BY LYNN EDMONDS
Jaclyn Mucaria, Chief Operating Officer of New York-Presbytarian/Queens, has a vision in mind, she told guests at a Business Forum Breakfast at Queens College on Friday.
She doesn’t want Queens Residents to have to travel west to Manhattan or east to Long Island to see a top-notch doctor.
“People seem to feel like to get high quality care one must go to the city. But what we are doing, we are bringing the city to you,” Mucaria said.
The hospital, a partnership between NY Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and New York-Presbyterian/Queens hospital, is well on its way to achieving that result. With 31,711 inpatient discharges every year, 3,768 employees and 1,708 physicians, they serve a large population. And they’ve received recognition as a top performer in general health, cardiovascular care, oncology, digestive issues, orthopedics, and pediatrics.
But what’s missing is the brand recognition to draw the choosiest customers. Nearly 80 percent of their patients are insured by Medicare or Medicaid, while about 20 percent are commercially insured. While the hospital is committed to serving all patients, the payer mix hurts their bottom line because the federal programs offer lower reimbursements to hospitals than commercial insurers.
The hospital’s goal is to attract more of those commercially insured patients.
One of their focuses in this regard is to pay attention to the patient experience.
Helen Lavas, Senior Director and Chief Patient Experience Officer, said personal experience drove her to care about patients’ comfort and satisfaction, which can impact health outcomes in a number of ways. During a scarring hospital experience 36 years ago, Lavas lost her newborn child and faced a serious threat to her own life.
Now, she is dedicated to making sure other patients do get the kind of support they need when dealing with life-threatening and emotionally painful medical issues.
“I need to be there at the hospital to make sure that everyone is listened to, everyone is made to feel cared for, as if they are the only person that is being cared for,” Lavas said.
Part of her task is catering to a diverse patient population. The largest section of the patients, at 58 percent, speak English, while Chinese, at 22 percent, and Spanish, at 13 percent, are the second and third most common languages.
Staff who speak these languages are available. But with 138 languages spoken in Queens, the work doesn’t end there. The hospital needs to make sure the language needs of every patient are met. Additionally, every country has its own culture around sickness and health. Doctors and nurses need to be aware of those norms in order to give patients the best experience and help them heal quickly.
“For a nurse on a unit, there may be a patient population that they like you to sit with them and provide eye contact, and in the next bed, there’s no such thing, that’s a sign of disrespect,” Mucaria said.
She added that that the hospital would also be focusing on staff recruitment and facility renovations. “We will be putting a lot of dollars,” into upgrading facilities, she stressed.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana