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Published every week by


MARK WEIDLER President & Publisher SUSAN & STANLEY MERZON Founders Raymond G. Sito General Manager Peter C. Mastrosimone Editor-in-Chief Michael Gannon Editor Christopher Barca Editor Ryan Brady Associate Editor Anna Sackel Associate Editor Terry Nusspickel Editorial Production Manager Jan Schulman Art Director Moeen Din Associate Art Director Gregg Cohen Production Assistant Joseph Berni Art Department Associate Richard Weyhausen Proofreader Lisa LiCausi Office Manager Stela Barbu Administration Senior Account Executives: Jim Berkoff, Beverly Espinoza

Account Executives: Patricia Gatt, Debrah Gordon, Al Rowe

Contributors: Lloyd Carroll, Mark Lord, Ronald Marzlock

Photographers: Steve Fisher, Walter Karling, Rick Maiman, Steve Malecki

Interns: Bre’Anna Grant, Daniel C. Haynes, Derrell J. Bouknight

Office: The Shops at Atlas Park 71-19 80th St., Suite 8-201 Glendale, NY 11385 Phone: (718) 205-8000 Fax: (718) 205-1957 Mail: P.O. Box 74-7769 Rego Park, NY 11374-7769 E-mail: Website:

Celebration of Queens CONTENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Saluting the Healthcare industry

New innovations at Queens hospitals ..................................................................... 4 The rise of urgent care medical centers ................................................................. 6 City mental health services in Queens.................................................................... 8 Finding insurance outside of work ....................................................................... 10 Cancer care facilities in Queens ............................................................................ 12 Healthcare options for senior citizens ...................................................................14 Queens hospitals and their missions .................................................................... 18 Volunteer ambulance corps in Queens ................................................................. 20 Mammograms and breast self exams .................................................................. 22 The healthcare field’s rapid job growth ................................................................ 24 Therapy gardening at Parker Jewish ..................................................................... 26 A single-payer system for New York? .................................................................... 28 Blood supplies low; donations needed ..................................................................... 31 Supplement editor: Peter C. Mastrosimone; Supplement designer and cover illustrator: Jan Schulman; Editorial layout: Terry Nusspickel



TO YOUR HEALTH ! Topping the list of services everyone needs at some point is healthcare. You literally can’t live without it, and in this, our 21st annual Celebration of Queens Special Edition: Salute to Healthcare, we look at the industry from the viewpoints of patients, providers and more. We start off by taking a look at key innovations being made at several hospitals in the borough, ranging from a mobile stroke treatment unit that can prevent brain damage and save lives to a new cardiac catheterization lab, robotic surgery and future ways of detecting disease. But while many are innovating, we know that hospitals themselves are not immune from illness, as recent years have demonstrated. Five in Queens have shut down since 2000, and while 10 are still serving patients here, there’s also a new kid in town: the urgent care clinic. We take a look at those facilities, where, in one measure of their rapid growth, insurance claims rose 1,725 percent from 2007 to 2016. Also growing is the focus on mental health, and we go in depth on the city’s effort to train people to recognize warning signs of problems, especially thoughts of suicide, and advise them on what to say

and what not to say to those in trouble. Another article runs down the importance of health insurance and how to find it if it’s not provided through your employer. The next discusses cancer care services to be found in Queens, and how various facilities that offer them see their mission. We provide a list of hospitals in the borough that includes some of the services each provides and its institutional focus. Following that is a piece on some of those who can get you there — the volunteer ambulance corps that serve as a vital supplement to the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services and as bonding agents in their communities. The importance of women getting mammograms and where they’re offered, including for free, is the focus of another piece, which also discusses experts’ changing opinion on the value of breast self-exams. When it comes to jobs, the healthcare industry is the second-highest growing sector in Queens and, as state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli points out, the only one that has experienced gains every year since 1990 — including during the Great Recession. We point out where the

demand for new workers is greatest and which jobs are seen as the best when weighing several factors. Some healthcare innovations don’t involve new technology at all, and we look at the positive impact the new “Eldergrow” garden at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation is having on patients and residents planting and tending it. Back on the insurance side of the healthcare equation, we talk about the possibility — considered highly unlikely today — of Albany passing single-payer legislation, which would see taxpayers statewide cover costs for everyone. And, finally, we remind everyone of the importance of blood donation, as the New York Blood Center just this week declared an emergency, saying it needs more donors immediately because reserves are below the minimum required to maintain a safe supply. Some say that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. In this special edition we celebrate many aspects of an industry that works hard to make sure it doesn’t turn out that way. We hope you find it to be just what the doctor ordered.

Peter C. Mastrosimone


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Salute to Healthcare

Boro hospitals on the front lines of innovation by Christopher Barca

vehicles recently introduced by NewYorkPresbyterian. A quick look may lead one to t no time in human history has tech- think they’re just fancy ambulances, but nology advanced faster than it has in there’s more to them than meets the eye. And according to Dr. Michael Lerario, the last 150 years. Our modes of transportation have gone they are already potentially saving lives. Every second matters when it comes to from horse-and-buggies to cars that go zero treating stroke victims — as an average of to 60 mph in the blink of an eye. Our soldiers, who used to fight with sin- 1.9 million brain cells die every minute gle-shot rif les, now strike enemies with prior to the administration of a tissue plasunmanned drones controlled from thou- minogen activator to break up the blood clot in the brain. sands of miles away. And even with the sirens blaring and the But maybe more remarkable than anything else have been the advances in modern driver gunning it, getting an ambulance to the patient’s location and back to NewYorkmedicine. According to the Centers for Disease Presbyterian Queens’ location on Main Control, the life expectancy of an American Street in Flushing costs valuable time. So leaders at the born in 1901 was just health network, Ler50 years. But those ario said, decided to were the days when a develop the Mobile simple scratch that Stroke Treatment Unit got infected or a case — “a n emergency of the flu would often room on wheels.” lead to death. “This is taking the Today, doctors can hospital to the doorperform surgeries on step of the patient,” unbor n fetuses. Lerario, the medical O rga n s a re t r a n sdirector of the MSTU planted with regulariprogram, said in a ty. Diseases like HIV Fr i d a y i n t e r v i e w. that just a few “A ny t h i n g t h a t a decades ago proved stroke center can do, Dr. Michael Lerario fatal for so many can we’re able to do in now be managed with this ambulance.” new medication. Normal emergency vehicles have two The speed with which doctors and scientists are developing new approaches to paramedics on board. The MSTU also has two paramedics ridresearch and treatment is stunning — a rate that should rapidly accelerate over the next ing along, according to Lerario. But joining them are a registered nurse specifically 150-year period. Will American minds find a cure for can- trained in stroke care, as well as a technicer? Will we be able to stop dementia in its cian who operates the on-board computed tomography scan machine. tracks? Who knows? And while not physically present, a docBut borough medical institutions like NewYork-Presbyterian, Northwell Health tor at the hospital controls the situation via and Medisys aren’t waiting to see what the the video conferencing technology within future brings. The projects their doctors and the vehicle, allowing him or her to see scientists are working on are already having what’s happening and direct the nurse and paramedics to perform whatever task is real-world impacts. Take the new fleet of emergency response needed in the moment. In order for a CT scan to be performed, Lerario said, the ambulance needs to remain still. But even if the vehicle isn’t moving, a team of doctors at the hospital can be told to mobilize in order for them to be ready to treat the patient the instant he or she arrives. “We’re the first on the entire East Coast of the United States to do this,” Lerario said of NewYorkPresbyterian. “We’re the largest program in the country with our three ambulances.” The Queens-only MSTU was put into service on April 30, and Inside the stroke-focused emergency vehicles is a com- Lerario said it’s already been used puted tomography scan machine, which reveals what to transport 11 patients. Of those 11 people, two of them kind of stroke a patient is having. Life-saving medication were given a tissue plasminogen to break up the blood clot is also on board.


Anything that a stroke center can do, we’re able to do in this ambulance.


NewYork-Presbyterian Queens launched its Queens-only Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit vehicle on April 30 in an effort to better provide critical care to victims. PHOTOS COURTESY NEWYORK-PRESBYTERIAN activator before they arrived at the hospital, potentially saving their lives or, at the least, preventing neurological damage. “We’ve had a number of patients who return completely to normal after being trated in our mobile stroke unit,” Lerario said. When it comes to heart health, the Medisys Health Network-controlled Jamaica Hospital Medical Center will be able to better serve Queens residents in a month’s time. Come July, the 408-bed hospital will cut the ribbon on its second cardiac catheterization laboratory, according to the director of the existing one, Dr. Zoran Lasic. “There will be state-of-the-art equipment and we’ll be able to offer the highest-quality imaging to inform the doctors and patients of what’s going on,” Lasic said. “It’s very important to have state-of-the-art equipment to deliver what patients need.” The doctor added that he and other cardiologists spend much of their time in the lab, where they perform more than 1,000 procedures — such as elective cardiac catheterizations, angiograms and percutaneous coronary artery inventions — each year. Because of the high number of cardiac cases in the borough, Lasic said building a second lab has become a necessity. “It’s going to be a fairly big space, as you can imagine,” he said. “The computer power in there is enormous.” Because of diligent doctors like Lasic, JHMC was one of three medical facilities in the city to be awarded the American College of Ca rd iolog y’s Si lve r Pe r for m a nce Achievement Award last year. And with a second laboratory opening next month, Lasic said he expects the hospital’s ability to provide critical cardiac care to improve. “We’re very excited,” he said. “This is long overdue and we’re extremely happy about it.” Also a Medisys location, Flushing Hospital Medical Center has made impressive advancements when it comes to surgery.

Should you go under the knife at the Parsons Boulevard hospital, the fingers poking around inside your body might not be those of your surgeon. They might not belong to a human being at all. Brought online about four years ago, the facility’s da Vinci Surgical System has been used to perform about 1,500 procedures. The system has two parts — a spider-like apparatus with multiple arms and a console complete with a three-dimensional screen on the other side of the room that the surgeon uses to control the machine. According to Dr. Norman Khan, a Flushing Hospital surgeon who’s used the device, the system allows doctors to make much smaller incisions than they would with their own hands — meaning procedures that normally would be much more serious become minimally invasive surgeries. “It’s a tool that allows us to complete surgeries that are complex and difficult without the robot, especially in parts of the body like the pelvis,” Khan said. “Now we can make small, 8-millimeter incisions. The less invasive we can be, the better.” The dexterity of the machine is much greater than that of the human wrist. And even though its every move is controlled by the surgeon sitting nearby, that added precision means a patient can recover much quicker from invasive, sometimes tricky abdominal procedures such as hernia repair and colon resection. “They have these receptacles your fingers go into and your eyes watch this 3-D screen,” Khan said, “which allows you to see more than you can with the naked eye.” Because the hospital sees robotic surgery as the next big thing to hit operating rooms around the country, Khan said there’s a push at the facility to include it in fellowship and residency programs there. And while some patients are put off by the idea of something other than a human being performing a procedure, the doctor continued on page 30

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Salute to Healthcare

Urgent care facilities take care of Queens by Anthony O’Reilly t’s easy to imagine sitting at home when all of a sudden you start to feel sick, or you have accidentally cut yourself. You need medical attention as soon as possible and you start to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable long stay in the hospital’s waiting room. Because, after all, it’s not like you can just go online and see when the next doctor will be available, right? Maybe not at the ER, but you can certainly look for a time slot elsewhere. Odds are there is an urgent care center somewhere near your home with a list of open appointments available on its website. For example, this writer was able to find at least three locations within a five-mile radius with appointments at just about any time during the day. What’s an urgent care center? It’s a type of walk-in clinic that treats patients with nonserious injuries or illnesses — think cuts, headaches, minor infections or the flu. Some centers are also equipped with X-rays to determine if a bone has been broken. Dr. David Shih, co-founder and executive vice president of Strategy at CityMD, an urgent care chain with 11 locations in Queens, said centers like his came about because of one reason: demand. “There’s a healthcare need,” Shih said in an interview with the Chronicle. “It’s very difficult to get an appointment with a primary care physician ... People are looking for alternative options that are accessible.” Adam Boll, vice president of Northwell Health’s Ventures Operations, said the healthcare network had a similar mindset when it launched Northwell GoHealth Urgent Care, a partnership with GoHealth Urgent Care Centers — there are five in Queens right now. “Northwell made the decision to have ... more convenient, efficient care in close proximity to where people live and work,” Boll said. And people are taking advantage of that kind of service across the country. An analysis by Fair Health, a nonprofit, found private insurance claims for services at urgent care centers grew at 1,725 percent from 2007 to 2016, compared to 229 percent in emergency rooms.



The price Shih added that cost is a huge factor for people who choose to go to an urgent care clinic rather than a hospital. “People tend to stay away from the ER, simply because of the cost of being seen in an ER,” Shih said. “The urgent care center, it kind of fills that nice sweet spot.”

A team of nurses and doctors at CityMD’s Ditmars Urgent Care center in Astoria. The team is trained and equipped to treat a COURTESY CITYMD number of ailments and injuries. A recent CNN Money article stated the average cost of an emergency room visit was about $2,000 in 2016. Northwell GoHealth Urgent Care’s website states that an “advanced visit,” the highest tier of visits, could cost an estimated $250 to $350 for things like asthma treatment, removing a foreign object and healing a wound. Those costs could go up if there are “medical complications,” the website states. For Northwell patients who may want to go to an urgent care site but worry about the doctors and nurses not having their information, don’t worry. Northwell hospitals and GoHealth sites share information on patients treated at both, including lab and X-ray report. “The centers are externally connected to the Northwell Health network,” Boll said. CityMD’s website did not list rates for services but said that it takes most insurance plans and has “competitive and affordable self-pay rates.” It also accepts Medicaid.

The Northwell GoHealth Urgent Care center in Forest Hills is one of five in Queens that result from a partnership designed to proPHOTO COURTESY NORTHWELL HEALTH vide “more convenient, efficient care in close proximity to where people live and work.”

The insurance landscape Urgent care clinics may soon impact more than how people receive treatment. According to Shih, employers are beginning to look at how the centers could be incorporated into health insurance policies. “More and more employer groups are beginning to look at high-quality, low-cost options,” he said. “A lot of employer groups are realizing there is a lot of unnecessary ER utilization for certain and they’re understanding and realizing there’s a place for urgent care to potentially help with that.” In Massachusetts, 20 business organizations are looking to save $100 million in healthcare costs by 2020 by getting their employees to reduce the number of unnecessary emergency room visits for things that can be treated at urgent care centers. Three years ago, PrimaCare Medical Centers in Dallas expanded to delivering primary care services so small- and medium-sized employers could provide coverage to their workers. Shih said employer groups are also looking to urgent care sites to care for workers who may have been injured on the job. So what’s next? There are no plans to keep the urgent care networks at the numbers they are at now, according to the Northwell and CityMD executives. “We’re constantly looking at new locations,” Boll said. “Our expansion will continue.” New locations will be determined based on the need of a particular community, but it does take suggestions from residents and elected officials. Recently, CityMD acquired STAT Health, an urgent care clinic network with locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Shih added CityMD is always looking for new partners to expand its reach in the medical field. One such partnership is with Fidelis and MetroPlus, which allows Q patients with those plans to be treated at the centers.

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High quality and low cost.

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Salute to Healthcare

City pushes first aid — for mental health by Michael Gannon

own family’s struggles with mental illness dating back to her childhood. Ramos and Happy said there is a crucial large part of the de Blasio administration’s effort to improve mental difference between someone just having a healthcare has been to demystify and bad day or a case of the blues and someone being affected by mental illness. destigmatize the issue. “Mental illness affects your ability to One of the newer efforts in the city’s battle is training people in mental health first live, love, laugh and learn,” Ramos said, aid, through which the city wants to certify comparing some of the physical manifestamore than 250,000 people to recognize the tions to debilitating physical conditions such symptoms and warning signs of mental ill- as limb loss or becoming confined to a ness, and to help people in immediate crisis. wheelchair. Happy pointed out that even anxiety can Daisy Ramos and Sharifa Happy of the city’s Department of Health and Mental speed a person’s heart rate and raise blood Hygiene brought that effort to the Long pressure. Depression, both women said, Island City Library on June 2, one of can be dangerously misunderstood as having a bad day or even th ree eight-hou r laziness. classes scheduled in “Would you tell Queens dur ing the someone with a bromonth of June. ken leg to just sleep it “How many of you off ? ” Happy asked. have attended a Red “Sometimes the hardCross workshop on est thing for a person f i rst aid? ” R a mos suffering from asked. “For CPR?” depression to do is She said the trainmove their legs off ing offered in the prothe edge of the bed in gram has the same the morning.” intent — to help peoT hose i n at t e nple i n i m m e d i a t e Health and Mental Hygiene dance included teachneed. ers, counselors, mediK nowledge of trainer Daisy Ramos cal professionals and mental illness’ physithose who were just cal manifestations is necessary for both victims and people try- interested in the cause. They spent the morning through late ing to help them,” she said. “One in five people can suffer from men- afternoon engaged in role-playing activities tal illness on any given day this year,” and taking spot quizzes comparing physical Ramos said, adding that on average it can and mental ailments, with a lunch break take up to 10 years for a person who sus- included. Happy said warning signs could include pects they need help to actually seek it. “Stigma is key to people not getting breaks from routines, such as when a friend who begins withdrawing from regular social help,” she said. Mental health first aid had its genesis in situations and relationships; or a co-worker Australia back in 2001. New York City first who ordinarily is impeccably dressed and began looking at it in 2015 as part of its groomed starting to come in disheveled on a Thrive NYC initiative, a multifront effort to regular basis. All attendees received a 131-page book combat and treat mental illness on which first lady Chirlane McCray has taken the with information and references. Throughpoint. McCray has been very open about her out the book, dealing with various forms of mental illness, is reference to a Mental Health First Aid action plan, which uses the acronym ALGEE: • Assess risk for suicide or harm; • Listen nonjudgmentally; • Give reassurance and information (but never advice, Ramos and Happy said); • Encourage appropriate professional help; and • E n c ou r a ge s el f- h elp a n d o t h e r strategies. The book goes into eating disorders, but Ramos, who said those could make up a forum all themselves, said treatment for those who suffer from them often is lacking in modern society. “Very often, they’ll treat the overeating Sharifa Happy said the right approach and just the right words can make a difference for or undereating but not deal with the undersomeone suffering from mental illness, partic- lying cause,” she said. They said people tho routinely harm ularly if one is seriously considering suicide.


Mental illness affects your ability to live, love, laugh and learn.


Daisy Ramos gives a mental health pop quiz during a training session at the Long Island City PHOTOS BY MICHAEL GANNON Library on June 2. themselves, such as by cutting often are not looking to hurt or kill themselves as much as they are seeking attention and help. A good deal of the program dealt with suicide and indications of suicidal thoughts. Happy here reiterated a nonjudgmental approach. “Be kind,” she said. “Don’t be accusatory. Start with ‘I’ve noticed ...’ something that says ‘I care about you.’” And should the person clearly be having suicidal thoughts, the approach must be direct. “You have to ask ‘A re you having thoughts of suicide?’” Happy said. “In order to help someone, you need to know what the signs are.” She said demographic factors can make one more prone to suicide. The elderly, for example, could be chronically ill, have acute financial problems or be lonely from the loss of family and friends. Teenagers could be subject to bullying or have troubled social lives. Substance abuse also can play a role. Members of the LGBTQ community also have higher rates of suicide as a group. Women, they said, attempt suicide more often, though men who do so are more successful. Women, they said, often use pills, poison or other means that might allow for time to get help to them; while men tend to leave less to chance, using more violent means such as firearms or jumping off a bridge or tall building. Happy and Ramos said it is OK to point out to someone that suicidal thoughts are common, but that most people do not act on them. They handed out lists of helpful and unhelpful things to say to someone who is seriously considering suicide. Helpful things include: • Something seems to be bothering you. Do you want to talk about it? • I am concerned about you.

• How long have you been feeling like this? • Have you spoken to anyone about this before?; and • It’s hard for me to understand exactly what you are going through, but I can see that it’s distressing you. The unhelpful side included: • Let’s go and have a cup of tea. • I’d like to stop and talk but I’ve got to go. I’ll give you a call later. • You’re here to work and have a job to do and it’s time to get on with it.” • You’ll feel differently tomorrow. • Pull yourself together; and • It’s such a beautiful day outside. How can you feel sad? “People suffering from depression don’t care if the sun is out,” Ramos understated. And both women said to never, ever use religious arguments about people committing suicide being condemned by one faith or another. They encouraged asking people in trouble if they have set out a plan or have begun accumulating what they would need to carry out suicide. Ramos said a suicidal person should never be left alone, with one obvious exception. “If they appear violent or have a weapon, get out and call 911,” she said. Another warning sign could be someone who has been distressed for a long time taking what would appear to be a sudden turn for the better. “That person may have come to terms with that whey intend to do,” Ramos said. Both also said the first several weeks after a failed suicide attempt are dangerous ones for someone who might be considering another attempt. Information for people wishing to take a mental health first aid course or groups interested in sponsoring one is available online at topics/

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My Child Protective Specialist never made me feel like I was a job. He was the human connection I needed. I still turn to him – even now. Kevin, Brooklyn






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Salute to Healthcare

Getting insurance doesn’t have to be too stressful by Christopher Barca

was required to either establish an insurance marketplace or have the federal government uying health insurance and understand- do it on its behalf. Two years later, New York State of Health ing every aspect of the plan can be like was established — allowing individuals, navigating a minefield sometimes. That’s even true for people who work in families and small businesses to compare the industry like David Evangelista, Jamaica insurance options, calculate costs, select covHospital Medical Center’s director of man- erage and determine eligibility for both f inancial assistance aged care. and government pro“As someone who’s grams like Medicaid. worked in the insurEven though ance field for almost Republicans in Conmy entire life,” Evangress have been trying gelista told the Chronto alter or repeal the icle last Fr iday, “I ACA altogether for don’t even understand years, Evangelista said all my benefits.” the state marketplace T he f ut u re of is still the best place healthcare in America to start when it comes may be a cloudy one, to searching for an as the dizzying debate insurance plan. over the merits of the “New York State Affordable Care Act has a robust program. continues to rage in David Evangelista I always recommend the halls of Congress. taking a stroll on the But when it comes to actually buying a plan — if one does not New York State of Health website,” he said. get insurance through work — Evangelista “There’s still a really robust list of companies and CareConnect Vice President of Sales that are offering insurance on the exchange. Sean Tahany both say the process isn’t nearly A lot of people also don’t even realize they’re eligible for government programs or subsias overwhelming or scary as some say it is. With the 2010 passage of the ACA under dies for insurance purchases.” “Everyone in New York should first go to former President Barack Obama, each state


I always recommend taking a stroll on the New York State of Health website.

If you don’t get health coverage through your job, don’t worry. Two insurance experts say good NEW YORK STATE OF HEALTH SCREENSHOT plans are available on the New York State of Health website. the New York exchange because you may be eligible for a subsidy,” Tahany added. “That’s my first piece of advice. If you are eligible, that will have all your options. It’s a simpleto-use website that will also allow you to narrow your options.” Before buying a plan, state marketplace applicants must provide information about family size, demographics and income — Evangelista suggested having a copy of one’s tax return handy. Those eligible for insurance on the exchange must live in the state, not be incarcerated and be either a U.S. citizen or a law-

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Salute to Healthcare

Cancer care found throughout Queens by Bre’Anna Grant

oncologists and an expert breast surgeon in a multispecialty clinic, which includes ancer not only takes a physical, men- experts in the fields of pulmonary medicine, tal and emotional toll on patients gastroenterology, neurology, dermatology, and their families, but it can also and cardiology all under one roof. “The culture at NYU Langone Health leave a feeling of hopelessness. For people with cancer, the idea of the “end” begins to puts patients first by providing the best pollute their mind. However, the end may be medical care in a caring, personalized and far from being near, thanks to cancer care in professional way,” said Dr. Elena Katz, Queens. Known for its diversity in languag- medical oncologist at NYU Langone Ambues, foods and cultures, Queens also has an latory Care in Rego Park. “As a National abundance of cancer care resources for Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, patients with doctors and specialists eager to we perform cutting-edge research that improves treatments, outcomes and quality help those with their diagnosis. “Cancer care presence is expanding in of life for our patients.” Ser vices offered by N Y U Langone Queens,” said Dr. Richard Barakat, chief director of cancer for the Northwell Health include: • diagnostic imagsystem. “Long Island i ng i nclud i ng CT, Jewish Hospital is MRI, and ultrasound where most of the imaging modalities; major surgeries hap• an infusion suite pen. They treat all with exper ienced cancers and patients oncology nurses; can receive bone mar• treatments r ow t r e a t m e n t a t including chemotherNorth Shore Universiapy, targeted therapy, ty hospital.” biologic agents and The cancer rehabiliimmunotherapy; and t at ion prog r a m at • social work onNor thwell provides site a nd a n est ab patients with resultsDr. R ichard Barakat lished referral base oriented and comprefor of fsite genet ic hensive rehabilitation of Nor thwell Health counseling, nutrition services across every a nd i nter vent ional level of care. The goals are to maximize patient independence, radiology services. “Although my primary interest is breast increase function and improve quality of life following the effects of cancer and its treat- cancer, in Rego Park, I see all different solid ments, according to the organization’s website. tumor types, including lung, breast, gastroNYU Langone, based in Manhattan, has intestinal cancers as well as benign and more than 230 locations (for various clinical malignant hematology cases,” Katz said. NYU Langone also has two Perlmutter specialties, not just cancer) across the five boroughs and in Florida. Medical care is Cancer Centers, in Howard Beach and Lake provided by four experienced medical Success, LI, just over the city line. “There are still private practices and other smaller multispecialty practices not affiliated with larger health networks that offer cancer care,” Katz added. For some, the process of finding the right care can be stressful. Going from doctor to doctor and being reminded about the diagnosis over and over again may seem like torture, but there are many centers in Queens that can help make the process less daunting. NewYork-Presbyterian Queens provides multidisciplinary care for all individuals with any cancer, offering an approach to treat not just the disease but also care for the health and well-being of the patient as well as their loved ones. Patients requiring chemotherapy have access to a new state-ofthe-art therapeutic medicine center along with financial and genetic counseling, navigation, support services as well as cancerspecific nutritional support. “We believe that there needs to be a paraDr. Richard Barakat is the chief director of digm shift in the way we address cancer care. We need to find and treat cancer cancer for the Northwell Health system. before it starts, and our practice focuses on PHOTO COURTESY NORTHWELL HEALTH


Cancer care presence is expanding in Queens.


Dr. David Fishman is the director of the Cancer Center and of Gynecologic Oncology at New YorkWEILL CORNELL MEDICINE PHOTO / FACEBOOK Presbyterian Queens. preventative care for at-risk members of the community through genetic counseling and other services,” said Dr. David A. Fishman, director of the Cancer Center and of Gynecologic Oncology at NYPQ, professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. “The residents of Queens should know they have some of the best facilities and forward-thinking oncolog ist s i n t he i ndu st r y r ig ht i n t hei r neighborhood.” Dr. Fishman was honored by the ACS last year for his efforts in cancer research, according to the Weill Cornell Medicine Facebook page. “What we offer is genuine,” says Dr. Fishman. “That’s what I’m very proud of.” The Cancer Program is staffed by board certified cancer experts with national and internationally recognized expertise in areas such as gynecologic oncology, surgical oncology, urology, colorectal surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology. The Cancer Program is recognized by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as an Academic Comprehensive Cancer Program, the only one in Queens. “NewYork-Presbyterian Queens understands that cancer affects more than a patient; it affects an entire family. That type of understanding played a large part in the design of the hospital’s Therapeutic Medicine Center. This center is a patient-focused, relaxed and peaceful space to treat adult cancer patients. The center offers chemotherapy, biotherapy, infusion of blood products and hydration therapy,” Fishman said, along with support for patients’ spiritual, nutritional, financial and other needs. The goals include helping free patients from financial stress and helping them create a healthy diet that can help fight or prevent cancer. Patients also gain access to a broader host of services and clinical expertise housed within the NYP system which engages in

cross-campus effor ts including CMEaccredited tumor boards in which cancer cases are discussed by multidisciplinary clinical teams, according to the organization’s website. Patients also have access to a myriad of specialists at Weill Cornell Medicine. Via those specialists, they have the opportunity to consider innovative cancer treatment through clinical trials only available from Weill Cornell. To raise money for research and care, the American Cancer Society hosts many Relay for Life events throughout the year all over the world. The next event happening in Queens will be on June 23 at 4 p.m. in Middle Village. For more information, visit On June 2, a Relay for Life was held in Bayside and St. John’s University raised more than $150,000 during its April event, according to SJU’s website. “This year, St. John’s University celebrates over a decade of Relaying, and we are hoping to have another record-breaking year,” ACS Senior Community Manager Meaghan Neary said in an article posted on the St. John’s website. “St. John’s is still the only school in the New York metro area to hit the million-dollar mark.” In addition to Relay for Life, the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk happens every October. The walk unites communities with a shared determination to save lives from breast cancer — all while raising money to help the ACS fight breast cancer through research and early detection. Nearly 13,000 breast cancer fighters, survivors and supporters came out to the 2017 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, according to NY1. Organizers say they raised $580,000 from the walk. The next walk will be Sunday, October 21 at 10 a.m. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. More information can be found online at Q

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Page 13 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Salute to Healthcare

A look at senior healthcare, from all sides by Mark Lord

Center in New Hyde Park. “At first, I could hardly open my mouth. ecoming a senior citizen does not nec- And my speech — oh, my God, I couldn’t essarily mean having to resign oneself speak clearly at all,” she said in a recent to spending life in a doctor’s office, telephone interview. “I can now speak more but when the need arises, with the physical clearly, as long as I enunciate and don’t and mental health problems that are often speak fast. I’m hoping I’ll be back to the old unavoidable as part of the aging process, me by the fall.” For Fred J. Kaminski, 74, of Richmond finding the right physician can be a chore Hill, problems arose from pain on his left unto itself. While the internet is loaded with sites side, necessitating the replacement of his hip. “After the operation, I had to get strong that can assist in selecting a doctor for a particular malady, good old word-of-mouth, again,” he said. So, he sought treatment at Queens Physiespecially for seniors, who are sometimes not computer-savvy, probably remains the cal Therapy Associates in Forest Hills. “All the therapist ladies were very kind best bet. Several Queens residents who have and made me feel like I was a much younger recently experienced a variety of health man,” he said. After the therapy, which lastissues offered personal recommendations of ed twice a week for two months, Kaminski physicians and services that they found par- “felt so much better and so much stronger. It ticularly satisfactory — providing a small was a complete success.” In some cases, it becomes necessary for a sampling of the wide variety of healthcare loved one to reside outavailable right here in side the family home, the borough. such as in an assisted Of course, doctorliving facility or nurspatient relationships ing home. The move is are very personal, so a potentially traumatic what works for one a nd a l most a lways individual might not daunting task. necessarily work for Estelle Snyder was all. 98 years old when she Geri Schwartz, 79, passed away last year, a medical malpractice having spent much of i nve s t ig a t o r f r o m the last four years of Kew Gardens Hills, is her life at Ozanam rebounding from a Denture specialist Nu r si ng Home of devastating bout with Queens, a facility in cancer of the salivary Dr. Mar vin Grossman Bayside named for a gland, which began to 17th-centur y lawyer r e a r it s he a d t wo years ago. A visit to her periodontist led to known for his charitable work and adminisfurther exploration by an oral surgeon, who tered by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged suggested she follow up with a head and and Infirm. According to Snyder’s daughter, Sheri neck surgeon. The illness left Schwartz with severely Walter of Flushing, “She needed more care impaired speech, ending, at least temporari- than she could get at home,” and she was ly, one of her favorite avocations, perform- admitted as a resident. “She got excellent care,” Walter said. ing in community theater; it also led to difficulty swallowing. Twice a week for nearly “The staff was wonderful. She made friends a year, she has been receiving treatment at with the aides. The food was good. They the Northwell Health Hearing and Speech had activities, arts and crafts, games, music. And there was a beautiful garden in the back with nice plants and flowers.” A few area healthcare providers also offered insight on care for seniors. While there is no set age at which patients may be under the care of a geriatrician, an expert in the branch of medicine dealing with the health and care of the elderly, it’s advisable for older individuals to seek someone who has experience in dealing with their special needs: issues of the aging process, the impact of aging in illness patterns, drug therapy for seniors, health maintenance and rehabilitation. Dr. Jay Kripalani, an internal medicine specialist affiliated with Cross Bay Medical Services in Howard Beach, outlined his preFred J. Kaminski said the physical therapy he scription for treating older patients, with an received in Forest Hills was a complete success. eye on their unique needs.


Seniors demand a little extra tender loving care.


Pharmacist James Marinacci said a majority of his customers are seniors. Often, he said, a patient will find it hard to describe symptoms in words, offering vague complaints: “I’m not myself for the past week.” Sometimes they indicate loss of appetite; and they are easily confused. So, the doctor, who understands the need to take more time with older patients, recom mend s get t i ng a pat ient’s fa m ily involved. He begins by obtaining a patient’s complete medical history and conducting a physical examination. He pays particular attention to his subject’s pharmaceutical regimen, as seniors are often subject to polypharmacy, or the intake of multiple medications, leading to an increased risk of drug interactions or adverse reactions. Because of that, Kripalani tries to eliminate as much of a patient’s medication as possible, rather than prescribing more, as frequently happens. He told of one 96-yearold patient who came to him on 10 different medications; the doctor decided he needed only four. Medication can, in fact, be the cause of some medical problems, he said. That makes it imperative for geriatric patients, in particular, to have a pharmacist who caters to their special situations. James Marinacci, the pharmacist at Austin Drugs, Inc., on Austin Street in Forest Hills, said about 60 percent of his customers are senior citizens. “We just make sure we take a little more time with them,” he said. “We go over [their medication plan] a little more. Any problems with over-the-counter [drugs], if they interact, we’ll go over that.” He indicated that the pharmacy also offers free delivery throughout the day, and special senior discounts are also available. Dental care is another area in which seniors often require special attention. Dr.


Marvin Grossman of Glendale, a specialist in dentures, partials, crowns and bridges, has seen his fair share of senior patients over the past 48 years. “People need their teeth to chew,” he said. “They think it’s okay to gum it. This can lead to a lot of stomach issues.” Sometimes patients come to him for reasons of aesthetics. “Seniors now love to look younger,” he said. Of one, he explained, “I have a 92-year-old man whose son wanted the best for his father.” So, rather than opt for the more common dentures, he had two permanent implants put in. “He was happy as a clam,” Grossman said. On another occasion, he had a patient who was unable to get to his office, so he treated her in her hospital bed. And frequently, geriatrics have difficulty leaning their heads back while in the dental chair. When that’s the case, “I work in a different position,” the doctor said. So, he concludes, “Seniors demand a little extra tender loving care. You can’t slough ’em off. You have to have patience with patients.” A word of advice from Donna, a longtime employee in the healthcare field who wanted her last name withheld, has to do with a major piece in the puzzle: the selection of insurance that will offer the best medical options. Insurance plans can be very confusing, according to Donna. “A lot of frustration for seniors is they don’t know if a particular doctor is in their network,” she said. “The selection of insurance is as much a part of the process as the selection of a doctor based on the individual’s insurance,” she said. “Cheaper is not better,” she added. “You Q get what you pay for.”

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Salute to Healthcare

A brief guide to every hospital in Queens by Anna Sackel


ueens has a population of more than two million people with more moving here every year. With an ever-growing populace and a record number of people over the age of 65 living in the borough, the need for healthcare facilities is growing as well. Although five hospitals have closed in Queens since the year 2000, 10 remain, ranging in size and specialties. Each one has been a part of the community for decades and has a unique history and structure all its own. While St. Joseph’s Hospital in Flushing, Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, St. John’s Queens in Elmhurst and Rockaway’s Peninsula Hospital Center all have closed their doors, the 10 that have survived stretch from one end of the borough to the other. Each serves a different part of Queens, some with the best emergency departments, some with top-of-the-line maternity wards, and some with specialty services in dozens of different fields. Many of these hospitals have state-ofthe-art equipment and newly renovated facilities to help patients not only to heal, but to be as comfortable as possible during their treatments.

where healthcare services are delivered efficiently and effectively, regardless of ability to pay. For more than 100 years St. John’s has been the only full-service care hospital on the Rockaway peninsula. With over 1,500 employees and volunteers this facility offers full comprehensive medical, surgical, emergency and diagnostic services. It is also a state-designated Stroke Center and a Level II Trauma Center

Queens Hospital Center 82-68 164 St., Jamaica (718) 883-3226 This hospital’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive care to all members of the public regardless of their ability to pay. Located in Jamaica, it offers emergency services, pediatrics, geriatrics, radiology and ophthalmology. It is an affiliate of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and has been operating for more than 100 years. It was the first hospital in Queens to have a PET/CT scanner and has upgraded its Radiation Oncology technology with equipment that will help better the treatment for brain tumors.

St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital 29-01 21 St., Bayside (718) 281-8800

New York Presbyterian Queens 56-45 Main St., Flushing (718) 670-2000

At St. Mary’s the motto is “where big hearts help little patients.” The hospital is committed to improving the health and quality of life for children and families with special needs. This hospital is completely dedicated to helping children with special health needs and has some unique inpatient programs and specialties. Some of these inpatient services include aqua therapy, neuro-rehabilitation, spiritual care and treatment for pediatric feeding disorders. St. Mary’s is the largest provider of long-term care for children in New York.

This hospital’s mission is to provide caring, high-quality, f iscally responsible healthcare services that meet the needs and expectations of the communities it serves. Born from a system of hospitals that began in 1892 and came to Queens during World War I, it is part of one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States. It is a community teaching hospital and is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medicine. The hospital has 535 beds, 14 clinical departments and sees on average 15,000 surgeries and delivers 4,000 babies per year. It is also an American College of Surgeons and New York State verified Level I Trauma Center.

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital 327 Beach 19 St., Far Rockaway (718) 869-7000 This hospital’s mission is to have a commitment to compassion, to improving the health of the community and to sustaining an environment of excellence

best outpatient, emergency and inpatient medical care. It is on ly hospit al i n Queens designated as a primary stroke center and the only one to receive an excellence award from the American Nursing Credentials Center. With about 500 physicians covering 40 different areas of expertise, this hospital has been helping people for over 120 years. The hospital recently opened up a new $175 million building with state-of-the-art equipment and services that were previously only available in its Manhattan affiliate.

Mount Sinai Queens 25-10 30 Ave., Long Island City. (718) 932-1000 This hospital is committed to providing the western Queens community with the

Long Island Jewish Medical Center 270-05 76th Ave., New Hyde Park (718) 470-7000 This hospital’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life for the people and communities it serves by providing world-class service and patient-centered care. The heart of the Northwell Health system, LIJ includes four different hospitals within its campus. They are Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Katz Women’s Hospital, Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Zucker Hillside Hospital. LIJ also has a neuroscience institute, a head and neck institute and more. The children’s hospital is just a minute walk to Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, which provides free housing for children and their families undergoing extended hospital treatment.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center 4500 Parsons Blvd, Flushing (718) 670-5000 With a mission to provide superior service to its patients and the community in a caring environment this hospital strives to be the highest-quality, most cost-effective healthcare provider, responsive and sensitive to all. Founded by a group of women in 1884 this hospital has a stateof-the-art labor, delivery and recovery wing. It also has a newly renovated emergency department and also provides over 20 other services including addiction, radiology and dental services.

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills 102-01 66 Road, Forest Hills (718) 830-4000 This hospital’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life for the people and communities it serves by providing world-class service and patient-centered care. Previously known as Forest Hills Hospital, it is a division of Long Island Jewish Medical Center that provides in-patient, surgical and intensive medical care. It also has OB-GYN services in its Women’s New Life Center which is a recognized Baby Friendly Designated Birth Facility. It is a 911 receiving site, a certified heart station, a Level II Perinatal Center and a designated Stroke Center.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center 8900 Van Wyck Expressway, Richmond Hill (718) 206-6000 This hospital’s mission statement is “to serve our patients and the community in a way that is second to none.” It features the only Level I Trauma Center and Stroke Center in Southern Queens. It is a designated Hypothermia/Cardiac Destination Facility and has an emergency room allocated just for pediatrics. It also has the largest voluntary hospital ambulance fleet that serves the city’s 911 center. Jamaica has a variety of unique services including a sleep center and a lupus center. The hospital has 424 beds as well as an additional 224 beds in its long-term care nursing home.

Elmhurst Hospital Center 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst (718) 334-4000 This hospital’s mission is to provide quality health care to all, regardless of ability to pay. It specializes in obstetrician and neonatal healthcare services. Established in 1918, it was the first children’s health center in the United States, and delivers approximately 4,000 babies a year. This hospital says it is focused on culturally senstive care and topnotch mental health services. This hospital is a Level I Trauma Center and Stroke Center as well as a 911 receiving hospital and an Q Emergency Heart Care Station.

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Salute to Healthcare

Neighbors helping neighbors in need by Michael Gannon

“If someone was in cardiac arrest or badly injured, help could be there in three minutes n a sunny summer weekend, working for or an hour. People died.” He said Forest a volunteer ambulance corps in Queens Hills residents decided to organize themselves after a member of the community can mean manning a holiday parade. During or immediately after a hurricane suffered a heart attack, and had to wait 30 or other disaster, it can mean saving lives minutes for help to arrive. Today, Wolfe said, they complement the when the FDNY is overextended or can’t FDNY’s medical services, provide mutual easily get units to isolated areas. More than 20 such volunteer groups dot aid to other groups and perform the same the borough, providing an extension of ser- secondary community functions. “We also supplement the FDNY when vices offered by the city’s EMS system, and their resources are depleted, like in a heat in some cases going further. They offer training, camaraderie and an wave or another emergency. When their resources are overloaded, we have two dediopportunity to serve the community. Samantha Gunning, chief of the Glendale cated units in Forest Hills and Rego Park.” Wolfe said they bill Volunteer Ambulance insurance companies, Corps, said its membut never the patient. bers are certified to Their Youth Corps, per for m up to the for teens ages 14 to level of emergency 17, is an opportunity medical technicians for the community’s — and that they conyout h to have a sider themselves very rewa rd i ng act ivit y much a part of the while also offering an community. opportunity to see if “We play a large either the call of volrole,” she said. “We unteerism or even a do nonemergency career in emergency transports along with Deput y Chief Nicholas medicine might be of conventional medical interest to them. coverage.” Spinelli, WHBVFD, to Gun ning said as T hey also cover potential volunteer s the 9/11 attacks were things like parades, unfolding, the Queens where organizers must have ambulance coverage — “at no volunteer services helped to hold the line in charge” — to secure a permit. There also the borough as FDNY units were flooded might be someone heading to a medical into Lower Manhattan. Deputy Chief Nicholas Spinelli of the appointment who might not need an ambulance, just help getting down from a second- 90-year-old West Hamilton Beach Volunteer or upper-floor residence that has no elevator. Fire Department said the geography in some And yes, Gunning said, sometimes their of South and southwestern Queens can in good times give his group and volunteer response time can just be faster. Alan Wolfe, president of the Forest Hills companies in the Rockaways an advantage Volunteer Ambulance Corps, said it was in terms of response time. Then came Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, founded in 1971, before EMS came under the FDNY, and when ambulance service which brought floods that left large sections temporarily isolated. was much less reliable. “We’re in the community,” Spinelli said. “EMS had a problem getting timely medical service to parts of the city,” Wolfe said. “People rely on us when other units are unable to get down here. If you have a nor’easter, or even sometimes with normal tides, you can find yourself stranded.” One example he gave was back in March when a woman was trapped in her car with rising water, a call on which WHBVFD members were on the spot. And when Hurricane Sandy cut off the Rockaways before leveling whole neighborhoods with wind, water and fire, West Hamilton Beach became part of the region’s early lifeline, jumping to the assistance of its volunteer brethren in Broad Channel, Roxbury and elsewhere. “Any donations we got, we shared with Ready to roll: You may only see members of them,” Spinelli said. Wolfe said Forest Hills, one of the largest the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps at parades or public community functions. But if companies in Queens, boasts about 50 you, a neighbor or family member needs help, active members. Other companies can have rosters of 30 they’re a phone call away.


Call up, make an appointment, come on down ...


The Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which also serves Rego Park and mutual aid for surrounding neighborhoods, has one of the larger pools of members among volunteer ambulance PHOTOS BY STEVE FISHER companies in Queens. or more, with far fewer qualifying as very active members. Wolfe said many kinds of people are attracted to volunteer companies. “The ones we’re very much looking for are community members who want to do something significant, to come in and who really want to give time to the organization,” he said. Gunning said having enough personnel can be a struggle for the volunteer groups. “I think the times have changed volunteerism,” she said. “It isn’t what it used to be.” Gunning pointed out that these economic times often force people to work multiple jobs. Some people in the professional emergency medical field, who might otherwise have time to volunteer with a local company, may be forced to work for multiple paid outfits because of low pay, or might have to

take on overtime to make ends meet. All contacted said they welcome talking to people who might have in interest in joining. “Call up, make an appointment, come on down and look over the application,” Spinelli said. “You can see what we’ll require of you. And we do the training right here in the firehouse.” Wolfe and Gunning said pretty much the same. All volunteer companies checked by the Chronicle have a website with contact information. And all could always use monetary donations of any amount from the public to keep going. “If anyone wants to give a check for $1,000, drop by the station, drop it in the mail or go on our website,” Wolfe said. Spinelli and Gunning said their companies also willingly accept donations by mail Q or in person.

Firefighter O.J. Bruin, left, and probie dispatch EMT and firefighter Alyssa Velez are among those standing ready for the call — come hell or very high water — with the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department.

C M CEL page 21 Y K Page 21 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 14, 2018


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Salute to Healthcare

Early detection of breast cancer is key by Victoria Zunitch odern medical cures have nothing on prevention and early detection. When it comes to breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that every woman over the age of 45 should have an annual mammogram, and that women should be able to begin mammograms as early as age 40, if they wish. Breast cancer is the second-biggest cancer killer for women, right behind lung cancer, and one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease during her life, the cancer society says. There are an average of about 5,600 new cases annually in New York City, and just as it is nationally, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for women here, after lung cancer, according to information provided by a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health. More than 1,000 women die from breast cancer in the city each year. Mammograms are the most accurate screening test for the disease, as they can detect tumors when they’re still too small to be felt. But there are additional screening steps you should probably take.


Breast self-exams The ACS no longer recommends monthly breast self-exams or manual exams by a clinical provider because research hasn’t shown that they provide a clear benefit, though many continue to provide manual exams. Yet, it still recommends that women should be “familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel,” and so many doctors and patients continue to conduct both clinical exams and BSEs. The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends checking in the shower, using the pads of the fingers in a circular pattern from the outside to the center, and repeating this exam outside of the shower while lying down. In both exams, you are looking for any lump, such as something that might feel like a dried pea or bean, or new thickening or hardened knot. If you find something, bring it to the attention of your doctor, but don’t panic. Breast tissue is lumpy and changeable by nature. The last part of the BSE is to visually inspect both breasts in front of a mirror with both arms at your sides, and then raised overhead, to check for changes in contour, swelling or skin dimpling. More detailed instructions for BSEs can be found online at breast-self-exam. A clinical exam by a healthcare provider is conducted in a similar manner. It wouldn’t hurt the gentlemen to be aware of the disease, either. While breast

Doctors often refer women for mammograms to a radiology group with which they have a relationship, but you can find your own. Some perform both 2-D and 3-D exams. cancer in men is rare, about one in 1,000 will get it in his lifetime, enough of a risk to make it worthwhile for men to be aware that they, too, can perform a breast self-exam. Mammograms If your doctor is sending you for mammography, it’s most likely that she or he will send you to a group that’s either affiliated with a hospital at which the doctor has admitting privileges or a radiology group with which the office has a good working relationship. This can sometimes facilitate bureaucratic issues such as scheduling and the communication of results for patients and providers alike, but you are by no means obliged to visit the radiologist of your doctor’s choice. Queens offers a wide variety of options, both for those who have insurance and those who don’t. For those with insurance, you will want to check and see if your insurance will be accepted at the facility you plan to visit as well as whether or not the provider is considered to be in your insurer’s network. Some radiology facilities perform both two-dimensional and three-dimensional mammograms, the latter of which follow the same procedure from the patient’s point of view, and uses the same X-ray technology, as the 2-D test, but takes a few extra seconds. Usually, insurance companies pay for the 2-D test. If the radiologist sees something suspicious, he or she might offer you the 3-D test in order to rule out any trouble, and depending on your insurance coverage, you might need to pay the full amount of the 3-D test or an additional copay if you agree to having the exam done.


Breast cancer remains the second-biggest cancer killer of women.

Finding your own radiology group If you want to find your own radiologist, several independent radiology groups have locations in Queens. Also, hospital chains have affiliated radiology practices scattered throughout the borough. In centrally located Forest Hills, the Metropolitan Diagnostic Imaging Group, an affiliate of NYU Langone Medical Center, provides mammograms at 69-15 Austin St., toward the western end of Forest Hills. The location is a short walk from the 71st/Continental subway stop on the E, F, M and R subway lines, next to the Gerard Towers co-op. The Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center is also in Forest Hills but on the eastern end approaching Kew Gardens, at 11129 Queens Blvd. near the F line. Nearby is the Women’s Health Center of New York Presbyterian Medical Group at 112-05 Queens Blvd., just upstairs from the 75 Avenue subway stop on the F line. Lenox Hill Radiology’s website lists six Queens locations that performs mammograms, including 80-02 Kew Gardens Road in Kew Gardens, near the Union Turnpike stop on the F line; 37-17 76 St. in Jackson Heights, near the Roosevelt Avenue stop on the F line; 29-16 Astoria Blvd. in Astoria, a short walk from the Astoria Boulevard stop on the N and W lines; 89-40 56 Ave. in Elmhurst, which can be reached via the Q60 bus or a walk from the Woodhaven Boulevard stop on the M and R lines; 43-55 147 St. in Flushing, accessible via the Q65, Q25 or Q34 buses, and 133-54 41 Ave., near the 7 train’s Main Street stop. Three of independent Main Street Radiology’s locations, distributed throughout the borough, perform mammograms, all of which are accessible by public transportation. Two are accessible by either bus, subway or the LIRR: the Bayside office is at 44-01 Francis Lewis Blvd., and the downtown

Flushing office is at 136-25 Main St.. The third, the western Queens office at 72-06 Northern Blvd., is accessible by bus and subway. All Main Street offices are open for extended hours. On Monday to Friday, they’re open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and on Saturday, they’re open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. On Sunday, the downtown Flushing office is open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. An independent group with two Queens locations is Richmond Hill Radiology at 116-24 Myrtle Ave., near the Q10 and Q37 buses, and its affiliate, Kissena Radiology Associates at 41-25 Kissena Blvd., a short walk from the Flushing-Main St. stop of the 7 train, right near the Port Washington Long Island Rail Road station. The group’s website notes that its Richmond Hill office is open Monday through Saturday, while its Kissena Radiology (Flushing) location, where translators are available on-site for those who speak Spanish, Punjabi and Chinese, has Sunday hours. Where to get free mammograms In New York City, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation has been running a free mobile mammography program at a variety of locations in all f ive boroughs for decades. Any woman over the age of 40 who hasn’t had a mammogram in the past year is eligible to call 1 (877) 628-9090 for an appointment, and you won’t need a referral from a doctor. In Queens, the van sets up in a variety of convenient locations, such as near libraries and houses of worship. And of course, Queens residents who work in other boroughs are eligible to set up an appointment when the van visits a location near their workplace. For more information, and to see a list of the Queens locations the van regularly visits, go to Women who visit free or low-cost clinics such as the Joseph P. Addabbo family health centers can get clinical breast exams and discuss breast self-exams at those locations, as well as receive a referral to the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s mobile Q mammography program.

C M CEL page 23 Y K Page 23 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 14, 2018

Underage Gambling FACT SHEET 39.5% of NYS youth between the ages of 12 and 17 have gambled in the past year. Nearly 30% of these youth state they began gambling at age 10 or younger. Past 30 day use of alcohol, being drunk, use of marijuana, and drinking energy drinks is higher among youth who are


Source: OASAS, 2014-15

Top 3 Past-Year Gambling Behaviors tPlaying lottery, lotto, and scratch offs tBetting money on raffles or charity games tBetting money on sports

*Source: OASAS, 2014-15

Consequences of Underage Gambling t*ODSFBTFESJTLGPS%&-*/26&/$:$3*.& t*ODSFBTFESJTLGPS46#45"/$&64&"#64& t*ODSFBTFESJTLGPS"%%*$5*0/ t%"."(&%3&-"5*0/4)*14 t1PPSBDBEFNJDQFSGPSNBODF t.FOUBMIFBMUIJTTVFTJODMVEJOH%&13&44*0/"/9*&5: t0WFSBMM 1003(&/&3"-)&"-5) *Source:s: Wynne, et. al. (1996); Hardoon, et. al. (2002); Gupta & Derevensky (1998); Potenza, et. al. (2002).

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Salute to Healthcare

Diversity at work in a growing sector by Anna Sackel uring a time when fights for equal pay and higher minimum wage plague the media, a glimmer of light can be found in the ever-growing health field. According to a report released in February by Tom DiNapoli, the New York State comptroller, “health care is the only employment sector in New York City that has experienced gains every year since 1990, adding the most jobs of any sector in 2017.” With the healthcare industry continuously growing, more and more people are moving to Queens to pursue a career as a professional in the field. “Queens used to be the place people travel through, now it’s the place you travel to,” said Tom Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. The healthcare sector is responsible for the second-highest percentage of job growth in Queens since 2011, according to a report released by the city Department of Planning. Joseph Molloy, vice president of work force safety at Northwell Health, believes the increase in healthcare related jobs is due to an aging population. “One of the biggest job growths is with home healthcare,” said Molloy. “More people need help at home and a continuum


care is universal,” said Molloy. “Language of care after they leave the hospital.” More than 350,000 Queens residents is no longer a barrier.” are over the age of 65. With more elders Molloy said that with so many different comes the demand for more help for them. languages being spoken and so many cul“Healthcare overall is so dynamic and tures and religions being represented, providit’s forever changing,” said Molloy. “So ing top-notch healthcare is easier than ever. there’s this constant growth involved in “There used to be the issue of with very the f ield and that religious people, you gets people excited know some cultures to join it.” patients had some The Borough of trouble with having a Q ue e n s is w idely m a n or a wom a n known as one of the care for them,” said most diverse places Mol loy. “ We c a n in the world. accommodate these According to a 2017 people better now. repor t released by Diversit y mea ns the Endangered Lanopportunity.” guage Alliance, In New York City more languages are h e a lt h c a r e i s t h e spoken i n Queens largest-growing job Joseph Molloy of t ha n i n a ny other sector, expanding 28 Nor thwell Health place in the world. percent since 2009. With so many difThese workers are no ferent ethnic groups longer just doctors being represented it’s no wonder that hos- and nurses. More and more people are pitals are now looking to hire more multi- pursuing careers as caregivers, live-in lingual staffs. nurses and in various specialties such as According to Molloy, more than 150 radiology and occupational therapy. languages and dialects are spoken among Just as in the city, some of the fastestNorthwell Health employees. g rowing professions in A mer ica are “I think part of that is that it’s Queens healthcare related, but people with some but where that comes from is that health- of these jobs may never even step foot in a

The healthcare field is so dynamic and it’s forever changing.

In New York City the fastest-growing job sector is healthcare. More than 519,000 people in the city work in the industry, which has grown by 114,000 employees since 2009. Growth in the sector accounted for 16 percent of overall job growth in New York City during that time. hospital or doctor’s office. Home health aides and personal care aides are two of the nation’s fastest growing jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, five out 10 of the quickest-growing jobs are in the healthcare industry. Aside from home health and personal care aides, the others are physician assistant, nurse practitioner and physical therapist assistant. U.S. News & World Report recently continued on page 31


C M CEL page 25 Y K Page 25 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 14, 2018


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Salute to Healthcare

Therapy garden being tended in thyme for summer by Bre’Anna Grant octors remind their patients that taking care of their body, mind and soul is important and should be practiced regularly. The art of self-care means something different to every person whether it’s taking a bath after a long day of work or breaking a diet for a sweet treat. For patients at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilit at ion i n New Hyde Park, it means helping to take care of their bodies by growing fresh herbs and plants, thanks to a new “Eldergrow” garden. “We’re excited about our new horticultural therapy program, which promotes the stimulation of body, mind and spirit,” said Pa rker’s P resident a nd CEO Michael Rosenblut in a statement. “Patients and residents take pride in growing a variety of plants and herbs with their own hands, and enjoy the results of their labor through ongoing culinary harvest and garden art classes.” The institute’s new Eldergrow


Garden Program, provides yearround horticultural therapy to enhance the lives of its patients and residents. “ T h e u s e of p l a n t s c a n improve the mind, body, soul and quality of life,” said Eldergrow’s Founder and CEO Orla Concannon. “Mint has so many benefits that people don’t know about like improving digestion, memory and fights depression.” The other herbs and plants residents can plant include basil, lavender, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Eldergrow, an award-winning Seattle-based company, offers older adults in senior residences and skilled nursing facilities a therapeutic connection to nature through its innovative garden products and programming. “I founded Eldergrow when I was in graduate school,” said Concannon. “I wanted to figure out how to bring nature indoors for older people.” Due to what Parker said is huge public interest, a Project Demonstration Day was held l a s t T hu r s d ay. Fa m i l ie s of patients and residents along with

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Residents at Parker Jewish Institute are excited about the new therapy garden as they plant herbs that will be used PHOTO BY BRE’ANNA GRANT in a future culinary class, along with other greenery. members of the media had the opportunity to observe the program in action. “I’m definitely looking forward to the culinary classes,” said Sharon Walters, a Parker resident. “I love anything outdoors — swimming, gardening,



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you name it. They have to send a search party for me because I’m always outside when the sun is out and the weather is nice.” According to Eldergrow, studies prove horticultural therapy reduces depression, enhances mood and sleep, improves coor-

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Salute to Healthcare

A look at the fight for single-payer in New York by Ryan Brady


ith the Trump administration having taken steps to weaken Obamacare, New York activists have stepped up demands for the state to have a single-payer healthcare system. In three of the past four years, New York’s lower chamber has passed a bill introduced by Assemblyman Richard Got tf r ied (D -Man hat tan) that would establish the system in the state. Twentyseven of Albany’s 63 state senators — all of them Democrats — are also carrying the bill in their chamber. The bill’s never been passed in the state Senate, which for all but a short time has been controlled by the GOP for decades. Its numbers are now split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, owing to one from the former camp going on naval duty. Implementing Gottfried’s plan, the New York Health Act, would require waivers from the federal government. Gov. Cuomo said last year that he would sign the bill if “it was not incongruous to what the federal government would do to us. I think it’s a very exciting possibility. But I think it’s going to be a federal play and we are, our funding system basically relies on Medicaid from the

An Albany bill to establish state-wide single-payer healthcare has gained traction among progressive activists and lawmakers, but it faces political obstacles and critics who say it would be PHOTO BY SHAUNFROMBROOKLYN VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS extremely expensive. feds. And if they turn off that valve or slow that valve, there is no way we’re going to be able to make that up in this state no matter what.”

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Proponents of the bill say the legislation is a great way to remedy inequities in healthcare outcomes and point to how medical costs have increased for patients in recent years. Richard Friedman from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst conducted an analysis of what Gottfried’s proposal would cost the state. The economist’s study estimates it would require $91 billion per year in increased taxes to be carried out. But it also says state residents wou ld save $ 45 billion a n nu ally i n healthcare costs. Critics say single-payer — gover nment-provided insurance for all — is far too expensive for any single state to pay for and use California and Vermont as examples: The two states came close to implementing single-payer systems, but the governors in each backed out over how expensive it would be. Adding to the chorus of calls for single-payer in New York is Cynthia Nixon, the actor and activist running a progressive primary challenge to Gov. Cuomo. President Tr ump and congressional Republicans tried last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of a new healthcare law. Although their push failed, Tr ump has successfully taken steps to weaken Obamacare, like axing its individual mandate; the move will take effect in 2019. In and beyond New York, Republicans have not been associated with support for single-payer. But according to Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), the prospect of Washington dismantling the Affordable Care Act or making cuts to Medicare or Medicaid has made at least some of them a bit more open to the notion. He admits there is no chance of the proposal passing this year. But the lawmaker

also said he’d had private discussions with GOP senators who “are open to entertaining” and “at least discussing” single-payer “because of the crisis we might be facing.” And according to state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), who sits on her chamber’s Health Committee, more cuts to Obamacare are coming from Washington. “I think our healthcare system is in trouble right now,” she said. “And I think it’s going to get worse, particularly when more cuts are initiated.” T he law m a ke r a lso pr e d ic t s t h at Republican cuts to the Affordable Care Act will “be felt more” next year and in future ones. Stavisky concedes Gottfried’s bill has extremely slim chances of passage during the soon-to-end legislative session. And she admits that single-payer would certainly “be difficult at the state level.” In terms of how to move state-level single-payer in New York forward, the senator says negotiations would be key and the bill’s backers should be open to compromise. One of the most vocal analysts to criticize Gottfried’s plan is Bill Hammond of the Empire Center for Public Policy. That’s because the bill would require “an unprecedented, huge tax increase,” Hammond said. His analysis has led him to conclude that Friedman’s study seriously low-balls how much money would be needed to pay for state-wide single-payer. According to the Empire Center expert, the actual cost is closer to $200 billion. With a grant it received from the New York State Health Foundation, the RAND Corp. is conducting a study of the bill’s potential economic effects. Hammond said he’s looking for ward to what its results are, given RAND’s reputation for high-quality research and how it has no “axe to grind.” Ac c ord i ng t o t he Empi r e C e nt e r expert, were the state Senate to turn blue and the bill’s backers were in power, they may not necessarily r ush to pass the legislation. “They’re supporting it because it’s a popular concept,” he said. “When push comes to shove, I think a lot of them are going to change their minds.” Even a vocal advocate for Gottfried’s bill, Leonard Rodberg of the Physicians for a National Health Program, says the politics could get complicated. “The politics is going to get difficult ... once the political debate becomes really serious,” said the activist, who used to be the chairman of Queens College’s Urban Studies Department. Business interests, he added, would lobby against the proposal. But it’s unlikely that the obstacles will make Rodberg and his single-payer allies from keeping up their push. “The benefits to the public are so overwhelming that it seems to me the time Q has come to get smart,” he said.

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On the front lines of innovation

How to get health insurance

continued from page 4 said people are slowly warming up to it. “It’s really hard to grasp until you actually enter the room and see it,” he said. “We’re quick to tell people that it’s just a tool. The surgeon is still the one doing the surgery and controlling its arms.” Over at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the work of assistant professor and researcher Theo Zanos and his colleagues is still years away from completion. But when all is said and done, their project might be more consequential than even they can imagine. What if you were able to treat your rheumatoid arthritis before the joints in your fingers started swelling up? What if you knew you had diabetes before any bloodwork could confirm it? Zanos believes it’s possible, through the implanting of electrodes on the vagus nerve — the longest in the human body’s nervous system. “It’s important for our body to communicate its status with our brain. What we’re trying to do is leverage that knowledge and listen,” he said. “We’re trying to listen to that code, translate it and relate it to certain medical conditions. “The idea is to detect issues as soon as possible, well before symptoms appear,” he added. “The earliest it could be is

continued from page 10 But even that process, the two experts said, doesn’t have to be stressful. Much like in the real estate industry, Tahany said contacting a broker is one possible option. “There are still some brokers out there who will assist people in the individual market to find them coverage,” he said. “But people need to be aware that when they call a broker, they need to know whether they represent all companies or just specialize in a handful. They wouldn’t direct you to a company they’re not being compensated by.” Another option, according to Evangelista, would be to walk into a hospital or medical clinic and speak with insurance advisors on staff. “Most hospitals and clinics will have certified counselors there to walk you through the process of finding insurance, it’s really not that difficult,” he said. “The older you are, the sooner you should go through this process.” Another point both men were in lockstep on is simply how important it is to make sure one is covered at all times. One of the most disputed original aspects of the ACA was the individual mandate — including a tax penalty for people who go without health insurance. In the last fiscal year, that hit was either 2.5 percent of one’s total household

when these delineators start appearing.” Zanos’ work has seen success in mice so far, as researchers implanted electrodes on their vagus nerves and injected the critters with two different cytokines — one that causes inflammation and one used by cells to communicate inflammatory states and trigger immune responses. According to Scientific American magazine, the electrodes detected cytokine-caused neu rological elect r ical impulses that were correctly deciphered using an algorithm at a rate of 83 percent. “This is not science fiction. People are being implanted with vagus nerve stimulators every day,” Zanos said. “Right now, the first proof of concept relates to inflammatory issues. Any kind of chronicle inflammation would be the first target of this project.” The researcher said that it could take upwards of 10 years before such technology could possibly be used to detect the presence of diseases in humans, as the project has to progress from mice to larger animals first. But should the implanting of electrodes and the deciphering of signals prove realistic, Zanos said there’s no telling how consequential it could be. “The sky is the limit,” he said. “As researchers, we don’t save lives every day like doctors do. But we dream one day of Q saving a lot of lives at one time.”

income or $695 per uninsured adult and $347.50 per uninsured child — whichever figure is higher. While it didn’t technically repeal the individual mandate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump eliminated the tax penalty. This spring, Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill to revive the individual mandate’s tax penalties on the state level — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, did the same in 2016. But on a nationwide level, according to Evangelista and Tahany, the declawing of the mandate could mean much more than possible premium spikes, as healthy people leave the marketplace. Those uninsured individuals could be faced with financial ruin, should something happen to them. “That’s going to hurt,” Evangelista said. “The young and healthy people, if they’re not mandated to get [insurance], they probably won’t get it.” “You can’t be without insurance,” Tahany added. “You’re seeing people who are 27 filing for personal bankrupty because of something that happened. You have to be proactive when it comes to making sure that you’re covered.” For more information about New York State of Health, call 1 (855) 355-5557 or q log onto

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continued from page 24 released a list of the 25 best healthcare jobs. It determined the ranking based on seven different criteria including average salary, employment rate and 10-year growth potential, using BLS statistics Taking the No. 1 spot for best healthcare job is dentistry, followed by physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, orthodontist, pediatrician, OB-GYN, oral surgeon, physician, occupational therapist, physical therapist, anesthesiologist, surgeon, psychiatrist, prosthodontist, registered nurse, respiratory therapist, nurse anesthetist, optometrist, podiatrist, veterinarian, radiation therapist, nurse midwife, speech and language pathologist, pharmacist and chiropractor. “We’re always striving for better health, and the people who hold some of the jobs on our 2018 Best Health Care Jobs list can help you breathe, eat, walk, speak, hear, move and see better,” U.S. News says on its website. “They can also help patients prevent disease, illness and injury, as well as diagnose, fight and treat illness.” The first eight of these are also in the top 10 on the U.S. News list of the 100 best jobs overall. According the the BLS, one in eight Americans work in the healthcare field, working in about 16 million different jobs. That’s a little over 40 million

healthcare professionals in the United States. Reflecting what Molloy of Northwell said and the BLS, the reason for the number of healthcare workers may be due in part to an aging population, since baby boomers are now in or around retirement age. According to Grech, over 350,000 people over the age of 65 living in Queens. Having an older population calls for having more nurses and more caregivers than ever before. “It’s where the money is, it’s where the people are, there’s opportunity in the healthcare field,” said Grech. “There’s a demand for multilingual and diverse healthcare workers.” Queens is home to more than two million people of various religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. With more languages and cultures being represented here than anywhere else in the world, it’s no wonder why New York City is refered to as a melting pot. “People ask me all the time how is there so much harmony in a place with so many different types of people,” said Grech. “I say it’s because we’re all too busy working and living side-by-side that no one has time to fight or care about our differences. We’re all just here living the American Dream and working q our butts off.”

NYBC declares blood shortage emergency by Derrell J. Bouknight A critically low level of blood across New York has prompted the New York Blood Center to declare an emergency. The announcement came on Monday after the center confirmed that supplies have dropped below the required minimu m. According to its website, NYBC aims to maintain a seven- to nine-day supply of blood, but the latest urgency has officials encouraging members of all blood types to donate immediately. “Every single day, blood donations help save lives — and right now, the need is critical,” said Andrea Cefarelli, NYBC’s senior director of donor recruitment. “We’re calling on everyone to do what they can to spread the word, host a blood drive or simply take an hour out of their day to donate.” O negative blood, which is considered “universal,” is in high demand because of its necessity in trauma situations and emergency rooms. Those with O negative blood are asked to

come forward immediately, as it can be used for all patients in need of a transfusion. B negative blood, considered a rare blood type, is also needed from donors. The donation process takes about one hour, and donors who participate in NYBC blood drives will receive free mini-medical exams with information on blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature and hemoglobin levels. Those who meet the age criteria of at least 17 years old— or 16 with written consent from a parent or guardian— and weigh 110 pounds are eligible to donate. Further information is available at 1 (800) 933-BLOOD (2566) and “Companies, organizations and community groups are also encouraged to host a blood drive this summer to help rebuild the blood supply,” NYBC said in a press release. “Especially during the months of July and August.” Those most in need of blood transfusions include cancer patients, transplant recipients, trauma victims, newborn babies and Q their mothers.

Page 31 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 14, 2018

Numbers rise in healthcare field

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Celebration of Queens 2018  

Celebration of Queens 2018 - Highlighting Healthcare in our Borough

Celebration of Queens 2018  

Celebration of Queens 2018 - Highlighting Healthcare in our Borough