When only the best will do ST. MARY EARNS HIGH ACCOLADES FROM HEALTHGRADES IN 2017 When it comes to your health,choosing which hospital to trust with your care is crucial. That’s because the quality of medical care can vary widely. So here’s something to keep in mind: St. Mary Medical Center was among just 3 percent of hospitals in the U.S. to earn two high honors from Healthgrades in 2017, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about doctors and hospitals. St. Mary was recognized both for patient safety excellence and outstanding patient experience. But that’s not all. St. Mary was also the only hospital in Pennsylvania named as one of America’s best 100 hospitals for spine surgery, joint replacements and orthopedic surgeries. — Continued on page 2
IN THIS ISSUE
YOU’RE COVERED! Medicare now covers cardiac rehab for PAD
FASTER CANCER CARE Timesaving treatment for prostate cancer
EXCEPTIONAL CARE We treat babies and seniors and everyone in between. Read about our full line of services at stmaryhealthcare.org.
Find freedom from joint pain A painful, worn-out knee or hip can make life miserable. And if you’re living with one, you may find yourself asking: Is it time for a new joint? “If pain is affecting your daily life, then replacement surgery may indeed be the right John choice,” says John Avallone, DO Avallone, DO, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Mary Orthopaedics. “It’s highly effective, and it can help you move freely again.” Some signs that the time is right for a new hip or knee: •• It’s tough to climb stairs, get into cars or even walk a short distance. •• You’re giving up activities you enjoy because you hurt. •• Pain interrupts your sleep and affects your mood. •• The side effects of pain medicine are putting your health at risk. Still, as effective—and safe—as joint replacement surgery typically is, it’s still a major operation.
“Consequently, it’s generally not recommended unless you’ve tried more conservative treatments first and they’ve stopped helping,” says Dr. Avallone. Among them: •• Pain relievers, such as oral medicines or steroid injections •• An exercise program •• Physical therapy •• Walking aids, such as a cane or walker But if you’ve exhausted these
When only the best will do — Continued from front page
A closer look
“This national recognition shows that you can count on exceptional care here,” says Monica Eckhardt, the Monica service line Eckhardt administrator for Surgical Services, Orthopedics and Neurosciences at St. Mary. “We combine clinical excellence and compassionate care close to home.”
Healthgrades evaluated patient safety by how well a hospital prevented injuries, infections and other serious conditions over a twoyear period. St. Mary was in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient safety. To see how positive a patient’s hospital stay was, Healthgrades surveyed patients with 32 questions on topics as diverse as pain management and room cleanliness. Patients were also asked if they
More @ St. Mary | Summer 2018
options and decide to go ahead with surgery, it can be life-changing— especially when performed by one of the board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons at St. Mary.
NEXT-DAY APPOINTMENTS Call for a next-business-day appointment with an orthopedic surgeon: 1.844.7 ST MARY (1.844.778.6279).
would recommend a hospital to family and friends. Survey results placed St. Mary in the top 15 percent of hospitals in the U.S. To name St. Mary as a top 100 hospital for spine surgery, joint replacement and orthopedic surgery, Healthgrades evaluated nearly 4,500 hospitals. And here’s the last thing to know: St. Mary was Pennsylvania’s only hospital to be named one of America’s Best for all three orthopedic recognitions in 2017. “We couldn’t be more proud of our whole St. Mary team,” Monica says.
step in A the right direction MEDICARE NOW COVERS REHAB FOR PAD If you have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and are covered by Medicare, you now can enroll in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program offered at St. Mary Medical Center. Only recently has Medicare decided to include PAD among the conditions eligible for cardiac rehab. “Rehab can really improve the life of someone with PAD,” Colleen says Colleen Montgomery, Montgomery, RCEP RCEP, Clinical Lead at St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.
What to expect PAD narrows the blood vessels in the legs, making it painful to walk. Medications, along with lifestyle changes like starting a walking program, can stop the progression— and even reverse the symptoms—of PAD. When someone with PAD comes to rehab at St. Mary’s, they’ll be fitted with a heart monitor. Their time will be spent exercising while under staff supervision. “What they will do is walk to the point of moderate pain in their legs,” Colleen says. “Then, when the pain starts, they’ll stop walking and sit
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at St. Mary can help you manage PAD and get back to the things you love. down. They’ll wait for the pain to stop completely. Then they’ll get up and start walking again. “We’ll do this every session until the pain improves and they can walk for longer times.” Right now, Medicare only requires that PAD rehab include exercise. But St. Mary offers a more comprehensive program. “We also have a variety of group education classes,” Colleen says. “We talk about healthy eating and
managing stress. We also talk about ways to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, quit smoking, and manage anything else that may have contributed to a person’s vascular disease in the first place.”
READY TO ENROLL? To enroll in the 12-week PAD rehab program, call 215.710.2191. You do need a doctor’s prescription. stmaryhealthcare.org
TREATING prostate cancer in less time
Many men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer choose radiation to treat their disease. While radiation therapy can work well (because it destroys cancer cells), it typically takes two months to complete. At St. Mary Medical Center, however, many men can opt for a type of radiation that shortens their course of therapy considerably—by up to three or four weeks. It’s called hypofractionated radiation therapy for prostate cancer. The term hypofractionation simply means giving fewer overall treatments at a higher dose per day, explains Todd W. Flannery, MD, a radiation oncologist at St. Mary. The main benefit is convenience. Men can potentially finish their treatments in four to five weeks instead of the usual eight to nine weeks. That may mean less disruption to their daily lives and fewer missed days of work. “I think the real potential benefit of this treatment is that it allows you to maintain a sense of normalcy when you’re dealing with cancer,” Dr. Flannery says.
“I think the real potential benefit of this treatment is that it allows you to maintain a sense of normalcy when you’re dealing with cancer.” —Todd W. Flannery, MD, Radiation Oncologist at St. Mary
More @ St. Mary | Summer 2018
Hypofractionated radiation therapy has been around for a while—doctors have offered it to men in research studies for several cancers, including prostate and lung cancers. But many clinics still don’t provide hypofractionated therapy. At St. Mary, treatment teams have experience using the technique. That’s partly because St. Mary has state-of-the-art technology that allows doctors to deliver higher radiation doses more safely. Here’s a basic look at how the therapy works for prostate cancer: Using live 3-D images of the prostate, treatment teams are able to make very small adjustments to a patient’s position on the radiation treatment table. These corrections are based on very slight—just a few millimeters—but important shifts in the location of the prostate that normally occur from day to day. This ability to hone in on the prostate, along with other technology that shapes how the radiation is delivered to the prostate, allows doctors to more precisely focus cancer-killing energy away from the nearby bladder and rectum. “The image guidance part of this has really transformed our field in the last 10 years,” Dr. Flannery says. “It improves the precision because we are able to adjust the patient in any direction to line up the prostate perfectly on a daily basis.” As a result, cancer doctors have become more comfortable with giving higher radiation doses per day.
PELVIC FLOOR THERAPY
Getting stronger after prostate cancer Physical therapy can help people get better and improve their quality of life after an injury or surgery. But did you know there is a form of physical therapy—pelvic floor therapy—that can help reduce urinary continence and erectile dysfunction after a prostatectomy? “St. Mary has a formal pelvic floor therapy program with a team of four specially trained therapists to treat men and women of all ages for pelvic pain, urinary and fecal incontinence, and a variety of additional issues specific to the lower abdominal area,” says Jenna Boyes, DPT, a pelvic floor therapist. “Many people are reluctant to talk Jenna about these issues Boyes, DPT and are not even
aware that anything can be done.” Surgery, injury and aging can cause pelvic muscles to become weak or tight. A physical therapist can determine specific causes for the pain, weakness or tightness and work with the patient to develop an individual plan of care.
Training the muscles For men who have had their prostate removed because of cancer, pelvic floor therapy can be especially beneficial. The prostate surrounds the urethra and supports it to help control urination. After a prostatectomy, the pelvic floor muscles have to work harder to make up for the loss of support. Pelvic floor therapy can help train the pelvic floor muscles to reduce incontinence. Risk for incontinence increases when a man is over 70 years old or
Does it work as well as standard radiation? According to Dr. Flannery, studies done in Europe and Canada found that the cure rates for prostate cancer are similar whether radiation is given in fewer, higher doses or in the usual way. Men who are interested in a shorter course of treatment should discuss the potential pros and cons with their doctors, Dr. Flannery says. Hypofractionation can be an option for most men who are candidates for standard radiation therapy, including men with localized or metastatic disease (where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body).
has had an overactive bladder before the surgery; however, conditioning exercises that increase muscle strength and flexibility can help to improve bladder and bowel function. Pelvic therapy can also strengthen weaknesses in the abdominal wall that are common after robotic or laparoscopic surgeries. “We have great interaction with our urology and colorectal teams and work individually with each patient to meet their goals and expectations,” says Boyes. “We also work with our dietitians to be sure of proper fluid and fiber intake, and we can refer patients to our Wellness Center to keep them active and healthy.”
GET SUPPORT Learn more about pelvic floor therapy by calling 215.710.2589.
“We’re proud to offer hypofractionation at St. Mary as an option for treating prostate cancer,” Dr. Flannery says. “We provide the same state-of-the-art technology as our colleagues at academic centers.”
RADIATION SPECIALISTS The radiation oncologists at St. Mary are highly trained in using radiation to treat cancer. To learn more, go to stmaryhealthcare.org/radiationtherapy. stmaryhealthcare.org
Take action now! MERCY LIFE IS THE BEST COMMUNITY HEALTH CHOICE Community Health Choices i s a new health insurance program coming in 2019 to residents in the Greater Philadelphia area. Information about the new health insurance program was mailed to the homes of Pennsylvania residents who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (Medical Assistance). Community Health Choices will give you the option to choose one insurance plan. You must choose one of the plans. If you do not choose a plan by January 2019, a plan will automatically be selected for you by the state of Pennsylvania. The insurance plans available are: • • AmeriHealth Caritas • • PA Health & Wellness •• UPMC Community HealthChoices If you are eligible for the three health insurance plans listed above, you can also enroll in the Mercy LIFE program. Current members of the Mercy LIFE program do not need to enroll in the new Community Health Choices health insurance program. Members are already covered under
Give your teeth the care they deserve As you get older,it’s more important than ever to give your teeth and mouth lots of TLC. “That’s because your risk of cavities and tooth loss increases as you grow older,” says Donna Raziano, MD, Chief Medical Officer for St. Mary Home Care and Mercy LIFE. One reason is dry mouth—a
HAVE QUESTIONS? To learn more about the Mercy LIFE program or for more information on the new Community Health Choices health insurance program, visit mercylife.org/CHC or call 215.339.4524. Mercy LIFE’s health insurance and benefits.
Again, if you do not select one of the Community Health Choices health insurance programs, the state of Pennsylvania will choose one for you. You make the choice! Consider Mercy LIFE for you and
your family. Mercy LIFE provides seniors 55 and older with the support they need to continue living in their own home or with family. Mercy LIFE services help seniors remain independent, active and healthy. There are no out-of-pocket charges if seniors qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid or Medicaid only.
common side effect of many medications. You’re also more likely to get gum disease, a bacterial infection in your mouth. “In its early stages, your gums may bleed and be tender,” Dr. Raziano says. Left untreated, this infection may eventually seriously harm your bones, gums and other tissues that support your teeth. You might even lose your teeth. The good news: There’s a lot you can do to help keep your teeth and smile healthy, especially if you follow these tips: •• See your dentist regularly—not just when you have a painful tooth.
As you age, the nerves inside your teeth become less sensitive. By the time a cavity hurts, it may be severe. Plus, regular visits can help your dentist find early signs of gum disease, as well as oral cancer, which is also more common later in life. •• Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily too. If your hands are stiff, try an electric toothbrush or a water flosser. •• Don’t smoke. It makes you even more vulnerable to gum disease. •• Speak up if your mouth is dry. Your dentist can help ease the dryness.
Make your own choice!
How St. Mary gives back As a faith-based hospital, St. Mary Medical Center’s mission is to serve our community, with special consideration for those in need. And one way we do that is to provide uncompensated medical care for the uninsured and underinsured. One example of this care is the Mother Bachman Maternity Center at St. Mary. Women can receive prenatal care there regardless of their ability to pay. This is the only maternity center of its kind in Bucks County. Still another example: Recently, St. Mary was one of just 23 hospitals nationwide that provided free joint replacement surgeries for people who could not afford them as part of an event called Operation Walk. As a result, two area residents can now move without pain.
How we help: By the numbers During the last fiscal year at St. Mary:
17,725 PEOPLE received charity care
25,071 PEOPLE had Medicaid unpaid costs absorbed by St. Mary.
had subsidized health services, including care provided at St. Mary Trauma Center and at our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Nearly 1 in 4 people in Bucks County benefited from services St. Mary supports. Those services ranged from free mammograms for women in need to suicide prevention programs.
Extending our reach “But St. Mary’s outreach goes far beyond our hospital walls,” says Lisa Kelly, MBA, RN, Manager, Community Benefits at St. Mary. “Our aim is to improve the environment in which people live so that it supports good health.” Here are some Lisa Kelly, highlights of this MBA, RN outreach from the last fiscal year during which St. Mary helped: People who otherwise might have gone hungry. Currently, some 56,000 Bucks County residents often don’t know where their next meal is coming from. To aid them, we helped launch Fresh Connect. Through this program, pop-up style farmers markets give away fresh and healthy food to those in poverty. We also saw to it that some 500 local children who might go hungry when schools close for the
in uncompensated medical care, social services, education programs and financial help to those in need.
weekend went home with backpacks filled with nutritious food. The homeless. We partnered with another local nonprofit to place 43 local families in safe housing. They also received help building the life skills necessary to become self-sufficient. People who couldn’t afford costly medical equipment. With the help of volunteers and donations, St. Mary operates CARES. This recycling program helped some 500 people in need receive
refurbished medical equipment— from wheelchairs to hospital beds— for free. “Very simply, we’re committed to giving people the resources they need to stay healthy,” Lisa says.
WANT TO HELP? You can make a difference by giving to the Community Ministries Fund. Contact the St. Mary Foundation at 215.710.2591 or go to stmaryfoundation.org. stmaryhealthcare.org
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At the forefront of robotic surgery AND
We hear a lotabout robots and how they may help improve our lives in the future. But robotic technology is already making a difference in operating rooms today. Here, Justin D. Harmon, DO, FACOS, Director of Robotic Surgery at St. Mary Medical Center, explains.
What is robotic surgery? Do robots actually operate? ANSWER: Robotic surgery is the use of a robotic platform to perform surgery at the direction of a surgeon. It evolved from laparoscopic surgery, where we operate through small incisions. Robotic surgery also uses small incisions. Once the surgeon places the small robotic instruments through these incisions, the surgeon sits at a console a few feet away from the operating table to operate. When the surgeon moves the control, the robotic instruments move in exactly the same way. The instruments are very small, and there is also a 3-D camera with 10x magnification.
Robotic surgery: A quicker recovery allows patients to return to their normal activities sooner.
What are the potential benefits of robotic surgery? ANSWER: The benefits include less blood loss, a quicker recovery and less pain compared to open surgery with large incisions. This allows patients to return to their normal activities more quickly. Robotic surgery also enhances the ability of the surgeon to make precise movements. At St. Mary, we have years of experience with robotic surgery. Our surgeons use the robot to treat conditions in urology, gynecology, general surgery, bariatric surgery and colorectal surgery.
NEED A DOCTOR? To find a St. Mary physician near you, call 1.844.7 ST MARY (1.844.778.6279).
EXPECT MORE @ ST. MARY is published as a community service for the friends and patrons of St. Mary Medical Center. Information in EXPECT MORE @ ST. MARY comes from a wide range of medical experts. If you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health, please contact your healthcare provider. Models may be used in photos and illustrations. If you would like to stop receiving this publication, please email email@example.com. 2018 © Coffey Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
St. Mary Medical Center's quarterly community newsletter.