By Melissa Pheterson
In breaking ground — literally and otherwise — to build the medical villages of tomorrow, the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is developing hubs that offer one-stop access to health and human services for the community. Medical villages create an integrated healthcare experience that removes barriers to preventive care and encourages patients, through convenience and proximity, to develop and maintain strong health habits.
WMCHealth committed to develop two medical villages aimed at improving access to healthcare, transforming Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and HealthAlliance: Mary’s Avenue Campus in Kingston, both members of WMCHealth, into state-of-the-art medical villages serving their respective communities.
Educational services — provided directly by the medical village or in partnership with others — will be key to the success of each village’s offerings to providers, clinicians and students in the communities.
As HealthAlliance Hospital prepares for the expansion of the Mary’s Avenue hospital and addition of a medical village, new state funding has already bolstered the development of an educational center for its Broadway Campus. In December, New York State’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council awarded HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus a $500,000 grant for its medical village project, including the location of the HealthAlliance Medical Simulation Center and Learning Lab in the hospital’s 6,500 sq. ft. ambulatory center.
With a goal of enhancing safety in patient care and improving patient outcomes to meet the “gold standard” set throughout WMCHealth, the center and learning laboratory will enable 18 students to perform medical procedures virtually, interact with actors portraying patients and experience controlled clinical settings in a state-of-the-art training facility — replicating patient care, so they can hone their skills even before they practice independently.
“We want our own community members working at HealthAlliance,” says HealthAlliance President and CEO David Scarpino. “This funding will enable us to provide the latest technology to HealthAlliance clinicians and local students in order for them to gain the advanced skills and higher education they will need to provide exceptional care right here in our community.”
The HealthAlliance Medical Simulation Center will include lifesize, high-tech mannequins that physiologically respond to treatment similar to real-life patients; anatomical models to help build confidence and proficiency in medical tasks; actors who portray everyday patients –- complete with personal history, physical symptoms and emotional characteristics — and computerized simulation to teach anatomy and surgical procedures, refining the students’ techniques over time. Current and future healthcare professionals will have the opportunity to practice and refine advanced techniques.
“HealthAlliance is a vital component of our community, and we’re constantly striving to improve our organization and the services we offer, to make sure we’re delivering the best in patient care and helping our community to grow,” adds Scarpino.
Bon Secours Community Hospital plans to open its Port Jervis medical village in 2019. Bon Secours’ current initiatives focus upon health education for patients and providers — including walking groups, a yoga program, BMI screenings, blood-pressure monitoring, diabetes education and support groups.
The hospital’s “Get Fit Port Jervis” program has a community walking group (above, left), which just celebrated its third anniversary, and a community yoga group, which offers free yoga classes to the public at the hospital.
“Our hospital-based programs are gaining momentum in the community, demonstrating our commitment to wellness and health education,” says Mary P. Leahy, MD, CEO of Bon Secours Charity Health System. “By working with our community partners and providing enhanced inpatient, outpatient and community-care services, we’re already nurturing a healthier community.”