Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dr. Joe Smith & the Center for Orthopedics

There were many poignant moments at Thursday's ribbon cutting for the new Center for Orthopedics as dignitaries recognized the work of Dr. Joseph Smith, a retired member of the medical staff who was severely injured in an accident in 2008.

Dr. Smith served as chairman of the orthopedics department at Community General Hospital for many years. He helped lay the foundation for the service that was recognized last week for its high quality.
That's Dr. Smith in the operating room photo, taken about 2004. He is second from the left.

Praise for Dr. Smith began with Board chair Steve Infanti, who was at the podium to receive awards recognizing the quality of Community's orthopedics program.

The first award was presented by Dr. Marybeth McCall, regional chief medical officer for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Excellus' BlueDistinction designation recognizes the quality of Community's spine surgery, as well as its hip and knee replacement surgery.

Allison Leavey of HealthGrades presented Steve with the overall orthopedics excellence award, earned by Community for the fourth straight year. Ms. Leavey also acknowledged HealthGrades' honors for Community's spine surgery, hip and knee replacements, and hip fracture repair.

In accepting the awards, Steve paid tribute to Dr. Smith for the quality of orthopedics, as well as for the growth of the orthopedics service.

Dr. Rick Zogby, chair of orthopedics, in the photo at left, followed Steve with his own spontaneous and heartfelt tribute to his colleague and friend, Dr. Smith.

This was echoed by another speaker, State Senator John DeFrancisco, in the photo below, who told the audience of his lifelong friendship with Dr. Smith. The Senator and the doctor were students together at Christian Brothers Academy years ago.

Following the ribbon cutting by Chief Nursing Officer Christine Stryker, orthopedic nurse manager Wendy Osgood, and area dignitaries, guests and colleagues toured the 25,000 square-foot Center for Orthopedics, which features 36 private rooms and a spacious gym overlooking downtown Syracuse and Onondaga Lake.

The Center features many improvements, among them:

- A silent nurse call system to reduce noise for patients.

- Decentralized nursing stations so professional staff is close to patients.

- Ergonomic flooring for the nurses who spend so much time on their feet.

- A physical therapy gym to help patients recover faster and more comfortably.

- Wi-fi Internet access for all patients.

- Tempur-Pedic mattresses on beds that can help prevent falls and even weigh patients.

- PVC-free wall covering and vinyl-free flooring.

- LED down lights and other features to conserve power.

- Plumbing that reduces water consumption.

The Center for Orthopedics was funded by $7.6 million from a grant awarded under New York State's Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL). The HEAL grant was given to Community for its compliance with the decisions of the Commission on Healthcare Facilities for the 21st Century ("Berger Commission").

My thanks, especially to Ken Redmore, Community's Director of Facilities and Construction, who managed the project from start to finish, through design, bidding, build-out, including all state approvals and coordination. He brought the project to completion on time and within budget.

There were many colleagues and friends at the opening ceremonies, and I appreciated the presence, among them, of Dr. Paul Kronenberg, president and CEO of Crouse Hospital -- Community General's prospective merger partner.

As lovely as the new Center is, we all know that facilities alone do not assure excellence. Only people do that. Community's orthopedics service relies upon its excellent people: from the orthopedic surgeons, to the operating room and nursing staff, as supported by physical therapists, other ancillary staff, and the entire support team.

It is great to see our staff recognized and our patients the beneficiaries of an excellent facility. They begin to use the new Center this week.

1 comment:

kugler said...

Thanks for the information .