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Board of Health warns against e-cigarette use

POUGHKEEPSIE (September 17) - The Dutchess County Board of Health expressed its concerns with the increased use of e-cigarettes.  Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes as they are more commonly called, are being promoted as a new way to smoke, without actually smoking. 

“What you may not know is that this hot topic of conversation is a potential health hazard,” said Dr. Lobsang Lhungay, MD, President, Dutchess County Board of Health.  “The facts don’t lie. A recent Center for Disease Control Center (CDC) study found a dramatic increase in calls to U.S. poison control center calls related to electronic cigarettes. As of February 2014, calls to poison control about e-cigarette exposure were up to 215 per month across the country”,

When e-cigarettes were introduced to the market they appeared to offer an alternative to traditional cigarette smoking. However, this report from the CDC regarding poisonings raises concerns about the liquid nicotine that is used in the e-cigarettes. More distressing is that half of the calls to poison centers involved young children under the age of 5.

An e-cigarette is a battery operated smoking device designed to deliver nicotine and flavor to the user. The device heats up a liquid, turning it to vapor, which is inhaled, or “vaped” by the user.  The liquid in e-cigarettes is comprised of nicotine, flavorings and other additives. The candy and fruit flavors are the draw for young children. Cartridges are not childproofed, making them easily accessible to young children. Poisonings can happen by ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the nose and eyes.

E-cigarettes are enticing to children. Marketing nicotine products is nothing new to the industry. It has been a constant battle to stop it, and here we have yet another marketing tactic, candy flavored nicotine. It can almost be compared to the candy cigarettes they used to sell. Make it appealing to children and you have them hooked.

Children are not the only ones affected by e-cigarette poisonings. In the calls to poison control, 42 percent of victims were age 20 and older. These statistics make e-cigarettes a concern for everyone.

The FDA currently does not regulate e-cigarettes, but has plans to do so.

“Unregulated nicotine levels also mean unregulated chemicals,” said Dr. Lhungay.

The Dutchess County Board of Health urges you not to use e-cigarettes, except possibly for smoking cessation purposes, and then only under a physician’s supervision.


Janice and Frank Valentino post teal ribbons in Washingtonville

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – Turning the Town Teal

WASHINGTONVILLE (September 6) - September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and wherever you see a teal bow or ribbon it stands for  Know the Symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate.

Early detection is the key to survival.

Janice Valentino, director of marketing & development at Hospice of Orange and Sullivan says she got involved in memory of her very best friend Maureen who would always say “Where is the TEAL? Every things always PINK”  This TEALS for you MO!


Fall yoga classes offered at Northern Dutchess Hospital

RHINEBECK (September 6) – Stretch, breathe and relax at Northern Dutchess Hospital’s “Yoga: Mind and Body” fall classes.

Six sessions will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays at the hospital’s Women’s View Health Annex, 107 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck. Course dates are: Sept. 15, 22 and 29, and Oct. 6, 20 and 27.

The cost is $60. Pre-registration is required.

“This is a great program for people of all abilities and levels, and it fills up quickly,” said instructor Karen Signor, who has taught yoga at the hospital for more than 20 years.

Participants should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and bring a yoga mat.

To register, call 845-876-7844 or email To join the Facebook invite, visit


Orange AHRC receives Person-Centered Excellence accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership

NEWBURGH (August 22) - Orange AHRC has been awarded the four-year Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation from CQL - The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award confirms that the organization shares CQL’s vision for person-centered solutions to improve the quality of life for people receiving supports and services. 

When Orange AHRC partnered with CQL to pursue accreditation, they undertook a rigorous process to review and improve services and supports.  Their efforts were focused on empowering the people who receive support from their organization to make choices in how they live their lives …where they work, where they live, how they create a community. 

Orange AHRC has been awarded CQL accreditation as a result of demonstrating proficiency in the following areas:

  • Basic Assurances ( ensuring fundamental safeguards related to health, safety and human security)
  • Personal Outcome Measures® (supporting and empowering people to achieve their goals and dreams)
  • Person-centered Excellence (demonstrating organizational commitment to continued enhancement of systems directly related to person-centered services)

“CQL commends Orange AHRC for its success in increasing the quality of life for the people it supports,” Cathy Ficker Terrill, President and CEO of CQL, said.  “We are pleased to partner with them on this journey.”

For more than 40 years, CQL has been a leader in raising the bar for human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve the quality of life of all people. Organizations that are awarded accreditation by CQL meet a stringent set of criteria and demonstrate an on-going commitment to person-centered excellence. For more information on CQL's Person-centered Excellence Accreditation go to

Headquartered in Newburgh, NY, Orange AHRC’s 650 employees support more than 1,700 children and adults with developmental disabilities in 29 program locations and in private family homes throughout Orange County.  Please visit for more information.


Two Health Quest hospitals join initiative to help reduce number of childbirth-related deaths

POUGHKEEPSIE (August 20) - Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital are participating in a project with one goal: to save the lives of women faced with severe complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The two Health Quest-affiliated hospitals are collaborating with the New York State District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG District II) on the Safe Motherhood Initiative.

Close to 99 percent of the nearly 250,000 live births in New York state result in the discharge of a mother and her baby. Yet, there are mothers who die or suffer serious permanent harm. In fact, New York state ranks 47th in the country for its maternal mortality rate.

Through the Safe Motherhood Initiative, the teams at Vassar and Northern Dutchess are actively working together to focus on implementing standard approaches for handling New York’s three leading causes of maternal death: obstetric hemorrhage (severe bleeding), venous thromboembolism (blood clots) and severe hypertension in pregnancy (high blood pressure).

“Vassar Brothers Medical Center is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our patients and their families and is very excited to participate in the Safe Motherhood Initiative,” said Kathleen McGinnis, Perinatal Safety Nurse at the hospital. “The work we are doing with the initiative is cutting-edge modern obstetrics and will not only improve outcomes for mothers in our community but will impact maternal care nationally and globally.”

ACOG District II is working with more than 100 obstetric and maternity care hospitals across New York state, including Vassar in Poughkeepsie and Northern Dutchess in Rhinebeck, on standardized protocols for these events to help ensure every woman has a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

“More people are choosing to have their babies at Northern Dutchess Hospital’s Neugarten Family Birth Center because of our commitment to patient safety and quality care,” said Pamela Rhodes, the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Services. “This initiative aims to improve pregnancy and delivery care, which aligns perfectly with our goal to provide the very best care not only to our mothers and newborns, but to all our patients.”

The program is funded by “Merck for Mothers,” an initiative to create a world where no woman dies giving life.

The co-chairs of the Safe Motherhood Initiative are Dr. Mary D’Alton and Dr. Cynthia Chazotte.

“For several months, obstetric experts developed and evaluated evidenced-based management plans for SMI hospitals,” D’Alton said. “These plans, also known as maternal safety bundles, consist of tools such as clinical education videos, algorithms, step-by-step checklists and other hands-on materials.”

“Our objective is to help obstetric providers adopt uniform clinical protocols to improve the diagnosis, prevention and management of the leading causes of maternal death. We are committed to working with Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital on the Safe Motherhood Initiative – for the sake of women and their babies,” Chazotte added.

To learn more visit,, or



Orange Regional Medical Center earns reaccreditation by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer

MIDDLETOWN (July 30) – Orange Regional Medical Center was reaccredited by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer with the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™, acknowledging its commitment to the health of its employees and their families by agreeing to meet a high standard of cancer prevention, screening and care guidelines.

The CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ calls for companies to evaluate their health benefits and corporate culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to fight cancer in the workplace. To earn Gold Standard accreditation, an organization must establish programs to reduce cancer risk by discouraging tobacco use; encouraging physical activity; promoting healthy nutrition; detecting cancer at its earliest stages when outcomes may be more favorable; and providing access to quality care, including participation in cancer clinical trials and employee wellness programs.

“Orange Regional is committed to providing quality care for the community and values the importance of the health and wellness of its employees too,” said Orange Regional’s Deborah Holmes, RN, Employee Health Nurse.  

Holmes was instrumental in collecting data from various Hospital departments who are dedicated to promoting healthy living practices within our hospital family, and submitting it as part of an application for the 2014 CEO Cancer Gold Standard re-accreditation.

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer is a committee founded in 2001, when former President George H.W. Bush challenged a group of executives to "do something bold and venturesome about cancer within your own corporate families." The committee recently enhanced the CEO Cancer Gold Standard to place more emphasis on prevention, recognizing that there are a numerous things that an employer can do to lower the risk of a cancer diagnosis.

For more information about Orange Regional Medical Center visit To learn more about the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™

Orange Regional Medical Center is a member of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System.


Rockland Health Department celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

POMONA (July 28) – The Rockland County Department of Health announces that August 1st through 7th is World Breastfeeding Week, a perfect time to encourage new parents, and parents-to-be, to consider the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. 

During World Breastfeeding Week, when you shop at one of the following local Farmers’ Markets, get more than just fresh, delicious and nutritious food! Get information about breastfeeding and get your questions answered by lactation (breastfeeding) experts. These events will be held weather-permitting.   

  • Friday, August 1st from 10 am – 1 pm at the Pearl River Farmers’ Market, located in the large parking lot at The River Church, 253 Ehrhardt Road
  • Wednesday, August 6th from 10 am – 1 pm at the Memorial Park Community Parking Lot, 1 Veterans Drive, located next to the Spring Valley Farmers’ Market
  • Thursday, August 7th from 10 am – 1 pm at the Nyack Farmers' Market, located at the municipal parking lot on Main Street

Breast milk provides your baby with a healthy start in life, and promotes normal healthy growth long after breastfeeding ends. “As nature’s perfect food, breast milk helps your baby fight off illnesses, and ensures proper brain and eye development, and a healthier immune system and digestive tract.  Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), respiratory illnesses, allergies, asthma, obesity, diarrhea, ear infections, and other illnesses,” said Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County  Commissioner of Health.

The Department of Health also offers these free programs to help you get started and continue breastfeeding successfully:

Breastfeeding Promotion and Support Program:  A breastfeeding expert provides free breastfeeding education and counseling (in person or over the phone) and help with breastfeeding challenges.

Mother 2 Mother Breastfeeding Support Groups:  Share your breastfeeding questions and experiences with other pregnant women and new mothers at free support groups right in your community!  Babies are welcome.  The support group meets at:

  • 26 New Main Street in Haverstraw on the following Wednesdays at 1:45 pm:
    • The English-speaking group meets on August 6, September 3, and October 1.
    • The Spanish-speaking group meets on August 20, September 17, and October 15.
  • 14 South Main Street in Spring Valley on the following Tuesdays at 1:45 pm for the Spanish- speaking group, and at 2:30 pm for the English-speaking group: August 19, September 16, and October  21.


Premier Medical Group welcomes Farah M. Ashraf, D.O.

POUGHKEEPSIE (July 28) - Premier Medical Group announces that Farah M. Ashraf, D.O. will be joining our group on August 4, 2014.

Dr. Ashraf, is board certified in Rheumatology, earned her medical degree from the University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine and completed a Rheumatology fellowship at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY.  She has been practicing in the Hudson Valley for twelve years.

“It's an honor and pleasure to join Premier Medical Group,” said Dr. Ashraf.  “I have known many of the physicians and staff for quite a few years now. The mutual understanding and cordial relationships amongst everyone is especially noteworthy and admirable. Above all patient care is outstanding.   My staff and I look forward to adding the Rheumatology division as a new dimension to Premier Medical Group.”

Dr. Ashraf is currently accepting new patients at her current location, 74 West Cedar Street in Poughkeepsie.  Call 845.454.9500


Orange Regional Medical Center’s pediatric unit is the recipient of student’s good deed

MIDDLETOWN (July 7) - Orange Regional Medical Center’s Pediatric Unit received a donation of more than 125 new books. Dylan King of Bloomingburg, New York, a third grade student at Circleville Elementary School, proudly made the donation of books spanning various reading levels.

Turning to reading instead of television while home sick one day, Dylan, age 8, came up with the idea of collecting new books for pediatric patients who were staying in the hospital. He created flyers requesting donations of new books and passed them out to his classmates. With the help of his fellow students, Dylan had collected more than 125 books in short period of time.

“We are so excited to receive this awesome donation of books for our young patients. Dylan’s effort toward this donation is terrific and we are grateful for his support,” states Michelle Ferguson, Orange Regional’s child life specialist.

Dylan King with Michelle Ferguson, Orange Regional Medical Center’s child life specialist

The Orange Regional Medical Center Foundation is currently accepting donations toward its Lend A Hand For Kids Capital Campaign to benefit Orange Regional’s new Pediatric Center. If you would like to donate please call 845-333-2333 or visit us at to make an online donation.

Orange Regional Medical Center is a member of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System.       


Hudson’s scores are higher than state average across the board

TARRYTOWN (July 7) - Hudson Health Plan – an MVP Health Care Company – has once again been recognized for going the extra mile to serve its members. Hudson has received the highest score statewide among Medicaid Managed Care organizations for “Rating of Health Plan” in the recently released New York State Department of Health’s 2013 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) Survey. Hudson significantly outperformed its peers in customer service and scored higher than the state average on all nine measures.

“These high scores are a reflection of the hard work and dedication our staff and health care providers exhibit every day,” said Georganne Chapin, President and CEO of Hudson Health Plan and Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs at MVP Health Care. “Applying for health insurance and navigating the health care system is not easy. Our members know we’re here for them, and will help them in any way we can.”

New York State conducts the CAHPS survey of Medicaid plan members every other year. In 2013, the survey was sent to 24,000 adult members of 16 Medicaid managed care plans. Hudson scored higher than the state average on all nine measures:

1. Getting needed care
2. Getting care quickly
3. How well doctors communicate
4. Customer service
5. Shared decision making
6. Rating of all health care
7. Rating of personal doctor
8. Rating of specialist seen most often
9. Rating of health plan


Orange Regional Medical Center among the first in Hudson Valley to implant subcutaneous implantable defibrillator system 

MIDDLETOWN (June 30) - Orange Regional Medical Center is among the first of hospitals in the Hudson Valley to implant the entirely subcutaneous ICD system. This device, manufactured by Boston Scientific (Natick, MA), represents the first commercially available subcutaneous implantable defibrillator system (S-ICD) for the treatment of patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.    

Sudden cardiac arrest involves the abrupt onset of a lethal heart rhythm. Most episodes are caused by the rapid and/or chaotic activity of the heart’s muscle and are known as ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation.

“The subcutaneous ICD system represents a significant advancement in therapy for patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” said Orange Regional Medical Center Cardiologist, Paul Eugenio, MD.  “The ability to provide effective defibrillation without the need to access the vascular system offers particular advantages in certain selected patients.  Orange Regional Medical Center is among the first institutions in the Hudson Valley to have implanted this system and is proud to offer this innovative therapy.”

The S-ICD System is designed to provide the same protection from sudden cardiac arrest as the traditional transvenous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). The advantage of this entirely subcutaneous system involves its ability to be implanted just below the skin without the need for thin, insulated wires – known as leads – to be placed into the heart itself (as is necessary with the standard transvenous ICD system). This leaves the heart and blood vessels untouched while still providing protections against lethal cardiac arrhythmias.   

The S-ICD System has two main components: (1) the pulse generator, which powers the system, monitors heart activity, and delivers a shock if needed, and (2) the electrode, which enables the device to sense the cardiac rhythm and serves as a pathway for shock delivery when necessary. Both components are implanted just under the skin—the generator at the side of the chest, and the electrode beside the breastbone. Implantation of the S-ICD system is generally straightforward and can be done using only anatomical landmarks which removes the need for fluoroscopy (an X-ray procedure that is required for standard leads to be placed in the heart). 

The Orange Regional Medical Center Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, affiliated with Westchester Medical Center, offers three highly equipped, state-of-the-art cath labs where implantation of the S-ICD system is performed by our team of cardiac electrophysiologists.  

For more information on the Peter Frommer, M.D. Heart Center at Orange Regional Medical Center or the S-ICD System, visit


SLCH receives Healthgrades® Patient Safety Excellence Award

NEWBURGH (June 23) -  St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) has received the Healthgrades® Patient Safety Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row.  SLCH is one of only 35 hospitals across the nation, and the only hospital in New York State to receive this distinction in each of the last four years.  SLCH has also been ranked among the top 5% in the nation for patient safety in both 2013 and 2014.

Of over 4,739 hospitals evaluated by Healthgrades only 381 received the 2014 Healthgrades Patent Safety Excellence Award™ . Healthgrades® patient safety ratings examine 14 different types of serious and potentially preventable complications. Healthgrades® uses Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and Patient Safety Indicator software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to calculate event rates for patient safety indicators.

“We have an outstanding team here at SLCH, and to receive this award yet again, speaks volumes to the level of care provided to our community,” said Robert S. Ross, SLCH President and CEO. 

For more information about Healthgrades® patient safety measures and other quality designations achieved by SLCH can be found on our website: To download a full copy of the report or to receive information about hospital and physician quality, visit:

“Each member of the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital team plays a key role in helping us to achieve this distinction,” said Christine Jelalian, MD, SLCH Medical Director. “Patient safety is at the core of what we do and remains our number one priority.”

During the 2014 study period, Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals showed better than expected performance in providing safety for patients in the Medicare population, as measured by objective outcomes (risk-adjusted patient safety indicator rates) across 13 of the 14 patient safety indicators defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  If all hospitals performed at the same level of award recipients, 266,813 patient safety events among Medicare patients in U.S. hospitals could have potentially been avoided.

“Healthgrades is dedicated to providing quality information that helps consumers make decisions based on objective data leading to the best care for themselves and their families,” said Evan Marks, Executive Vice President, Informatics and Strategy, Healthgrades. “Consumers can rest assured that a hospital recognized with a Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award has demonstrated an established commitment to patient safety.”

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital (SLCH) is a not-for-profit community hospital with campuses in Newburgh and Cornwall, NY. The hospital is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the Hudson Valley and aspires to excellence in the delivery of compassionate and comprehensive health care services. SLCH offers comprehensive cardiac, stroke, cancer and orthopedic services and a full range of other clinical offerings. For more information, go to  or!/stlukescornwallhospital





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