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Healthgrades names St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital 5-Star recipient for vaginal delivery

NEWBURGH (August 18) - St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital announced today that it has been named a 5-star recipient for Vaginal Delivery by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. This 5-star rating indicates that the hospital’s clinical outcomes are statistically significantly better than expected when treating the condition or performing the procedure being evaluated. It is the third consecutive year SLCH has received the 5-star distinction in this category.

“This recognition is another example of the high-quality, patient-centered care that St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital provides,” said Joan Cusack-McGuirk, SLCH President & CEO. “Bringing a newborn into the world can be one of life’s most exciting and significant experiences. Our birthing center and neonatal intensive care unit staff consistently make sure that new families have the most comfortable and safest experience possible.”

“Consumers place high-quality outcomes at the top of their wish list when selecting a hospital, so health systems that have achieved this particular distinction stand out among their peers,” said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Healthgrades. “Especially in an environment where consumers have more choices than ever before about where to receive care, a hospital’s commitment to achieving high-quality outcomes for their patients is more important than ever.”

To help consumers evaluate and compare hospital performance, Healthgrades analyzed all-payer state data for 17 states for years 2013 through 2015. Healthgrades found that there is a significant variation in hospital quality between those who have received 5-stars and those who have not.
For example:  From 2013 through 2015, patients having a Vaginal Delivery in hospitals with 5-stars have, on average a 54.9% lower risk of experiencing a complication while in the hospital than if they were treated by hospitals with 1-star.*

The St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Birthing Center features some of the newest technologies in the industry, including a wireless fetal monitoring system that allows women in labor to walk freely throughout their labor room. In addition, SLCH labor and delivery rooms include private bathroom and shower, as well as private and semi-private recovery rooms. Birthing suites for labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum (LDRP) are also available to allow new mothers to remain in the same room throughout their entire birthing experience. The facility also includes a private lactation room where families can utilize all of SLCH’s breastfeeding resources, and a comprehensive infant security program.

The Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, located just steps away from the Birthing Center, offers acute and chronic care for premature and ill full-term infants throughout the region. The first Level II NICU in Orange County, the facility’s state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools allow the specially-trained team to continuously monitor an infant’s condition, deliver fluids, nutrition and medication, as well as monitor vital signs.

*Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of All-Payer data for years 2013 through 2015 and represent 3-year estimates for patients in 17 states for which all payer data was made available. (See 2017 Healthgrades Women's Care Rating Methodology for more details)


Martin on the marathon track

An Ironman among us

TOWN OF WALLKILL (August 14) - Dr. Eric Martin, Orthopedic Surgeon with Orange Regional Medical Group, set a great example for his patients by participating in his first IRONMAN triathlon in Lake Placid last month.

The race took Dr. Martin slightly over 13 hours and included a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.

We are happy to say that he finished in the top 42%.


Off to college?  Dutchess County celebrates National Immunization Awareness Month

POUGHKEEPSIE (August 14) - Young adults who are college-bound, beginning a job or choosing to travel are about to make the monumental transition to adulthood. It is important to remember just because they are done with high school, does not mean they are done with vaccines. Though most vaccines are given during childhood and adolescence, college students and all young adults still need certain immunizations.

These five vaccines are specifically reccommended for ages 19-24:

  • Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough);
  • HPV vaccine protects against the viruses that cause several types of cancers;
  • Meningococcal vaccine protects against bacterial meningitis;
  • Seasonal flu shots protect against the viruses that research indicates will be most prevalent in the upcoming season;
  • Varicella vaccine protects against chicken pox.

“It’s the perfect time to check with your doctor to make sure you are up to date on recommended vaccines,” said A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health. “Staying healthy includes protecting yourself against diseases such as the flu and meningitis.  The need for other specific vaccinations depends on your health, lifestyle, job and travel plans.  Close attention to this important public health issue will help facilitate a productive transition to life beyond high school.”

The Dutchess County Immunization Clinic, located at 29 N. Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie, offers appointments for individuals without health insurance.  To make an appointment, please call (845) 486-3535.  View immunization schedules and learn more about immunizations at


Free workshops empower stressed caregivers

MONTICELLO (August 14) - Powerful Tools for Caregivers is a free educational series designed to provide informal family caregivers with the tools needed to take care of themselves. Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCESC)’s Caregiver Resource Center is offering this free six-session program on Mondays, beginning September 11, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the E.B. Crawford Library on 479 Broadway in Monticello. Refreshments will be provided.

Two experienced class leaders, Bonnie Lewis, RN, dependent care educator at CCESC and Lily Stettner, clinical social worker will conduct the series. Dates include September 11, 18, and 25, followed by October 2, 16, and 23. Participants are highly encouraged to attend the series in its entirety; the content of each workshop leads into the next.

Caregivers develop a wealth of self-care tools that: reduce stress, improve self-confidence, enhance communication during challenging situations, manage their emotions, and help make tough decisions.

“Interactive lessons, community resources, group discussions, and class brainstorming help the caregiver transfer these new ‘tools’ into action within the home care setting,” said Lewis.

Caregivers will be encouraged to borrow The Caregiver Helpbook, developed specifically for the class through the Ramapo Catskill Library System. These classes are free, supported by the NY State Caregiver Resource Program.

Space is limited for this free program and registration is required in advance. Registration can be completed by calling CCESC at 845-292-6180, emailing, or visiting Additional donations for CCESC programs are appreciated.

The Caregiver Resource Center is a co-partnered program between Cornell Cooperative Extension and Office for the Aging of Sullivan County and is supported by a grant from the NYS Office for the Aging’s Caregiver Program.


Assemblyman Frank Skartados with Sydney (center) and Alexandra Beck

SLCH Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit holds 20th annual celebration

NEWBURGH (July 31) – More than 200 guests including former patients, families and dedicated staff attended St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital’s Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Annual NICU Graduate Birthday Party held on July 22 at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the hospital’s Level II NICU.

“Being able to reconnect with so many families we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through the years at this annual event, is so special to all of us at SLCH,” Dr. Prabhakar Kocherlakota, who has worked in the Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since it opened. “We are dedicated to providing the highest quality care for our newest patients and their families during what can be a very stressful time.”

Notable attendees included Alexandra and Sydney Beck, twin girls who were cared for in the Elaine Kaplan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit eighteen years ago. These NICU graduates are not only national honor society inductees, and are going to pursue higher studies in colleges in NY on scholarships. Sydney is also valedictorian of her class from Christian Faith Academy of Duchess county

The event was co-chaired by Jill Cappa of the St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation Board of Directors, and the SLCH Auxiliary and Christine Cahill, also a member of the Hospital’s Auxiliary Board.

“The opportunity to celebrate with so many families in the community is truly touching, “Cappa said. “The health, happiness and success of these children are a tribute to the efforts of Dr. KP and his staff.”

“We would like to thank Mr. William Kaplan and the Newburgh Armory Unity Center for hosting this event for the third consecutive year,” said Anne Marie Schoonhoven, Executive Director of the St. Luke’s Cornwall Health System Foundation.

Since its inception in 1997, the NICU has cared for premature infants and term newborns with infections, birth defects, breathing difficulties and multiple problems. Named after the late Elaine Kaplan, a local philanthropist who, along with her family, identified the need for enhanced health care for infants in this community, the Level II Unit provides a transport service for critically ill babies born at hospitals without neonatal expertise.


ORMC announces new location for Outpatient Counseling Services and Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Program

TOWN OF WALLKILL (July 31) - Orange Regional Medical Center announced a new location for its Outpatient Counseling Services and the Orange Regional Family Program for Alcohol and Chemical Dependency. These services will now be located at 75 Crystal Run Road, Suite 135, Town of Wallkill.

Orange Regional Medical Center’s behavioral health team has earned a national reputation for its outpatient clinical services, counseling and treatments to patients and their families, helping people to manage and overcome their mental health illnesses.

“While we are moving these services to a new location, we will continue to provide the same outstanding level of care. Our new offices are more spacious, contemporary and comfortable,” said Scott Batulis, Orange Regional Medical Center President & CEO.

Orange Regional is licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. It is also fully accredited by the Joint Commission.

For more information about Orange Regional Medical Center’s Outpatient Counseling Services, call (845) 333-7800. Information about the Orange Regional Family Program for Alcohol and Chemical Dependency can be accessed by calling (845) 333-7818.




Horizon Family Medical Group’s Dr. Susan jensen chosen as a ‘top doctor’

NEW WINDSOR (July 31) - Dr. Susan Jensen, an internist with Horizon Family Medical Group, has been selected as a “Top Doctor” in the Hudson Valley by the magazine of the same name.

Dr. Jensen has been with Horizon since 2008, currently seeing patients in her New Windsor office. 

“I arrived in Newburgh to do ‘rural medicine’ in 1980 and planned to stay for two years … now, 37 years later…” said Jensen

Dr. Jensen was vice-president for four years, and then president for three years, of the Cornwall Hospital medical staff, beginning about 2000. She also was on the Medical Staff Board at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, as well as participating on multiple committees.

She is an Emeritus Board Member of Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, on which she served for more than 10 years. She was formerly Board-Certified in Hospice and Palliative Care.

Horizon Family Medical Group is a National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient Centered Medical Home Level 3 – the highest designation available – to ensure our patients receive the highest quality of care and coordination of their healthcare.



Health Quest Medical Practice names hospitalist service chief

POUGHKEEPSIE (July 19) - Dr. Hossam Hafez has joined Health Quest Medical Practice as chief of the hospitalist service.

Hospitalists monitor progress and order necessary tests and consultations while patients are in a hospital. When the condition improves and patients are ready for discharge, hospitalists ensure their needs are met. Once discharged from the hospital, the patient returns to the care of their primary care provider.

“Dr. Hafez’s leadership will enhance the ability of our hospitalists to continue to provide high-quality care and safety during the treatment of patients who are admitted to our hospitals,” said Glenn Loomis, chief medical operations officer for Health Quest and president of Health Quest Medical Practice.

A native of Egypt, Hafez is a bilingual hospitalist with written and verbal fluency in English and Arabic. He is board certified in family medicine and licensed in New York and Michigan.

“I look forward to working with the team at Vassar Brothers Medical Center to direct, coordinate and provide individualized care to patients with a variety of medical needs, striving for the highest standards in patient safety and quality measures, and implementing the latest in evidence-based medicine," Hafez said.

Most recently, Hafez worked with RiteMed Urgent Care in Michigan to provide medical care to patients with a variety of medical conditions.

Hafez earned his medical degree from the Alexandria School of Medicine in Egypt and completed his residency in family medicine at McLaren Regional Medical Center in Michigan.

He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Michigan State Medical Society, and is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

For more information, visit


This summer be tick-free to prevent tick-borne illnesses

NEW CITY (July 19) - Rockland County residents are reminded that as you spend time outside this summer, be sure to protect yourself from tick bites.

"A bite from an infected deer tick can cause Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases. With the number of ticks this summer expected to be the highest in years, it's more important than ever for residents to follow these five simple steps to protect yourself and your family," said County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert:

  • Check your skin for ticks daily. When outside, check your skin and clothing for ticks. Check often when in grassy or wooded areas. Brush any ticks off before they attach. Do a full check of your skin when you go back inside. It's easy to check when you bathe or shower. Be sure to check for ticks on your children and pets too!
  • Remove ticks quickly and safely. Remove any attached ticks using this safe method: Using fine tipped tweezers, grasp the tick near the mouth parts as close to the skin as possible. Do not twist, turn, or squeeze the tick's body. Instead, pull the tick in a steady, upward motion away from the skin until the tick lets go. To lessen your chance of infection, remove an attached tick as soon as possible. For tick identification, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticultural Lab at 845-429-7085.
  • Dress in clothes that protect. Wear light colored clothing, such as white or pastels. Wear a long- sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes. Tuck your shirt into your pants and pant-legs into your socks. Wear sneakers or boots, not sandals. Tie back long hair or wear a hat.
  • Consider the use of an insect repellent. Carefully read and follow the directions on the repellent label. Some products should be used only on clothing, never on the skin. Talk to your pediatrician about using repellents on your children. Never let children put repellents on themselves.
  • Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease: After a tick bite, watch for symptoms for at least 30 days. Symptoms can include tiredness, headache, neck stiffness, slight fever, swollen glands, and pain or stiffness of muscles or joints. Some people will get a pink-red rash that gets bigger, called a "bulls-eye" rash. If you have any of these symptoms or are feeling ill, see your doctor.

Lyme disease affects over 30,000 people every year in the United States. In Rockland County, new cases continue to be reported to the Health Department.

For more information, visit  






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