction of ‘lazy eyes’), as well as surgery to correct mal-positioned eyelids, ‘watering eyes’, and removal of skin cancers in the facial region; Dr. Gregory Joy, Ophthalmologist of Jefferson Eye Surgeons, who performs cataract removal using no stitch, small incision, topical anesthetic techniques, endoscopic cyclo-photocoagulation laser surgery to treat glaucoma, refractive surgery to correct astigmatism of the cornea, corneal transplants, trabeculectomy for relief of glaucoma, and chilation therapy for the removal of calcium deposits in the eye; Dr. Jiri Bem, Colorectal Surgeon, of Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, who locally performs large intestine/colon biopsies, polypectomy, colonoscopy, colo-recttal cancer and pylyps, deseases of the colon and rectum, Hemorrhoidal problems, anorectal problems, rectal bleeding, and constipation; Dr. William Harmand, ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) Surgeon, of Upstate Medical Center performs tonsil and adenoidectomy, tube placements, recurrent sinuses, rhinoplasty, and paranasal sinus diseases. The anesthesioligst services are provided by Dr. Rebecca Tan-Alberto (MD), Director of Anesthesia. Continue to watch for additional surgical services currently under consideration.
Dr. Yitta is the newly appointed River Hospital Medical Director, replacing Dr. Harriet Burris who has stepped down from this position she held since 2006. We are very thankful to both for their roles at this facility. Dr. Burris remains the Medical Director of the Emergency Department, where round-the-clock emergency services are provided by four physicians and six physician assistants.
River Community Clinic is maximizing the use of the additional clinic space added in May of 2008. The on-campus primary family health care continues to grow with a variety of medical professionals. The four full time medical providers care for inpatient and outpatients and they are Aaron Huizenga, DO(Doctorof Osteopathic Medicine); Mahreen Razzaq, MD; Cynthia Simpson, Certified Family Nurse Practioner (FNP-C); and Jeniffer Alberry, Certified Family Nurse Practioner (FNP-C). Visiting specialists are available for office visits at River Community Clinic as well. They include Dr. Prasad Yitta (MD), Dr. William Harmand (ENT), Dr. Jiri Bem (MD), and recently Dr. Peter Dargie (OB/GYN) began offering specialized gynecological services at River Community Clinic.
This past month Dr. Aaron Huizenga was appointed as River Community Clinic Medical Director, and Christine Jewett, RN, was appointed as Clinic Manager. Primary, preventive and specialty care appointments for any of these providers at River Community Clinic may be made by calling the Clinic at 315-482-2094.
Pay Bill On Line feature is returning soon to the River Hospital website, www.riverhospital.org. The final details are being reviewed to improve security and stay with the changing times. This has been a feature enjoyed by patients in the past and should be on line in the very near future.
River Hospital also continues to seek Outreach Program Opportunities to provide services in the community and develop partnerships with agencies in the tri-county region. Additionally, some grant funding received by the hospital this past year was used toward activities to improve health & wellness. One such grant focused on diabetes and increased activity which allowed an opportunity to work with the Alexandria Central’s fifth grade classes on nutrition and activity. A separate grant allowed River Hospital to take a lead role to initiate a training day at Fort Drum’s Simulation Training Center for regional Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and area Emergency Room personnel. Working together with Fort Drum Regional Health Organization and Jefferson County EMS, the focus of this event was to improve networking with local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) affiliates and hospitals, and was entitled ‘Battlefield Emergency Care: What can combat medicine teach us from the scene to the ER?’
River Hospital works closely with River Hospital Foundation in collaborative efforts for the betterment of the community. Hospital staff members and community volunteers work together with the Foundation staff on fundraising efforts which benefit the hospital. The Foundation’s ‘paver walkway’ project was put into place his past Fall where it has great exposure around the flag pole for patients and visitors to view. This beautiful engraved stone display was inspired by staff members of the hospital.
Planning for the future will always be a high priority for the Hospital and Foundation. Through the many generous donations of community, and the recent significant bequeath of Mrs. Naomi Custis adding to previous contributions from her and her late husband, it is critical to maintain a vision for the future. Endowments and gifts such as these will help bring stability to the core mission and a basis from which to grow, noting that contributions are not used for day to day operations.
To learn more about Foundation activities and philanthropic efforts you may contact the River Hospital Foundation at 315-482-4976. More information about the Foundation’s mission or to make donations online can be found on-line at www.riverhospitalfoundation.org.
River Hospital and River Community Clinic are very proud to offer the high quality health care services to the River Communities. Letters and cards of appreciation are frequently received from in-patients and out-patients alike, to extend their appreciation for the pleasant and professional care they received at this facility. We appreciate the tremendous support from the community’s year-round and seasonal residents, and visitors to the area who recognize River Hospital as a quality and reliable source for medical care, and a significant asset to the River Communities. We are proud of the services and care we offer.
Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2011
OB-Gyn Clinic Hours Set For River Hospital
Alexandria Bay - Dr. Peter Dargie, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Potsdam, will begin having office hours every other Saturday morning at River Community Clinic beginning Feb. 12. He is approved for a gynecological office practice at River, and appointments may be made by calling the clinic at 482-2094.
Dr. Dargie is a 1991 graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School and served his residency at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., from June 1991 to June 1995. He has been the attending physician for obstetrics and gynecology at Canton-Potsdam Hospital since 1995 and is chairman of the department. He has his own practice at 190 Outer Main Street in Potsdam.
His undergraduate work was at Assumption College, Worcester, Mass., and Boston University.
Dr. Dargie and his wife, Lisa, RN, MSN, who reside in Potsdam, have four children. He enjoys farming, hunting, fishing and scuba diving.
Posted on Wednesday, February 2, 2011
River Hospital Nursing Facility One YearLater
Alexandria Bay – In February 2010, River Hospital announced its intention to close the skilled nursing facility, to the surprise of many residents in the 1000 islands.
It was at about this time last year that hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Moore III explained to a largely unhappy public that keeping the nursing care facility open would not be a financially sound decision. The skilled nursing facility was operating at a loss, creating a drain on finances that the hospital board feared could affect the entire institution.
Now, at the beginning of February 2011, renovations at the hospital that make it more accommodating to patients and staff are nearly complete.
The most obvious modifications is the main entrance of the hospital. A new registration and emergency room check-in area have been built in the former adult daycare center, affording patients privacy they lacked when the check-in area was in the lobby/laboratory waiting area. A waiting area is located adjacent to the new check-in area, with a direct entrance into the emergency room. A private, rather than open triage room within the emergency room has also been constructed. With the aid of a grant, a security monitoring system had been installed within the registration office, providing 24 hour live views of the two main hallways and two hospital entrances.
On the second floor, acute patients have been moved from the eat end, which was formerly inhabited by skilled nursing facility residents.
Most of the patients’ rooms have been transformed into offices for patient support services like social services and nutrition, and administrative services. One room was set aside for private physical therapy sessions.
Remaining patient rooms for acute and “swing” patients were refitted with proper monitoring equipment, have received new oxygen lines, and have been redecorated.
A room formerly occupied by four nursing facility beds is now a spacious waiting room for ambulatory surgery. In the past, families of surgical patients waited in a hallway area.
A cramped pharmacy on the second floor will be moved to an expanded, more efficient space.
Mr. Moore explained that the renovations have a cost total of $110,000. Most of the work was done by an “in-house” work force.
Due to the changes in function over the past year, River Hospital will receive an additional $500,000 in Medicare funding.
A strategic plan will be formulated by the board of trustees and a consultant in the near future, to determine the health facility’s continued evolution.
Posted on Wednesday, February 2, 2011
River Hospital Bequeathed $3 million From Custis Estate
River Hospital had been names a beneficiary in the will of Naomi Custis, bringing the monetary donations by the Custis family to more than $6 million, over the past few years.
Alexandria Bay – River Hospital has received word that it will be the recipient of an additional $3 million dollars from the estate of the late Naomi Holt Custis.
This is the second bequest from her will since her death in March 2009. The first increment, for a sum of 1.5 million dollars was bestowed upon River Hospital upon her death.
River Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ben Moore III said he and the board of trustees are floored at the amount of money that has come to the hospital by the Custis estate.
The board was aware that the hospital would be named recipient of additional funds, but only after money is distributed to other beneficiaries of Mrs. Custis’ holdings.
Mr. Moore explained that Mrs. Custis’ will specified that the bequest cannot be used for operational costs, but rather for capital improvements. “I was stunned to hear the amount we’re receiving, “ Mr. Moore said, “We owe it to her to use the money appropriately to support the institution. We feel a deep obligation to her legacy.”
The board of trustees will meet in March or April to discuss an overall strategic plan for the health facility, and whether or not this new endowment will be utilized at this time.
Naomi Custis was a summer resident of Grindstone Island for most of her life. Her husband, John Keith Custis, left River Hospital $1.5 million upon his death in 1989.
When the hospital was in danger of closing its doors around 2001, Naomi was instrumental in keeping it afloat with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions. Yet, she was unwilling to let her generosity be known. Once the probate is complete, the hospital may receive an additional monetary gift.
Besides Naomi’s commitment to the hospital, she loved volunteering, drawing portraits and was devoted to living an active river life. She enjoyed boating, swimming and canoeing in the river.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Rural Hospital Flexibility Award for River Hospital
Through a New York State Department of Health grant funding opportunity, Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, awarded to River Hospital; it was possible for the hospital to actively initiate efforts to improve networking with the local Emergency Medical Service affiliates. With coordinating participation from the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, Fort Drum Medical Simulation Training Center and Jefferson County Emergency Medical Service (EMS), a hands-on training event was held on May 26, 2010 at the Simulation Training Center for the regional EMT’s, entitled “Battlefield Emergency Care: What can combat medicine teach us from the scene to the ER?”. This training day was opened to Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence County area Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and emergency room physicians.
The day consisted of classroom training topics including “The US Army Medical Department’s Contributions to Modern Medicine”, “Tactical Combat Casualty Care: Medics on the Battlefield”, and “Traumatic Brain Injury”.
Following lunch at the Fort Drum Commons, attendees participated in hands –on training in the skill centers on the topics of “Care Under Fire”, “Tactical Field Care”, and “Evacuation”.
This event filled to capacity and received very positive feedback. It offered an opportunity not only for River Hospital’s Emergency Room personnel and regional EMS personnel to network with each other, but also provided an opportunity for them to network with Military Medics and compare similarities and differences of administering emergency medicine under the various conditions.
This Department of Health grant work-plan was written by River Hospital to include equipment purchases for EMS departments attending the training day from the River Hospital service area. Drawing ideas from the simulated training, Cynthia Nelson, on behalf of River Hospital, was pleased to present Alexandria Bay Rescue Squad, Thousand Islands Emergency Rescue Service (TIERS) and Redwood Ambulance Squad with a SKEDCO Basic Rescue System, designed for rescues and evacuations form confined spaces and high angles, with patient protection and security in mind. It is specially designed to slide under and around a patient, immobilize and secure the patient for easier movement to a stretcher.
In addition to the Basic Rescue System, Alexandria Bay Rescue received a SKEDCO floatation accessory for use in their Fire Boat, in the case of a water rescue, as well as a GPS unit for their rig. River Hospital’s Emergency Department was able to purchase an EZ-IO System, which is used when it is difficult to access a sufficient vein for medication administration.
Through similar funding in 2009, River Hospital was able to provide TIERS Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) instruction to several individuals, most of whom were initial certifications. This instruction filled a need for the EMS providers and created the opportunity for them and River Hospital to establish greater rapport and understanding of the two separate entities.
River Hospital is pleased to have taken a leading role in this networking and training opportunity for health care providers involved in emergency services in our region. Through this cooperative effort it is possible to provide this region with quality health care.
Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010
Now Offering Corneal Transplant Services for the North Country
River Hospital is pleased to announce that Dr. Gregory Joy, of its Ophthalmology Services Department, is now offering corneal transplant services for the North Country. This surgery involves the placement of corneal grafts which are used to repair damaged or compromised corneas. The cornea is the transparent tissue that covers the pupil and iris. Corneal transplantation is utilized when defects of the cornea significantly restrict light from entering the eye causing major vision problems. Transplant tissue is human eye tissue that has been donated and processed by the Central New York Eye Bank. River Hospital became licensed as a tissue bank by the New York State Department of Health in order to support this new health care intervention. River Hospital is pleased to add this innovative surgical procedure to its already wide array of Ophthalmological services they provide. As always, Jefferson Eye Surgeons and River Hospital are committed to providing the best and most innovative eye care to the North Country and surrounding areas.
Posted on Wednesday, June 2, 2010
River Community Clinic & Specialists Accepting New Patients!
All Providers are accepting new patients at River Community Clinic.
Consider scheduling your next appointment now!
Dr. Huizenga, Dr. Razzaq, Cynthia Simpson FNP-C, and Jeniffer Alberry FNP-C
Specialty Surgeons also provide office hours, and most cases do not require a referral. Call today to learn how we can provide the quality medical care you deserve!
Call the Clinic for an appointment.
Monday - Friday
7:30 am - 5:30 pm
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