Elmhurst Hospital - Jackson Heights
April 19, 2010 / Elmhurst & Jackson Heights / Queens Buzz. I arranged to conduct an interview and take a tour of the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. The hospital’s Associate Executive Director of External Affairs, Dario Centorcelli made time in his schedule to accommodate my visit. I arrived mid morning and we immediately struck up a lively dialogue about Elmhurst and Queens hospitals which would last past lunchtime. During that time I found Dario had a near encyclopedic mind about the hospitals in Queens. In the photo to your left you see surgery being performed at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
Click here to read the rest of the story including numerous photos and a slide show of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens NY.
Queens Hospitals – Public Hospitals In Queens
Continued / Elmhurst. There are currently ten hospitals operating in Queens, which is down from fourteen hospitals operating in the borough just five years ago. Seven of the ten hospitals currently operating in the Queens are: 1) Elmhurst Hospital [Elmhurst Jackson Heights], 2) Flushing Hospital [Flushing], 3) Jamaica Hospital [Jamaica], 4) Mount Sinai Hospital [Long Island City / LIC], 5) New York Hospital [Flushing / Jamaica], 6) North Shore LIJ Hospital [Forest Hills / Kew Gardens] and 7) Queens Hospital Center. In the photo to your left you see the automated pharmacy run at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
Unfortunately within the past five years, four other hospitals have had to close their doors for various reasons, but as one can imagine, finances played a role. The hospitals that closed are: 1) Mary Immaculate Catholic once a part of St Vincent’s Medical [Jamaica], 2) St Johns also once a part of St Vincent’s Medical [Elmhurst / Jackson Heights], 3) Parkway Hospital [Forest Hills] and 4) St Joseph’s Hospital [Briarwood].
Elmhurst Hospital History
Elmhurst Hospital first began in 1957 as a general hospital. Over time Elmhurst Hospital grew to become a major medical center and is now a level one trauma center, which means that it is capable of handling disasters. Elmhurst Hospital is also an acute care hospital and a major tertiary center.
Queens Public Hospitals & HHC
Elmhurst Hospital is one of only two city-run hospitals in the borough of Queens [the other of which is Queens Hospital in Jamaica]. Both of these hospitals are a part of the Health and Hospitals Corporation [HHC] of New York City, which was founded in 1970.
HHC is a public benefit corporation designed to oversee the NYC public healthcare system in Queens and other NYC boroughs. The president Alan Aviles reports to the HHC Board of Directors, which is comprised of mayoral appointees and borough president appointed representatives. Each borough president appoints at least one of the sixteen board members.
Elmhurst Hospital receives the majority its funding from Medicaid payments and city funding. The idea behind city funding of hospitals and healthcare in general is to maintain a healthy population as many diseases can be contagious and worker illnesses are a drag on economic productivity.
Elmhurst Hospital Employees, Size And Statistics
Today approximately 4,000 people work at Elmhurst Hospital, of which about 3,500 are HHC employees. The remaining 500 are doctors who work at Elmhurst, and comprise about twelve percent of the hospital staff. The doctors are supplied by Mt Sinai Medical School of NYC in a contract between the school and the hospital. This arrangement between the two organizations dates back to the early 1960’s. We understand that about 75% of Elmhurst Hospital employees are from the borough of Queens.
Elmhurst Hospital handled about 29,000 inpatient visits within the last year and over 600,000 outpatient visits over the same time span. Patients are generally admitted either through the emergency room or via offsite clinics.
Patient Care / Specialties At Elmhurst Hospital
Elmhurst Hospital births over 4,000 babies every year. Hence the hospital does about 20% of its work with women, from birthing to helping women manage general health issues. And about 20% of its efforts are dedicated toward pediatrics, providing prenatal and early child healthcare as well as guidance toward the long-term health of the children. About 10% of the hospital’s effort is related to cardiology, which is a growing area of expertise at the hospital. Opthalmic care is also a growing specialty at Elmhurst Hospital, arising from an aging Queens borough population.
Approximately 15% of the cases handled by the hospital include trauma situations, coming in via the emergency room. This includes things from car accidents to fires; as well as receipt of patients suffering trauma from other hazardous conditions. Orthopedics is a growing are of specialization at the hospital as it is a natural follow on to trauma. Orthopedic personnel help correct skeletal misalignments that can happen from the result of accidents / trauma.
Healthcare Technology Used By Doctors & Medical Specialties
Labor & Pediatrics
As mentioned earlier Elmhurst Hospital dedicates a lot of its medical staff effort toward helping women and children. Elmhurst doctors and staff provide a full range of services focused on the birthing of children and the subsequent management of their health.
Applied Robotics - Xrays & Pharmacists
Elmhurst Hospital now uses robots for many repetitive tasks, such as archivingx-rays so that they are easily filed and retrieved. Elmhurst Hospital and HHC areworking toward the digitization of medicalrecords to improve
efficiency, accuracy and transference of medical records, so that the doctors can access patient’s files when and where they need them. Naturally there are patient privacy and security issues, which need to be addressed before any such system is implemented.
Robots are also used in the Elmhurst Hospital pharmacy. In this case pharmacy prescriptions are weighed, counted and filled by robots at the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
DaVinci Surgical Robot - Prostate
Medical doctors can now use a robot [DaVinci] to do more precise incisions. This results in less blood loss, less scarring and less chance of infection. The first robotic surgery in Queens occurred at Elmhurst Hospital – it was a prostatectomy, which is the partial or total removal of a prostate.
Wireless Capsule Endoscopy - Gastrointestinal Specialists In Queens
Elmhurst Hospital is the first NYC public hospital to offer this procedure. By swallowing a tiny, pill-sized camera, patients can have their intestinal track surveyed for abnormalities like cancer growths. Elmhurst Hospital has on staff gastrointestinal or GI doctors.
Oncology & Cancer Treatments
Elmhurst was one of the first city hospitals to begin using a linear accelerator in the treatment of cancer. A linear accelerator is said to lessen radiation damage to non-cancerous cells during treatment. Since 2006, Elmhurst has been evolving its cancer care and now has a wide range of treatments and on staff oncologists.
Cardiology & Cardiologists
Elmhurst Hospital uses a new procedure to cool the core of one’s body temperature in the case of some serious heart conditions. By cooling the system, and slowing down the body’s metabolism, doctors have more time to fix a seriously impaired heart.
Kidney Stones / Internists / Internal Medicine
Using ultra-sound vibrations, doctors at Elmhurst Hospital can shatter kidney stones thus allowing them to pass less painfully through the kidney into one’s urine.
Trauma & Post Emergency Treatments
Elmhurst Hospital can handle most types of medical procedures with the exception of organ transplants and bodily re-attachments. It is only one of three hospitals in the state of New York that can provide emergency angioplasty treatments without having back up surgery on site, because patient outcomes [meaning survival] improved when the procedure was allowed.
Medical Labs At Elmhurst Hospital
Elmhurst also has an in-hospital laboratory to process blood work and other tissue samples to enable the doctors to obtain quick results in those cases where rapid turn-around is needed.
Health Education In Queens - Opinion
Unfortunately Elmhurst Hospital isn’t funded to do much outreach into the community to educate the populace about how to better manage their own health. Forgive me for editorializing here, but it is my opinion that healthcare education, which is essentially the best preventative healthcare in world, is the most underrated and overlooked approach to solving America’s long-term healthcare problems.
Education worked in changing people’s consumption of tobacco in this country beginning in the late 1970's. Tobacco consumption in the U.S. has fallen significantly relative to the total population. So there’s no reason why, properly executed, public education couldn’t have similar effects in the area of nutrition and exercise. Education takes time and someone has to grab the torch and run with it, like Joseph Califano did with tobacco and smoking.
Summary and Conclusion
I walked away impressed by what I saw. Elmhurst Hospital is a healthcare center, which provides a vast amount of health related services to the Elmhurst / Jackson Heights and surrounding communities as measured by its patient volume [it covers a market area of one million people]. I also found it heartening to know that Elmhurst Hospital has been investing in new technologies and skills, thus enabling it to provide borough residents with affordable quality healthcare.
A last note. Elmhurst Hospital is located in the heart of the Queens & America’s ‘Melting Pot’. As such, they have to accommodate over 100 languages / dialects, which as you might imagine, isn’t easy to do. A small group of Jackson Heights writers under the direction of a theater artistic director is in the process of using that as a theme for a new work. We’ll post a link after we get the story. Ciao.
Many thanks to Dario Centorcelli who is a former fire fighter [shown in photo to your right] and Elmhurst Hospital for providing me with access to the hospital.
Jackson Heights Neighborhood & Healthcare Related Links
Click here to go a report about ophthalmologists and optometrists in Queens.
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