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Cardiothoracic surgeon joins Health Quest Medical Practice

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 19) – Dr. Alon Aharon has joined Health Quest Medical Practice in its Division of Cardiovascular Surgery.

Aharon is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon and has led several cardiac surgery programs throughout his career. He most recently was Campus Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Main Line Health in Pennsylvania and Associate Professor of Surgery at the Lankenau Institute of Medical Research, also part of Main Line Health near Phladelphia. 

“I’m dedicated to excellence in patient care and timely and effective communication both with patients and colleagues,” Aharon said. “I look forward to working at Health Quest Medical Practice and sharing this commitment with the team.”

Aharon has expertise in a broad spectrum of adult cardiac surgery, including minimally invasive cardiac surgery, off-pump coronary revascularization, valve repair, complex aortic surgery, structural heart disease, advanced heart failure therapy, including mechanical assist devices, and heart and lung transplantation.

Aharon has consistently achieved excellent surgical outcomes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Public Reporting initiative. Following his undergraduate degree in engineering, Aharon completed medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. 

He received his general and cardiothoracic surgical training at UCLA and obtained additional expertise in thoracic transplant surgery as well as pediatric and complex adult cardiac surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Aharon has authored numerous scientific publications and has served as primary investigator on a number of clinical and basic science studies. He is co-founder of AVN Technologies, an innovative medical device company, and holds multiple national and international medical device patents. 

Aharon is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve and has held leadership positions in Army Special Operations.


Catskill Regional Medical Center debuts new and advanced CT scanner
HARRIS (February 19) - Hospital leadership, clinicians, board members and supporters gathered at Catskill Regional Medical Center recently to celebrate the addition of a new Computerized Tomography (CT) system. The SOMATOM Definition AS is a single source CT that can maximize clinical outcomes for patients while minimizing the radiation dose. This unique CT utilizes state-of-the-art technology to produce the most advanced diagnostic images in Computerized Tomography exams available today. The technology supports all medical departments at Catskill Regional including the emergency department, oncology, neurology, orthopedics, and cardiology.

“This project was critical to our growth and development at CRMC for so many reasons," said Gene Bernieri, Senior Administrator of Ancillary Services .  "CT has moved to the forefront in the diagnosis of many conditions. This technology will help us as we strive toward our mission of improving the health of the community.”

Patients can schedule an appointment for CRMC Diagnostic Imaging by calling 845-794-3300, ext. 2225 or 2226, Monday – Friday from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM or Saturday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.


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Freer, far right, donates 31 thermal totes and 20 handmade
baby blankets

Local mom donates thermal totes and blankets to Vassar Brothers Medical Center

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 14) - Monica Freer knows how it feels to have a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“Four of my six children started their lives in the NICU at Vassar Brothers Medical Center,” Freer said. “I can really relate to these families. It is a joyful and stressful time all at once.”

With a passion for giving back to the community and a personal connection to the NICU, the East Fishkill resident began the Thirty-One Gifts thermal tote program, designed to bring a little sunshine and love to NICU families during this stressful time.

“I love to give back to the community and so do my customers,” Freer said. “As a former NICU mom, I wanted to give these families a little surprise to brighten their day.”

Filled with journals, game books, hand sanitizer, tissues, snacks and other essential and fun items, Freer and her customers created and donated 31 thermal totes and 20 handmade baby blankets to the NICU.

“The insulated thermal totes are great for bringing breast milk and snacks back and forth to the NICU, and they can be repurposed to fit the needs of the family as the child grows.”

This year’s donation is part of more than 150 thermal totes donated by Freer and her team to the medical center over the past three years.

To learn more about Thirty-One Gifts, visit

For more information about the neonatal intensive care unit and maternal services at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, visit


Orange Regional Medical Group Urgent Care receives national certification

TOWN OF WALLKILL (February 14) – Orange Regional Medical Group Urgent Care has received the Certified Urgent Care designation, which distinguishes it as a Certified Urgent Care Category 2 facility. Orange Regional Urgent Care provides patients access to walk-in, extended-hour medical attention with no appointments necessary for various injuries or illnesses that, though not life-threatening, require immediate professional medical attention.

This designation places Orange Regional Urgent Care among a select few such centers across the country to have met all established criteria of the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA). It is conveniently located in the Outpatient Building of Orange Regional Medical Center, at 707 East Main Street outside Middletown.

“The entire urgent care team in Middletown has worked hard to achieve this designation, and it is something we are extremely proud of,” said Dr. Rona Heublum-Colton, Medical Director of Urgent Care for Greater Hudson Valley Health System. “Being on the site of Orange Regional Medical Center, allows us to work closely with our colleagues there to deliver integrated, comprehensive care that really lends peace of mind to our patients.”

Urgent care provides an important connection between primary care and hospital emergency rooms, offering increased convenience and cost savings. It is also a convenient and viable option for medical conditions that cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a primary care physician.

“We are committed to providing the best quality healthcare to every patient, when they need it,” said Dr. Gerard Galarneau, President of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System Medical Group. “Our urgent care facilities deliver on that commitment.”

Orange Regional Urgent Care accepts walk-in patients with no appointments necessary from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. For medical conditions that cannot wait – such as unexpected cuts, burns, sprains or fractures and do not require a visit to the emergency department – Orange Regional Urgent Care is well-equipped with x-ray and laboratory services, and licensed providers are always available to perform minor procedures like splinting and suturing.

With this certification, Orange Regional Urgent Care and the Urgent Care Association of America demonstrate their shared commitment toward providing patients with access to appropriate levels of care.

For more information about services provided by Orange Regional Medical Group Urgent Care, visit


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Greater Hudson Valley Health System honored for corporate integrity

TOWN OF WALLKILL (February 12) – The Greater Hudson Valley Health System (GHVHS), comprised of Catskill Regional Medical Center, Orange Regional Medical Center, Catskill Regional Medical Group and Orange Regional Medical Group, has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies.

GHVHS is one of only seven (7) honorees in the non-profit healthcare providers industry, underscoring their commitment to leading with integrity and prioritizing ethical business practices.

In 2018, 135 honorees were recognized, spanning 23 countries and 57 industries. The honorees had record levels of involvement with their stakeholders and their communities around the world. Measuring and improving culture, leading authentically and committing to transparency, diversity and inclusion were all priorities for honorees.

“We are extremely honored to be named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies,” said Scott Batulis, Greater Hudson Valley Health System President & CEO. “I commend our physicians and employees, who are to thank for this designation, for delivering exceptional care and service to our patients every day.”

 “While the discourse around the world changed profoundly in 2017, a stronger voice emerged. Global corporations operating with a common rule of law are now society’s strongest force to improve the human condition.” explained Ethisphere’s CEO, Timothy Erblich.. “This year we saw companies increasingly finding their voice. The World’s Most Ethical Companies in particular continued to show exemplary leadership. I congratulate everyone at the Greater Hudson Valley Health System for being recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies."

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35 percent), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20 percent), culture of ethics (20 percent), governance (15 percent) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10 percent). All companies that participate in the assessment process receive their scores, providing them with valuable insights into how they stack up against leading organizations.


Thomas, center, with Gregg Hough, Interim Director of Safety Security
and Emergency Management, left, and Batulis

ORMC names Employee of the Year

MIDDLETOWN (February 8) - Darnell Thomas, a parking valet, has been named Orange Regional’s Employee of the Year. The Being Exceptional Every day (BEE) Employee Recognition Program was created to acknowledge the outstanding performance of Orange Regional’s employees, physicians and volunteers for their positive impact on the quality of patient care services. 

In January 2017, Mr. Thomas was recognized for his quick intervention at the main entrance preventing a patient from being backed into by a car and helping to avoid what could have been a very serious injury.

In September 2017, Mr. Thomas was recognized again for noticing a volunteer who was choking in the cafeteria. He performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged the food, saving the volunteer’s life.

“These two events show Darnell’s ability to act quickly under pressure in difficult situations, speaks to his everyday character, compassion for others and to being an exceptional person and employee,” said President & CEO Scott Batulis.  “He exemplifies Being Exceptional Every day.”

Darnell received a check for $1500, a BEE gift basket, a certificate, lunch with his team and will be recognized at the Employee Awards Dinner in May.   

Patients, visitors and employees can nominate any Orange Regional Medical Center staff member for a BEE Award. Send all nominations to


The Heart Center offers congestive heart failure support group

POUGHKEEPSIE (February 8) - If you or someone you know is affected by congestive heart failure, The Heart Center will offer a congestive heart failure support group for patients and caregivers from noon to 1 p.m. the last Monday of every month through Dec. 17. Meetings will be held at the Health Quest Cardiac Rehab Center, 115 Delafield St., Poughkeepsie.

This support group is open to the public and has no cost.

At each meeting, participants will learn how to optimally manage this disease and improve their quality of life through educational, social and emotional support.

Participants will have also the opportunity to hear from guest speakers, engage in question and answer forums, and connect with others living with congestive heart failure.

Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Stephanie Mulcahy, DNP, at 845-473-1188 ext. 51118 (TTY: 1-800-421-1220). To learn more about The Heart Center, a division of Hudson Valley Cardiovascular Practice, P.C., visit .



Hospice of Orange & Sullivan Counties hires Sandra Cassese as Vice President and COO

NEWBURGH (February 2) - Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, Inc. welcomes Sandra Cassese RN, MSN, CNS as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Sandra is responsible for the daily operations of the organization. She formally held the position of System Vice President of Oncology at Health Quest Hospital System.

Cassese brings over thirty two years of healthcare and management experience with a background that includes Clinical Operations, Strategic Planning, Program Development and Business and Regulatory Compliance among other areas of expertise. She earned her Nursing Diploma from The Charles E. Gregory School of Nursing, a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from The State University of New York at New Paltz, and a Master's degree in Community Health from Sage Graduate School.

Sandra Cassese has been volunteering with the American Cancer Society for more than 25 years and currently holds the position of Vice Chair of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network National Board of Directors and is a member of the Society’s New York City Area Board. 


Calling all Sullivan high-schoolers: send us your drug awareness video

LIBERTY (January 30) – Are you a Sullivan County teenager in 9th-12th grade in public, private or home school? Got a smartphone or video camera handy? Time to put your creativity front and center.

Full deetails on our Education Page






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