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May 9, 2022 - 4:12pm
posted by Press Release in dan ireland, UMMC, GCC, news.

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Press release:

On Saturday, May 21, 2022, at 1:00 p.m., Genesee Community College will recognize its graduates during its 54th Commencement Ceremony at the Richard C. Call Arena. Honoring this group of deserving achievers, will be keynote speaker, Daniel Ireland, GCC Alumnus and President of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, NY.

"I am honored to have been invited to speak at GCC's 2022 Commencement,' Mr. Ireland said. "The perseverance of GCC students who have completed their studies during the COVID-19 pandemic is very inspiring. I cannot think of a greater privilege to speak to them on this momentous occasion, and, interestingly, this commencement is exactly 30 years from when I humbly crossed the stage for my GCC graduation with my Nursing Degree."

Dan completed his Associate Degree in Nursing from Genesee Community College in 1992, a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from SUNY Brockport in 1994 and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997. He is also a member of the Leadership Genesee Class of 2006 and recipient of Buffalo First's 40 Under 40 award in 2007. In January 2013, he became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the nation's leading professional society for healthcare leaders. Dan was also named to 2018's roster of Health Care Champions, by Buffalo Business First, signifying his high levels of accomplishments within the field in Western New York. Dan continues his commitment to lifelong learning as he is enrolled in the Doctorate of Healthcare Administration program at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Entering his 32nd year at United Memorial, Mr. Ireland spent much of his clinical career in emergency medicine, clinical informatics, quality, and clinical leadership roles. In 2010, Dan was promoted to Vice President of Operations/Chief Operating Officer. As Vice President of Operations, he was responsible for oversight and project management of the surgical and front entry construction project, a major Maternity unit renovation, and the revitalization of the Jerome Center Diagnostics facility. In November 2013, he was promoted to President, leading United Memorial through its merger with Rochester Regional Health in 2015 and through its response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Additional commencement information can be found at https://www.genesee.edu/home/events/commencement/.

Photo: 2018 file photo. By Howard Owens

February 18, 2022 - 11:49am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, UMMC, GOW opioid task force.

rebecca_russo_photo.jpgOpioids for pain management are no longer the standard care for chronic pain, according to a board-certified family nurse practitioner at the United Memorial Medical Center Pain Management Center in Batavia.

“We do not avoid prescription medications, but we work to avoid the management of opioids, which can decrease the perception of pain and not the cause of it,” said Rebecca Russo, responding to questions about non-opioid alternatives for the GOW Opioid Task Force.

Russo, (photo at right), an employee at the UMMC pain clinic since August 2020, said as a pain management nurse practitioner, she recommends minimally invasive fluoroscopic procedures for diagnosis and treatment of pain.

“We work with the patient’s primary care physician and other health care professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for these patients,” she said. “We also like to be as conservative as possible (by utilizing) non-invasive measures such as physical therapy, aqua therapy, chiropractic and massage treatments, and acupuncture.”

When it comes to opioids, Russo is well aware of the long-term effects – including addiction – that can result from prolonged use of these drugs.

“There are so many more alternatives a pain management specialist treating chronic pain that can offer the most benefit for these patients,” she said. “A multimodal approach to management is best in treating chronic pain. Opioids are not used for chronic non-malignant pain anymore as studies have shown.”

Russo said she switched to the pain management field when a colleague recommended her for a pain management and neurology position.

“I have to say I wouldn’t have had a better fit in my career. This specialty is fascinating and bountiful in ways to help patients, which I lay my foundation on,” the Michigan native said. “I have been working in pain management since I graduated with my Master of Science in Nursing four years ago.”

Prior to joining the program at UMMC, she was a registered nurse for six years, working on various units, including intermediate care, medical/surgical, observation and progressive care.

She said the local pain clinic treats a wide range of chronic and acute pain conditions, such as neck pain, cancer pain, myofascial pain, joint pain, back pain, phantom limb pain, bursitis, sciatica, post herpetic neuralgia pain, complex regional pain syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and failed back surgery syndrome.

“Some of the micro-invasive procedures that can be performed at the UMMC Pain Center include nerve blocks in various areas as well as radiofrequency ablations; lumbar, thoracic and cervical epidural steroid injections; trigger point injections; and spinal cord stimulator implantation,” she said.

The practice is growing coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, she reported, with more and more in-person visits being scheduled.

“At this time, we strive to keep our visits in-person, but we can accommodate telemedicine visits when a patient is unable to be seen in-person. This may be for various reasons such as being ill, inability to drive or last minute patient schedule changes,” she explained.

Russo sees the pain clinic as a viable alternative for people dealing with chronic pain, adding that the patient is considered “an important team member.”

“Interventional management is beneficial for patients when their pain continues even after attempting conservative treatments or do not have a diagnosis for their pain,” she said. “A proper diagnosis is the first step to successful treatment.

“Another benefit for these patients is that they want to avoid surgery if possible or if they’ve had surgery, but still experiencing pain, we can provide them alternatives to another surgery unless otherwise indicated.”

The UMMC Pain Center is located at 229 Summit St., Suite 4. For more information, call 585-815-6710.

Disclosure: Mike Pettinella is the publicist for GCASA.

February 3, 2022 - 8:00am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, batavia, COVID-19.

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For nearly two decades Sandy Lloyd had worked at a bank before getting laid off in the midst of COVID-19. 

So she reassessed her life and took note of news reports that healthcare workers were walking off the job due to vaccine mandates.

“I wasn’t enjoying my job anymore… sitting at a desk every day,” she said, turning to the news reports. “They were losing a lot of people due to that. I thought ‘I need a job, they need people, let’s try it.’ I don’t think I would have ever pursued it if there hadn’t been a pandemic.”

Lloyd, a Corfu resident, began her new career on Dec. 6 of last year. While it may be only two months later, she has already embraced her new vocation at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. She admits to the many hours and long shifts but has discovered that there’s more to the working world than banking. Her formal title is clinical nursing assistant, and the job duties are a catch-all for those in need: in need of a beverage or meal, new bedding, personal hygiene assistance, a delivery to the lab, and the like.

“I’m on the third floor … I wait on everybody, get them water, pass out food trays, assist the nurses. It’s on-the-job training,” she said. “I look at the patient as a customer; it’s using customer service skills. Just being there and doing what they ask is the number one priority.”

Lloyd has merely shifted her former training and experience to focus on patients that are recovering from surgery versus bank customers cashing a check. Working with many registered and licensed practical nurses, she’s been told that she’s a “natural” in her new field. That encouragement coupled with her own enthusiasm has prompted the 41-year-old to attend nursing school in the near future.

Lloyd’s sister Dustin Miller is a nurse, and she forewarned Lloyd that it’s a tough job, while her mom seemed incredulous that her other daughter was also going into the field. The only ones not taking her new passion so well are Lloyd’s sons Bryce, 7, and 10-year-old Brody, she said. 

“They were a little upset because I work a lot of hours,” she said. “They miss their mama now.”

She works every other weekend, and the boys periodically spend time with their grandparents, “Nana” Janet and “Grumpy” Chris. Lloyd’s free time is spent playing with her sons and sleeping, she said. “We balance it all out,” she said. 

She was initially hired for a 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. time slot, and that has evolved into 12- to 16-hour shifts because she volunteers to take on extra hours, she said. Despite the potential issues due to COVID-19, she took all of the possible precautions for her and her family, including being vaccinated,  getting the booster shot, wearing a mask, and, per hospital routine, doing “a lot of hand washing.”

Other than that, it was full speed ahead.

“I just ran into it,” she said. “I can’t deny these people care because of worry about COVID. Every day is humor for me; I do something stupid to make people laugh. We all try to laugh during the day.”

Lloyd is often on the job when patients go into surgery and then later when they are recovering, which makes them ask if she ever goes home. “Yes, when you were sleeping,” she tells them. She hasn’t reconsidered her former employment and encourages others to try the healthcare field if they’re looking for a change. Her co-workers are a team working toward a common goal, she said.

Rochester Regional Health took a major loss of employees after the New York State Department of Health issued a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The mandate went into effect on Sept. 27, 2021. Although “many were granted religious exemptions” initially, those exemptions were overturned and all employees were required to get their first dose by Nov. 22, a Rochester Regional Health spokeswoman said.

As a result, there were approximately 350 employees in the Rochester and St. Lawrence regions “who made the personal choice to decline vaccinations and leave our health system,” the spokeswoman said. “The employees represent approximately 200 full-time equivalents.”

The void left by those workers made for many vacancies and related news stories, which in turn opened a door for Lloyd.

“I actually enjoy the job. I’m constantly learning and doing something new every day,” she said. “It really does make a difference.”

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Top photo: Sandy Lloyd of Corfu works in her new job as a clinical nursing assistant at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia. Lloyd is pictured here with her sons Brody, middle, and Bryce. Above, Lloyd works her shift helping outpatients and nurses at UMMC. Photos top and above submitted by Rochester Regional Health, and family photo submitted by Sandy Lloyd.



 

January 13, 2022 - 11:31pm
Video Sponsor

Of all the debatable data out there regarding COVID-19, one piece about local hospitalizations is irrefutable, Dan Ireland says.

United Memorial Medical Center’s occupancy rate is at 86 percent, and 100 percent of patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit have been unvaccinated, said Ireland, Rochester Regional Health/UMMC president, during a live-streamed health discussion Thursday. 

“Seventy-five percent of COVID admissions are unvaccinated people,” he said. “The data is clear, unvaccinated folks are suffering (from COVID symptoms and illness).”

Another statistic to note is that 100 percent of people put on ventilators were also unvaccinated, he said. Though there are various other reasons for someone being admitted to the hospital, 70 percent of them went to the hospital for COVID-19 symptoms and concerns, he said.  It was a set of coronavirus symptoms that drove them to visit the hospital, he said. 

Although some vaccinated people are experiencing break-through cases, the symptoms have not been as severe, he and Genesee and Orleans County Health Director Paul Pettit said. 

“Please, please, please get your vaccine,” Ireland said. 

Not only is that step important for protecting the health of individuals and families, it helps to free up space at the hospital, he said, citing 36 percent of the entire hospital population is attributed to COVID-19. People are still seeking health care treatments for other causes, and it’s “our job to strike that balance” between the needs of those with the COVID virus and more traditional healthcare that is needed.

Those traditional healthcare services remain open at RRH hospitals, which include elective surgeries. Those surgeries held a 90 percent occupancy rate in 
December. Ireland said that, more recently, those surgeries will still occur, but on “a much more limited basis.”

“Surgery is not closed, we’re just limiting it to limit the exposure to patients,” he said. 

The whole region is focused on restricting elective surgeries to essential only, per health department guidelines, he said, however, facilities in nearby counties have taken patients when necessary. 

There will be public announcements to inform the community of changes that may occur, such as particular hospital offices needing to close due to staffing shortages or exposure concerns, and where patients may be able to go instead. Overall, hospital staff “has done an amazing job at accommodating them at other locations,” Ireland said. 

As of Tuesday, a new visitor policy restricts hours for a 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. daily visitor schedule. Everyone will be screened, information is to be captured for potential contact tracing and visitors cannot see patients with COVID-19 or other immunity compromised patients. 

“Just be aware, if you have a loved one in the hospital, if a screener advises you of a new policy, it’s because of updated responses.”

As for those colorful and rhinestone-covered cloth masks, the latest data shows, especially in the light of the recent spread of the SARS-2-CoV variant known as Omicron, that they are not as effective as medical masks. The Hospital administration has issued a “no cloth masks” order in lieu of medical, tighter-fitting masks, such as KN95. Hospital visitors without such masks will be given one by staff, he said.

“It’s very important to protect yourself; wearing that mask is a barrier. Is it full-proof? No. But we do know it’s a barrier (to the virus),” he said. 

Ireland said that, of course, people want to get out and enjoy activities away from their homes. They can do that, but there are tools in place to protect people to have fun “safely and effectively,” he said. 

“Have some self-awareness and some self-driven compliance,” he said of wearing masks, testing when necessary, and isolating and/or quarantining if positive for the virus or exposed to someone else who is positive. Journalists participating in the event asked about the safety of student-athletes, the target number for vaccinations, and the future. 

Student-athletes are being tested based on the same protocols as other students, Pettit said.

New York State set a target vaccination rate of 70 percent, and “we’re above that number now as a whole,” he said. People who are most recently getting the vaccine seem to be doing so based on external events, such as a family member getting sick or dying from COVID-19, or mandates requiring a vaccine for certain types of travel, he said. 

And for those on the fence? His department staff is working to answer questions and provide information to anyone not yet vaccinated. 

“We’re really trying to talk to those folks who are undecided,” he said. ”Based on the data, the vaccine is very effective; it does keep people from having the severity of the disease, and it keeps them out of the ICU and off ventilators. We’re hoping these folks will make the decision at some point in the very near future.”

Genesee County has experienced a “very sharp increase” in positive cases, especially in congregate settings, such as nursing homes, he said. There have been a total of 12,105 positive cases and 164 deaths from the COVID-19 virus since the onset of the pandemic. Out of that number, 1,509 cases were in the month of December compared to 2,118 in just the first 10 days of January, he said. 

He wanted to clarify case investigations, which are conducted for confirmed cases by obtaining the person’s name, address, symptoms, date of onset, close contacts and that person’s history during the prior 48 hours, versus contact tracing, which takes the process “a little bit further” by trying to identify people who were exposed to a confirmed case of the virus and establish if those people are isolating (if found to also be positive) or quarantining due to being exposed to the person found to be positive. 

Case investigations are not changing, he said. However, due to the massive numbers of positive cases multiplied each by an estimated five to 10 exposures, it’s likely the health department may not be able to follow up on all of those cases, he said.

Genesee County Legislator Rochelle Stein reminded folks that everyone can take a part in keeping the community safe.

“Vaccinate and get the booster when you are eligible, she said. “Mask when in public places, test when you feel ill, and then stay home. These are the simple ones today.”

For further information, watch the video and/or go to GOHealthNY.org

January 7, 2022 - 5:58pm
posted by Press Release in UMMC, COVID-19, news.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health is reinstating an enhanced hospital visitation policy, effective Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Also, going into effect that day is a new masking policy for visitors. With the rapid transmission of the omicron variant and the dramatic rise of COVID-19 cases, which have led to increased patient volumes, Rochester Regional is implementing enhanced visitor restrictions as they have proven effective during previous COVID surges.  

Vaccinations, including booster shots, proper masking, and social distancing are our community’s best hope to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reopen visitation. Please visit rochesterregional.org for additional visitor restriction details.

Rochester Regional Health Visitation Policy Beginning January 11

No visitation allowed

  • Patients on Enhanced Isolation Precautions (for COVID-19)
  • Emergency department patients
  • Cancer infusion center patients
  • Only exceptions: pediatric patients, labor and delivery patients, patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia and patients at the end-of-life (outlined below)

Hospital Visitation Policy

  • Patients may designate two visitors throughout the patient’s stay.
  • Only one visitor is allowed at a time at the bedside for no more than four hours daily.
  • Visitors must be 12 years of age or older.
  • Pediatrics
    • The patient or family/caregiver may designate two support people
    • Only ONE support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization. 
  • Labor and Delivery (Obstetrics)
    • Prior to admission, in labor and delivery triage, ONE visitor/support person, PLUS a certified doula, are allowed. 
    • Patients may have TWO designated adult support people AND a certified doula to be present at the bedside upon admission, throughout labor, delivery and recovery.
    • During postpartum, the couplet may also have a certified doula AND TWO designated adult support people to be present at the bedside.
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia
    • ONE support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization.
    • An additional visitor may also be with the patient and stay for up to four hours per visit during normal visiting hours once the patient is admitted to a room. 
  • End of life patients

o   Patient and/or family/caregiver may designate TWO visitors at a time at the bedside Minor age visitors must be accompanied by an adult.

o   Clergy visiting at the end of life are not counted as one of the two visitors at the bedside.

o   End-of-life determinations are made in coordination with the patient, family/legal guardian, and treatment team. Visitation for end-of-life situations is not restricted by COVID-19 status or hours. All infection control guidelines and instructions must be followed.

  • Patients undergoing ambulatory procedures or surgeries
    • One visitor only for pre-procedure (surgery) and post-procedure (surgery).
    • The visitor must remain masked at all times and must maintain social distancing and hand hygiene as outlined in this policy.
    • Pediatric patients may have two visitors.
  • Behavioral Health Inpatients
    • Two visitors during site-specific hours.

Rochester Regional Health Visitor Mask and Check-In Policy

Masking

  • Cloth masks are not acceptable at this time. Patients and visitors must wear a medical mask upon arrival. The hospital will provide a medical mask to those who need one.

Check-In/Out

  • Visitors are asked to stop at a screening point upon entry of visitation to have their temperature taken.
  • Visitors are asked to stop at a screening point upon completion of the visitation to “check out” with the screener.

Visitation Hours (No change)

o   Rochester General Hospital: 9:00AM – 1:00PM, 4:00PM – 8:00PM

o   Unity Hospital: 9:00AM – 1:00PM, 4:00PM – 8:00PM

o   Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic:  12:00PM – 8:00PM 

o   Newark-Wayne Community Hospital: 12:00PM – 8:00PM 

o   United Memorial Medical Center: 9:00AM – 1:00PM, 3:00PM – 7:00PM  

o   Behavioral Health Facilities: call specific site for hours

December 10, 2021 - 4:05pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, UMMC, COVID-19, batavia, notify.

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Perspective is everything, so the saying goes.

And for one nurse practitioner at Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center, it’s been a lesson worth remembering from this past year of all things COVID-19.

“I didn’t expect to lose so many people in a year. The wins are great; it’s so awesome to take a breathing tube out and hear them saying good morning to you,” Marie Campbell said during an interview with The Batavian.

“I was hoping for more wins than losses … it’s one hour, one day, one minute at a time.”

Campbell, originally from Connecticut and a current resident of Akron, first joined the Air  Force on her way to a medical career path. It was while stationed In Texas that she met her future husband Bill. They moved to his hometown of Akron and had three boys, James, now 7, Alexander, 4, and 18-month-old Malcolm. Mrs. Campbell wanted to find a job that was “exciting and interesting,” she said, and opted to attend D’Youville College and University at Buffalo, eventually completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Once done with the educational portion of learning, Mrs. Campbell landed a job in the neurological Intensive Care Unit at Buffalo General, and then in the ICU at UMMC a year ago Nov. 30. To bump up the stress another notch, she was pregnant during those first tenuous months of the pandemic, giving birth to Malcolm in May 2020.

Mrs. Campbell was shielded from COVID-19 patients initially, she said, until after she gave birth. When she first came onto the ICU floor, it was a safety protocol all the way, she said: Here’s your N95 mask, gloves, gown, and special headgear. 

“It’s scary,” Mrs. Campbell said. “I’m changing my clothes in the garage and I don’t go into the house … it’s really tough when three kids want to tell me about their day.”

She has emphasized that they’re not to touch her until she has changed and cleansed thoroughly. It has become a habit for them to ask “can I touch you?” and the cautious mom has had to say “no” all too often, she said.

As a nurse practitioner, she deals a lot with the families of patients, explaining what’s going on and what the medical treatment plan entails. Patients with COVID-19 could not have visitors whereas those with illnesses other than the virus could. 

“Most of the interactions with families were on the phone,” she said. “COVID patients don’t get visitors unless they’re end of life. I’ve lost track of all the patients we’ve lost over the last year; I’ve stopped counting.”

One of the most difficult talks she has with patients is that they need a breathing tube and be intubated. “That terrifies people,” she said, “and family members are terrified.”

“In people’s mind, if you put a person on a breathing tube, they won’t survive,” she said.

Although that’s not true, it’s what many people have come to believe about having that tube down their throat, she said. Those with COVID-19 are more often than not unvaccinated and in their 50s and 60s, she said. Their reasons for not getting the shot vary, from their belief it is not safe and decisions to wait awhile longer to see more results, to not thinking the virus is a real threat, she said.

“Being vaccinated makes a difference; it does not mean you’re 100 percent safe, but it does make a huge difference in going into the ICU,” she said. “A large percentage of those not vaccinated … end up getting really sick.”

Her job also includes performing intubations, putting in central lines (which are larger IVs), and reviewing patient charts and lab results. The challenges of a pandemic and constant loss of life have been outweighed by the less intrusive rewards.

“As hard as it was, it was the right decision for me,” she said, highlighting a perk of her job. “The feeling I can make a difference in someone’s life. Often they’re very, very sick, and I can talk to their families. Being able to talk to them, explain things to them … giving them comfort in knowing we’re doing everything we can.”

Her schedule puts the mom of three at work seven days at a time, followed by seven days off. Her days typically begin with waking up the kids and spending some precious time with them before taking care of urgent matters at the hospital, she said.

Despite their tender ages, her children seem to be quite aware of COVID-19 and what it means. She laughed when describing a time she was carrying her 18-month-old son into a medical office, and he reached over to grab some hand sanitizer. 

There are also those sad times, she said. The 35-year-old has been surprised, given she’s in a “small community hospital,” to see the number of sick people coming through the door. Her husband contracted COVID-19 before the vaccine was available to him, and he has since gotten it. The couple is thankful he did not suffer the serious side effects known to so many. Those others have not been as fortunate, she said.

“There are multiple people who wished they had gotten vaccinated, and they passed away,” she said, sharing a piece of advice she’s had to embrace. “When you leave work, you just have to leave it at work. My focus is being at home, enjoying my family.” 

One such patient — a gentleman who had gotten the virus at a wedding — came to her mind. His last words were that “I never should’ve gone to that f- - - ing wedding.” He then died.

It hasn’t all been so bleak, though, Mrs. Campbell said. Many younger patients have gone on to do “really well” and get discharged, even after being on a ventilator. 

“It does happen; the tube is removed and they go home,” she said. “And those are always the best ones.”

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Top photo: Marie Campbell, a nurse practitioner at UMMC in Batavia, enjoys time spent with her family, including son Malcolm, 18 months. Sons James, 7, and 4-year-old Alexander also look forward to being with mom, who works with a patient on the Intensive Care Unit floor at UMMC, and dad, Marie's husband Bill, above. 

December 9, 2021 - 12:32pm

With the percentage of Genesee and Orleans county residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine significantly less than the New York State number, local healthcare and government officials are stepping up their efforts to reach those who, for one reason or another, are among the “vaccine hesitant.”

Speaking during a media briefing via Zoom this morning, Genesee/Orleans Public Health Director Paul Pettit reiterated what he has been saying for the past year: “That vaccines are the best protection against the coronavirus … and against severe illness and death.”

Statistics provided by Pettit reveal that 61.8 percent of Genesee County residents and 59.3 percent of Orleans County residents, when looking at the total population, have received at least one dose of the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. (The first two are administered in two shots; J&J is one shot).

That pales in comparison to the state as a whole, with the percentage of the total population that has received at least one shot at 79.4 and the percentage of those 18 and older at 91.8.

When looking at the completed series, Genesee County’s number falls to 55.9 percent and Orleans is at 52 percent. In the age 5-11 category, Genesee is at 10.6 percent and Orleans at 9.5 percent.

For the eight-county Finger Lakes Region, the one-dose percentage is at 70.7 percent and the completed series percentage is at 63.1 percent, Pettit reported.

“That’s why we again are trying to get our vaccination rates up as high as we can,” he said. “COVID vaccines significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death.”

Pettit placed special emphasis on the vaccine booster shots that recently became available.

“We just need to go and get that booster shot now and make sure we're protecting ourselves as best as we can,” he said, adding that both Genesee and Orleans health departments continue to offer weekly COVID-19 vaccination clinics (Wednesdays in Genesee County and Thursdays in Orleans County).

Joining Pettit on the call were Dan Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center; Matt Landers, Genesee County manager; Marianne Clattenburg, Genesee County legislator, and Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislature chair.

Acknowledging the need to improve Genesee County’s vaccination numbers, Landers – as initially reported on The Batavian – mentioned the Finger Lakes Region’s push for a “targeted rural campaign” focused on hard to reach populations such as Native American, Amish and Mennonite, hard to reach zip codes and under vaccinated zip codes.

“We’re trying to find more creative ways to attack and go after targeted media advertising towards them,” he said, adding the plan is to use direct advertising, postcards and other mailings. “Their targets are not necessarily trying to change minds of people that are absolutely set, but it's really to educate, to go after vaccine hesitancy and to go after some of the harder to reach populations potentially …”

On the hospital side, Ireland said UMMC and Rochester Regional Health’s “number one priority” is to maintain full access to healthcare in the community, noting that UMMC is open for all types of elective surgeries at this time.

He also pointed out the importance of getting vaccinated, wearing masks where appropriate and getting tested, especially prior to social or family gatherings.

He said that his family did just that before Thanksgiving and, fortunately, no one tested positive.

“So, really it’s a small step, but it makes a big difference,” he said. “And it will help us on the hospital side. Because certainly as we continue to have a fair number of unvaccinated in the community. It makes a difference when they become positive as we're seeing a higher percentage of unvaccinated patients in our hospital versus the vaccinated COVID patients.”

Statistically, Ireland said that there are more than 200 patients who have tested positive for COVID in RRH hospitals, with 11 percent of those at UMMC. Sixty-two percent in the Intensive Care Unit are COVID positive, with 80 percent of those people unvaccinated.

“Put in non-statistical terms, the unvaccinated truly are showing signs of higher acuity in the hospital,” he said, noting that 100 percent of patients on ventilators are unvaccinated.

Ireland said UMMC continues to partner across the RRH system and with other hospitals in the region to “work on any load balancing options that we can provide; in order to make sure that all patients in our region get care, regardless of where you seek that care.”

He added that 95 percent of RRH outpatient clinics are open, although he did say that wait times may be longer than normal.

Looking at specific areas of concern:

COMMUNITY SPREAD

Pettit said the number of positive cases have remained steady recently but are still too high, with 250 active cases in Genesee County and 334 active cases in Orleans County. Forty-eight of those are in the hospital (35 in Genesee and 13 in Orleans).

Over the past seven days, the positivity rate in Genesee and Orleans is at 12.5 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.

As far as breakthrough cases are concerned (positive tests of those who are fully vaccinated), Pettit said the percentages are 30 percent in Genesee and 29 percent in Orleans – with these types of cases increasing over the past two months.

He urged those who have been vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer at least six months ago and those who had the J&J vaccine at least two months ago to get a booster shot.

Pettit pointed out that most of the spread is from social gatherings "where there's prolonged contact indoors" and from those who think they just have a cold (due to it being cold and flu season).

"So, again, one of our messages we've said from day one is if you're symptomatic, stay home, don't go to work, don't go to school, stay home while you have the symptoms, get that test and verify," he said. "Regardless of COVID, we don't want to be spreading germs around."

COVID-19 TESTING

Pettit said that limited testing is being offered at both health departments by appointment, and that local pharmacies and urgent care centers also are providing testing.

He advised that home testing kits will become more prevalent as time goes on, and that GO Health is getting closer to accepting results of home testing.

“Ultimately, they are very accurate, if done properly. And a positive is a positive on those test kits. So, again, we'd encourage you to get those and use them if available,” he said.

Homebound individuals are asked to call their health departments (Genesee: 585-344-2550, ext. 5555; Orleans, 585-589-3278) to get on a list for a home visit.

OMICRON VARIANT

Pettit said the Omicron variant has not bee identified in Genesee or Orleans, but “that does not mean that it is not here, it just means that it has not been detected (yet).”

He said the new variant likely spreads more easily than the original COVID virus, very similar to how Delta (variant) spread a lot easier.

“The early indication is that the severity does not seem to be too bad again, but it is early and they're continuing to track that,” he offered.

CONTACT TRACING

For those in isolation or quarantine, responding to health department or New York State contract tracers is essential, Pettit said.

“I can't reiterate this enough,” he said. “We need folks to answer the phone; we need folks to engage with us during the process. Because if we don't, if we're not able to do the investigation, and we're not able to talk to you, to release you, we can't send the (release) letter.”

GUIDANCE IN SCHOOLS

Pettit said the collective goal is to keep students in school, and “this year, I think we've done a fairly good job of that.”

Per state mandate, masking continues to be required indoors at schools.

He said his department is talking with superintendents about new strategies, specifically Test to Stay and Test Out of Quarantine.

“There is a checklist and the schools have those and we are discussing how we can implement but ultimately they have to have a written plan around how they would implement these different approaches within their school system,” he said. “And one of the biggest barriers is that it has to be done equitable. We can't have this just for some kids and not for others …”

December 7, 2021 - 4:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, news.

Press release:

Rochester Regional Health will postpone all non-essential elective inpatient, 23 hour and same-day elective hospital surgeries and procedures for at least two weeks at Rochester General Hospital and Unity Hospital, effective Thursday, December 9. This non-essential inpatient elective surgery postponement at Rochester General and Unity is in compliance with newly released guidance from the NYS DOH. Newark-Wayne Community Hospital is not on the NYS DOH “impacted facility” list; however, Rochester Regional has proactively decided to suspend inpatient elective surgeries there this week. At this time, Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic, United Memorial Medical Center, office-based procedures, and ambulatory surgery centers are not impacted. We are actively communicating with impacted patients and hope to resume inpatient surgeries at Rochester General and Unity as soon as it’s possible. As the area enters the third wave of this pandemic, Rochester Regional remains deeply committed to caring for the community. Patients should not delay necessary care at this time.

November 1, 2021 - 8:00am
posted by Gretel Kauffman in COVID-19, news, notify, UMMC.

conradhighwire.jpg

A now-former employee of United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia has attracted national attention in recent weeks as a self-proclaimed “whistleblower” around what she describes as a “cover-up” of potential dangers of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A GoFundMe campaign that appears to have been created by Deborah Conrad states that the hospitalist physician assistant “recently lost her job due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.” A spokesperson for the Rochester Regional Health system confirmed to The Batavian on Oct. 13 that Conrad was no longer employed at the hospital.

But in a description for the GoFundMe campaign, which had attracted more than $74,000 from roughly 1,500 donors as of Sunday morning, Conrad suggested that she intends to remain in the public eye. Conrad has spoken to multiple media outlets in recent months, at times making controversial statements about the COVID-19 vaccine that other medical professionals say misrepresent the risks of immunization.

“As I move into this new chapter in my life, no longer able to do the job I have loved for the last 15 years, I want to make my sacrifices count,” the GoFundMe description reads. “As I gain more and more exposure to media outlets, I need to travel to speak at these events, and also support my family at the same time. I need the community around me to lift me up as I march this path of truth.”

Conrad declined through a third party to be interviewed by The Batavian.

STATEMENTS TRIGGER CONTROVERSY

While employed at UMMC, Conrad spoke to multiple media outlets in September, including the New York Times, about her hesitancy around the COVID-19 vaccine. She has also spoken locally on the matter.

Speaking to a crowd at EverPresent Church in Batavia at an event hosted by the church on Sept. 30, Conrad said that her public statements should not be interpreted as an attempt to discourage people from getting the COVID vaccine.

“I support you no matter what decision you make,” Conrad said. “I just want to make sure you have an informed choice.”

But a number of the insinuations and speculations that Conrad has made publicly, particularly those regarding UMMC patients whose conditions she has suggested may have been caused by the vaccine, have been characterized by other medical professionals as highly unlikely and not in line with the most up-to-date scientific research.

In an hour-long video interview published in September by The HighWire, a website run by the Texas-based anti-vaccine group Informed Consent Action Network, Conrad stated that her hospital had seen a noticeable increase in patients coming in with conditions including heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, gastrointestinal bleeds, sepsis, pneumonia, appendicitis, pancreatitis and “recurrent cancers” following the initial public rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021.

A spokesperson for Rochester Regional Health told The Batavian that hospital administration was not aware of any such increase.

“To our knowledge, no clinician, epidemiologist, hospital leader, or principal investigator running a clinical trial has commented, remarked or expressed similar experience or concern,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to The Batavian. “The only noticeable difference in admissions after the vaccines became available was that COVID-19 admissions significantly and dramatically decreased until the Delta variant became more prevalent in our area.”

If the hospital did see such an increase, that uptick could have been due to other factors including side effects of the COVID-19 virus itself, Dr. John Crane, a physician and professor at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biological Sciences, notes—"or to delays in needed care due to fear of catching COVID-19 in the hospital or in the emergency room, as has been seen many times in our country.”

Conrad went on to cite as examples several specific cases that she believed may have been linked to the vaccine, including a patient “whose cancer came back from remission and rapidly killed the individual” after they were vaccinated. She told the interviewer that she had also witnessed “new cancer [cases] come out of nowhere,” implying that any or all of these cases may have been caused by vaccination — a suggestion that Crane describes as “bogus.”

“There are millions of Americans receiving care for cancer at any given time in our country,” Crane wrote in an email to The Batavian. “Many of them achieve a prolonged remission or even achieve a cure. But there are thousands of others who relapse every week, regardless of whether they received a COVID-19 vaccination or not.”

While there is no medical evidence linking COVID vaccination with an increased likelihood of developing cancer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others are currently monitoring to learn whether COVID-19 infection itself carries a higher risk of developing subsequent cancers, Crane noted.

VACCINE DATABASE IS A TOPIC OF CONCERN

One of Conrad’s primary concerns, as she has stated in multiple speaking engagements and on her GoFundMe page, is public awareness of the federally-run Vaccine Averse Event Reporting (VAERS) database. The database, which has existed since 1990 and is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “accepts and analyzes” voluntarily-submitted reports of “adverse events,” or possible side effects, after a person has received a vaccination, according to a description on the official VAERS website.

“Most people don’t even know what VAERS is,” Conrad said at the EverPresent event in late September. “I didn’t know what VAERS was and I’m a health care worker.”

In the HighWire video interview, Conrad said that she had submitted the names and information of more than 120 UMMC patients to the database since the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out, including an estimated 50 patients in the span of one particular month — accounting for the bulk of all the VAERS reports submitted by the hospital in that time, according to Conrad.

At one point, Conrad said, she approached hospital administration to ask for support in her work reporting patients to the VAERS database, as it had become a “full-time job.” That request was “met with resistance,” Conrad told the HighWire interviewer.

A spokesperson for Rochester Regional Health confirmed to The Batavian that such a conversation occurred, but disputed Conrad’s characterization of the hospital’s response as that of “resistance.”

“The administration has always confirmed that it is important to follow VAERS reporting requirements,” the spokesperson said.

In an undated phone call with UMMC President Dan Ireland recorded by Conrad, a clip of which was played in the video produced by The HighWire, Ireland clarified that the hospital system’s policy was that each health care provider “has the responsibility to report on their own patient” when it comes to submitting adverse events to the VAERS database.

The number of reports submitted by Conrad should not be interpreted as evidence that the same number of patients in fact experienced side effects from the vaccine, medical experts say. While health care workers are required by law to report certain adverse events—in other words, certain injuries, illnesses, or deaths—that occur within a specific time period after vaccination, not all events reported to VAERS are caused by vaccinations and VAERS reports “generally cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness,” according to the FDA website.

One example, according to Crane: If a newly-vaccinated patient becomes involved in a severe car crash on their way home from the vaccine clinic, their injuries from the crash could be reported as an adverse event—even if the crash was caused by their car’s malfunctioning autopilot feature and not by the vaccine.

For some patients and their families, a lack of broad public awareness of the database have lead to confusion around why certain cases are reported to VAERS and what these reports indicate.

Howard Owens of Batavia told The Batavian that he was contacted in August by a UMMC nurse, who informed him that his hospitalized wife, Billie, had been added to the VAERS database. (Note: Owens is the publisher of The Batavian. Billie Owens, who passed away on Oct. 15, was editor of The Batavian.) The call left Owens feeling perplexed. He had a clear understanding of his wife's health issues, some of which pre-dated her vaccination. He consulted with Billie's doctors who definitively agreed that her condition had not been caused by the COVID vaccine. 

“We knew why Billie had become ill,” Owens said. “It had nothing to do with COVID or the vaccine.”

The parameters of VAERS reporting -- and what his wife's inclusion in the database meant -- were not made clear to him during the call, Owens said. He said he was told during that call that Billie's inclusion in the database meant that she was confirmed to have had an adverse reaction. (When contacted by The Batavian, the nurse confirmed that she had provided Owens with a VAERS identification number but did not provide any other details about their exchange.)

When Owens watched Conrad’s interview with The HighWire — in which she suggested that a number of UMMC patients with serious conditions may have been hospitalized due to side effects from the vaccine — his confusion turned to frustration and anger, he said, largely on behalf of other families who may have found themselves in similar situations, leaving them susceptible to misinformation about the vaccine. 

"Making false claims about adverse reactions to patient families doesn't strike me as caring about patients,” Owens told The Batavian. “It seems like the exact opposite: Causing unnecessary drama in the lives of people already facing enough trauma at a critical time in their loved one's care.”

CONRAD: GOAL IS 'OPEN-MINDED HEALTHCARE'

Speaking at EverPresent Church, Conrad said she was invited to participate in the interview with The HighWire after she learned that ICAN had, unprompted, paid her legal fees for hiring a New York City-based attorney while she was employed at UMMC.

“Of course I was scared to death and I knew my job would be on the line as a result,” Conrad said, in reference to the interview. “I knew I would be exposed… I don’t want to hurt anybody, but I just can’t stand to see the injustice going on.”

In the description for her GoFundMe campaign, Conrad says that she is interested in opening her own local clinic “offering unbiased, open-minded healthcare” in the future. In the meantime, she wrote, she hopes that her public statements will prompt discussion of “how to help those possibly injured and give them a voice.”

“I didn’t want this job, but I just kept hearing [God] call me,” Conrad told the crowd at EverPresent Church. “I just keep hearing him tell me, ‘Don’t be afraid. Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing.’”

Gretel Kauffman, a former resident of Elba, is a special corresponded for The Batavian.

Photo: Screen capture from video interview with Conrad on The HighWire

October 22, 2021 - 1:44pm
posted by Press Release in UMMC.
Event Date and Time: 
October 28, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm

What: United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia in having an on-site, open interview event for opportunities in Food Service, Housekeeping, and Janitorial Service. There are full-time, part-time, and per diem positions available.

Where: 24 Masse Place, Batavia, NY

When: Thursday, October 28 from 10 a.m. -  1 p.m.

Sign up: Eventbrite

October 15, 2021 - 5:38pm
posted by Joanne Beck in breast cancer, cancer screening, news, UMMC.

Cancer prevention and early detection are at the top of Lisa Franclemont’s work agenda each day, especially as COVID-19 has kept many people away from the doctor’s office.

“A lot of people avoided their screenings, and there were more late-stage diagnoses,” Franclemont said Thursday. “People still need to have their screenings.”

As Cancer Services Program coordinator for Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, and Niagara counties (GOWN), Franclemont wants to spread the word that there is a financial help for those without health insurance to obtain those necessary screenings. Genesee County Legislature gave the health educator a proclamation Wednesday for her work in this field. Her message is especially fitting, given that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“There’s no reason why anyone doesn’t have a mammogram now,” she said. 

Franclemont has been a longtime staple at United Memorial Medical Center’s Healthy Living program in Batavia. When she began 15 years ago, this program was only available in Genesee County, she said. 

“Now it’s in every county in New York State,” she said. 

What & Who is Covered ...

The grant-funded GOWN program provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings for women 40 and older and colorectal cancer screenings for men and women 50+. According to Cancer Services Program literature, breast cancer is most often discovered in women 50 and older and colon cancer also targets men and women in that same age bracket. Cervical cancer has been more often found in women that had never been screened before. 

Most health insurance companies cover these screenings at no cost to patients, but the uninsured aren’t so fortunate. That’s where Franclemont comes in: to educate and encourage people without medical insurance to call her at 585-344-5494 to ask questions, determine if they are eligible, and set up an appointment. For anyone out of the area, or that may have concerns outside of regular work hours, there is also a toll-free number available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-442-2262. Hablamos Español. There are translation services for other languages.

Another layer of protection for those uninsured is the Medicaid Treatment Act, Franclemont said. That will not only pay for cancer screenings, but also for the required diagnostics. So, for example, if a woman has a mammogram and receives a cancer diagnosis, she will be able to also obtain an ultrasound and a biopsy, as warranted, and covered by the Medicaid act would also pay for those services. 

Breast Cancer: Symptoms & Stats ...

One in every eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer, program literature states. A mammogram has been the best way to find it, and symptoms may include a lump or pain in the breast, or changes in shape; irritation of the breast skin or nipples, such as itchiness, redness or flaking; and/or dimples in the breast skin, it states. Again, for emphasis: this program offers free breast cancer screening for eligible uninsured New York residents in every county and borough. 

Breast cancer screenings are recommended every two years for women aged 50 to 74, unless other factors prompt an earlier screening, such as having a family history of breast cancer, being overweight, not getting enough exercise, late menopause of age 55 or older, and never having given birth or doing so at age 30 or older.
Colon cancer screenings for men and women are recommended to begin at age 50. Doctors are the largest source of referrals for Franclemont’s program, she said, and it’s, therefore, crucial to maintaining contact with one’s primary care physician or other health care provider.

Don't Want to Go Out? Stay Home ...

Another option for colon cancer screening is the colon kit, she said, which is an at-home test that has been shown to have an 80 percent efficacy rate. If something shows up in the kit, uninsured people would then be able to get a free colonoscopy, she said. 

The biggest point is to just get screened. Medical facilities are following protocols and “using precautions” by ensuring staff is vaccinated and masked, which makes them safe places to visit, she said. 

“It’s important that people still get screenings during the pandemic,” Franclemont said. “If people have any problems, they should call their doctors. Don’t ignore changes.”

The Cancer Services Program provides breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening at no cost to men and women who qualify. So, as related flyers state: Get screened, no excuses! For more information, call 585-344-5494.

If you’re in need of health insurance and live in New York State, you can check out the New York State of Health at nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 1-855-355-5777.
 

September 30, 2021 - 4:52pm

mayoexec_1.pngThe chief medical officer at Rochester Regional Health today said that due to nursing home admission limitations as many as 80 patients who are ready to be transferred to long-term care facilities or rehabilitation centers are stuck in the system’s hospitals.

“There are, on any given day, in our … hospitals, a combined 60 to 80 patients in this category,” Dr. Rob Mayo said. “So, it is a considerable number.”

RRH is an integrated health care system with nine member hospitals, including United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

Mayo (photo at right) took part in a video press conference with Adam Bello, Monroe County executive; Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County commissioner of public health, and Dr. Michael J. Apostolakos, chief medical officer at University of Rochester Medical Center Strong Memorial and Highland Hospitals.

The session focused on the vaccine mandate imposed upon health care workers by Gov. Kathy Hochul and its effect on staffing at hospitals and nursing homes, as well as the situation in schools and delays in receiving care at hospital emergency rooms.

Mayo said RRH is working with the other health systems and community partners to alleviate the hospital-to-nursing-home logjam.

“What we do is continue to care for them, and we continue to look for options,” he said. “We work with our partner home care agencies … but, by and large, it is a challenge to do this.”

All three doctors emphasized that employee vaccination rates at their hospitals are very high – up to 99 percent at RRH and URMC locations – but acknowledged that lower levels at nursing homes are causing significant problems.

“Among nursing home staff not all staff fit into the same categories,” Mendoza offered. “When you look at the positions, the nurse practitioners who work in the nursing homes, the vaccination rate is like among other positions – upwards of 99 percent.

“What we’re seeing among other staff, particularly the nurse aides and CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) and so forth, their vaccination rate more appropriately parallels the demographic from which they are representing. So, if many live in the city (of Rochester), their vaccination rate as a population is roughly the same as the vaccination rate that we’re seeing in the city.”

Mendoza called it “an absolute concern … that represents a disparity in care and health access that we’ve been seeing all across this pandemic. It is a very important problem.”

He said nursing homes are limiting the number of admissions from the hospitals in order to “keep appropriate ratios in place.”

“Right now, unfortunately for the rest of the health care system, they’ve decreased their admissions, which is creating a bottleneck, if you will, across the entire system.”

Apostolakos said the nursing home issue has resulted in the inability to transfer 55 patients in the URMC system – almost 10 percent of its inpatient capacity.

“… those patients are still taking up acute care beds in our acute care hospital,” he said. “It is causing a significant percentage of our beds to be taken up and, therefore, making it more difficult to get patients through the emergency room and into our hospital, and to accept transfers into our facility.”

 HIGH PERCENTAGE ARE VACCINATED

Mayo said that as of Monday, more than 99 percent of RRH employees are vaccinated, with less than 1 percent placed on administrative leave because of their unvaccinated status. He also said that a small percentage requested religious or medical exemptions – and those were granted in compliance with New York State regulations.

Those employees who do not qualify for an exemption and refuse to get vaccinated will be terminated sometime in the morning of Oct. 3 (this Sunday), he reported.

“Despite the successes with this vaccination mandate and regulation, we do have understaffed areas,” he said. “Many people are working overtime. We have patients in our hospitals awaiting discharge and we pleased to participate in a community-wide effort to create solutions for hospitals and for nursing homes … so we can all move patients into their appropriate environments as quickly as possible.”

He also said RRH is participating in efforts to managing strains on pediatric practices and the impact of COVID in schools.

Apostolakos said that more than 96 percent of URMC employees have been vaccinated, another 3 percent received religious exemptions and less than 1 percent elected to resign their positions.

“The not so good news,” he said, is the increasing number of COVID cases.

Sixty-nine patients at Strong have COVID, with 15 of those on a ventilator, he said, and another 84 are at other URMC facilities.

“That number continues to increase,” he said, adding that most of those patients are unvaccinated.

He pleaded with the community “to get vaccinated for yourself, for your family, for your community and for our health care workers that have been under stress and strain for the past 18 months.”

Bello said 93.8 percent of workers at Monroe County Hospital are vaccinated, with 61 employees not vaccinated, seven receiving exemptions and one who has resigned.

He said the unvaccinated workers have been placed on unpaid administrative leave for three months, but would be welcomed back if fully vaccinated.

The county executive said employees are working under stressful conditions and that he was disheartened to see people protesting in front of hospitals.

“The patients inside are sick; they’re seeking care. The health care providers are working long hours, under considerable stress. Neither patients nor health care workers deserve the disdain and anger that’s being targeted towards them and where they work,” he said.

MENDOZA: STUDENT ILLNESS INCREASES

Mendoza spoke about situation in schools, noting that they are seeing an unseasonal increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, which causes mild symptoms in school age kids but can be serious for infants, toddlers and older adults.

Also, a growing number of school age children who have contracted COVID-19, he said.

Per state Department of Health guidelines, the only authorized tests are the NAT and PCR tests, he said, and not the rapid antigen tests due to Monroe County’s “high” transmission status.

He said health officials are working with schools to increase testing capabilities, a procedure that is also taking place in Genesee County.

“Do not send your sick children to school. Make sure they are properly masking and follow all of the other safety protocols in place … and if they are eligible, please get them vaccinated,” he said.

EXPECT DELAYS IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM

Both Apostolakos and Mayo said that for the immediate future, delays in the emergency rooms, waiting rooms and even some urgent care centers are inevitable.

The emergency department has a triage process, with priority is given to patients depending upon severity of illness or injury, Apostolakos said, “so the wait could be several hours.”

“We encourage our patients to call their primary care providers to seek health care at urgent care if their illness is less severe,” he advised.

He also said URMC is pausing temporarily some elective surgeries where hospital stays are necessary to ensure there is enough space for patients admitted with COVID and other non-COVID illnesses.

Mayo said RRH emergency rooms and urgent care facilities have been crowded over the last couple weeks.

“It’s disappointing to acknowledge … but waits in our emergency rooms can be long; they can be several hours,” he said.

Many outpatient services have been unaffected, he said, but RRH hospitals are limiting some elective surgeries, primarily at Rochester General Hospital.

September 30, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Gov. Kathy Hochul, UMMC, Rochester Regional Health.

Vaccination rates for United Memorial Medical Center employees are right around the 90 percent mark as hospitals and other facilities around the state contend with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Sept. 27th mandate requiring health care workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.

According to statistics on the New York State COVID-19 vaccine website -- www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov, 94 percent of workers at UMMC’s Bank Street campus have been vaccinated compared to 89 percent at UMMC’s North Street campus.

UMMC is part of Rochester Regional Health System, which is showing a 90 percent vaccination rate for all of its employees – a percentage point less than data for Strong Memorial Hospital University of Rochester Medical Center.

(Watch for an update later today).

The percentage of hospital workers vaccinated in the Finger Lakes Region is 90 percent, with Genesee and Orleans counties at 89 and Wyoming County at 90.

These figures are calculated from the number of hospital staff eligible for vaccination and the number completing the recommended series of a given COVID-19 vaccine product (e.g. 2 doses of the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1-dose of the 1-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), per the state website.

Statistics for nursing homes and assisted living facilities reveal the following for Genesee County (as reported by the individual facilities as of Sept. 27):

Nursing homes:

  • Le Roy Village Green – Residents’ complete dose: 92.7 percent; Staff complete dose: 83 percent.
  • Premier Genesee – Residents’ complete dose: 90.3 percent; Staff complete dose: 92.4 percent.
  • The Grand – Residents’ complete dose: 91.4 percent; Staff complete dose: 90.7 percent.

Assisted living:

  • Genesee Adult Home – Residents’ complete dose: 94.5 percent; Staff complete dose: 72.7 percent.
  • Le Roy Manor -- Residents’ complete dose: 97.2 percent; Staff compete dose: 92.3 percent.
  • The Manor House, Batavia – Residents’ complete dose: 100 percent; Staff compete dose: 93.6 percent.

Calls seeking comment from the administrators at the nursing homes listed above were not returned at the time of the posting of this story. Samantha Vagg is the administrator at Le Roy Village Green, Sharon Zeams is the administrator at Premier Genesee and Timothy Srye is the administrator at The Grand.

All told in Genesee County, skilled nursing facilities vaccination rates as of Sept. 28 were 94 percent for residents and 90 percent for workers and adult care facilities vaccination rates as of Sept. 28 were 97 percent for residents and 87 percent for workers.

REPORT FROM GOV. HOCHUL

On Wednesday, Hochul said that 92 percent of hospital and nursing home workforce have gotten at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, and 89 percent of adult care facilities employees have received at least one dose.

Based on total number of hospital employees in the state, an 8 percent unvaccinated rate equates to more than 41,000 who have not received at least one dose. As a result, the governor’s staff is monitoring the impact of her mandate, with the possibility of bringing in health care workers from out of the state or even from other countries.

The Genesee County Legislature, along with about seven other counties in the region, has sent a letter to the governor asking for her to include a coronavirus testing option for health care workers.

“I fully support the legislature’s position … to ensure that we didn’t have any lapse in service,” County Manager Matt Landers said today. “It’s a common sense, logical approach to the situation at hand. Obviously, we’d like to see as many people vaccinated as possible, but at the end of the day, we can’t jeopardize the care of our sick and our elderly because of the mandate.”

DATA FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Latest statistics (as of Sept. 29) also show that 56.1 percent of Genesee County residents age 12 and over are fully vaccinated, which is less than the 63.6 percent for all New York state residents.

By zip code (as of Sept. 28), these are the percentages of those fully vaccinated:

  • Batavia – 50.4
  • East Bethany – 38.8
  • Alexander – 44
  • Basom – 44.4
  • Oakfield – 45.3
  • Byron – 48
  • Corfu – 49.6
  • Darien Center – 51.1
  • Pavilion – 53.8
  • Bergen – 55.3
  • Le Roy – 56.5
  • Stafford – 65.5
  • Elba – 73.6

In the Finger Lakes Region, the total number of people with at least one vaccine dose has increased over the past week by 7,695 to 760,752, and the total number of people with the complete vaccine series has increased over the past week by 5,590 to 706,944.

BOOSTER SHOT STATUS LOCALLY

Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator, reported that the Genesee Orleans Health Department has set up clinics for those eligible for booster shots, beginning next week.

“Boosters are offered during the regular clinic day with the only difference being registration is required for boosters,” she said.

The booster shot schedule, for those 65 and older who became fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago:

  • Oct. 6 from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m., Genesee County Health Department, 3837 West Main Street Rd., Batavia;
  • Oct. 7, from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m., Orleans County Health Department, 14016 State Route 31, Suite 101, Albion.

These shots are administered by appointment only.

September 27, 2021 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in COVID-19, UMMC, rochester reginal health, news.

Press release:

“Per the New York State  COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare workers, Rochester Regional Health is currently nearing 99 percent compliance. This percentage includes individuals who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or have been granted religious or medical exemptions. Rochester Regional Health is proud of all of its employees for their hard work and dedication in keeping the community safe through the pandemic and beyond. We remain committed to serving the community and taking care of all individuals who seek care. “

September 25, 2021 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, UMMC, batavia, news.

carseatcheckspet2021.jpg

City Fire and UMMC hosted a free child safety seat check at the Fire Hall this morning.

carseatcheckspet2021-2.jpg

September 21, 2021 - 9:14pm

ymca_2.jpg

Updated: 7 a.m.:

The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee tonight approved the site plan of the Healthy Living campus, a $30 million joint venture of United Memorial Medical Center (Rochester Regional Health) and the GLOW YMCA on East Main Street.

The tally was 3-1 in favor of the layout, with Ed Flynn, Rebecca Cohen and John Ognibene casting “yes” votes and David Beatty voting “no.” The committee’s monthly meeting took place at the City Hall Council Board Room.

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Related story: Planning committee member sees Healthy Living campus site plan as 'missed opportunity'

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“We’re extremely satisfied. We listened to what the concerns were and we made adjustments. I think they were fair and we were fair,” said GLOW YMCA Chief Executive Officer Rob Walker.

Project Consultant David Ciurzynski and representatives of the Clark Patterson Lee architectural/engineering firm had appeared before the PDC two times prior to tonight’s meeting.

Over the course of lengthy deliberations, a few changes requested by the committee were made, most notably the removal of an entrance/exit on Summit Street and removal of parking spaces in the area just east of Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council, on a parcel where the YMCA currently sits.

Walker said developers surrendered about 30 parking spots to create more green space.

“When you’re in business, we want those spots, but out of respect for the process, we negotiated,” he said.

On the Summit Street issue, he said, “We met with the Summit Street (Neighborhood) Association and with a number of residents and we listened and we said, OK.”

“The traffic flow is going to work just fine as we have an exit on Washington (Avenue) and an exit on Bank (Street).”

Ciurzynski said the updated site plan shows the Summit Street exit removal and parking space adjustment, adding that there are no plans to build a wall or put up additional trees in the space between GO Art! and the new YMCA building.

PDC member Ed Flynn said the board received a letter from GO Art! stating its support of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project as long as there was no wall.

Beatty then mentioned a site plan presented by Clark Patterson Lee and sent to Gregory Hallock, GO Art! executive director, was different from the final plan. He said he had hoped the PDC would have been able to see that document.

Ciurzynski said that was a previous drawing, calling it “much more elaborate than what we have and we’re not moving forward with that because of budget reasons.”

“The plan that you have (now) is the plan that we’re moving forward with,” he said, adding that the current plan has appropriate buffering on that back side (of GO Art!). “I understand that he (Hallock) may desire something more (but) technically it’s not his property. We have to be as good neighbors as possible, but we have to also manage our budget.”

The PDC reviewed the State Environmental Quality Review paperwork and determined no adverse impact. It did advise Ciurzynski, however, to make sure the GO Art! building is protected during construction as it is an historic structure. Ciurzynski said he would send the final site plan to the State Historic Preservation Office.

With the committee’s approval in hand, the timeline becomes much clearer.

Ciurzynski said construction documents should be complete by the late fall or early winter, and then bids will be solicited.

“Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll start seeing some (activity), with Cary Hall coming down. And start getting the site prepped and ready for construction in earnest starting in the spring,” he said, noting that the entire project will take about 20 months, including 14 to 16 months on the main two-story, 69,420-square-foot building.

“We’re trying to get everything done as quickly as possible so we can move in and take down the (existing) YMCA,” he said. “Start construction in the spring when the weather breaks, get the building up, get everything moved over into there from the existing Y to the new Y – get that operational – and then we can start looking at taking down the old Y and developing that site.”

He acknowledged the PDC’s opposition to the amount of parking on Main Street.

“They didn’t like the look of it (and) they wanted more of an urban park environment, so we sort of split the difference,” he said. “We gave up some very significant parking for our membership but we will find ways to work around that because it was important to the Planning & Development Committee.

“They’re looking out for the city; trying to make sure they can strike a balance. We’re a partner with the city, so we want to make sure that we can strike that balance that works for everybody.”

Even with the reduction of parking spots, the campus will accommodate about 200 cars. Walker said that hospital staff would be able to continue to park in the City Centre Mall parking lot.

As previously reported on The Batavian, the Healthy Living Campus will replace the current YMCA, and will feature YMCA amenities such as gymnasium, pool, locker rooms, multipurpose rooms, exercise rooms and a community living (common) area.

It also will have 10,000 square feet for the hospital’s Healthy Living (diabetes awareness and education) program as well as a medical clinic on the second floor as a teaching unit for medical residents, and space for RRH’s Baby Café, a breastfeeding program run by lactation specialists who offer education and support to any pregnant woman or breastfeeding mom in the community at no charge.

Graham to Build 'Infill' Addition

In other action, the PDC approved a site plan submitted by Graham Mfg. to construct a 2,500-square foot one-story infill addition on the south side of the industrial complex at 4-12 Howard St.

Chris Howell, facilities manager at Graham Mfg., said the company wishes to put in a metrology lab in the new space for non-destructive testing and a stockroom -- “and to do those things well we need a separate area, which is temperature controlled and where it is clean.”

Currently, the firm’s welding and grinding operations are integrated with this kind of testing, he said, and separating those processes will improve the metrology and non-destructive testing.

The plan also is subject to review by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals due to the entire building’s coverage area on the lot being more than the permitted 40 percent.

Previously: City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee says 'no' to Summit Street access for Healthy Living Campus

September 8, 2021 - 2:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, buffalo bills, UMMC, robotics.

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The Buffalo Bills, based on two playoff victories last season and a franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, are on the short list of teams favored to make it to Super Bowl LVI. Expectations are high as the franchise has clawed its way back to being one of the National Football League’s elite teams.

One of their longtime fans, Robert “Bob” Neeley of Warsaw – motivated to a large degree by his passion for the team – is fighting his way back from two total knee replacement surgeries that utilized Robotic Surgical Assistant technology at United Memorial Medical Center.

Neeley, a 30-year employee of the Wyoming County village’s Department of Public Works, already has exceeded the expectations of his surgeon and physical therapists as he has received clearance to attend the Bills’ season opener this Sunday.

The Bills kick off their schedule with a 1 p.m. contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.

“That’s been my big goal – to go to the Bills’ game this coming Sunday,” Neeley, a season ticket-holder since 2001, said during a Zoom call this afternoon with his surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Loffredo, chief of Orthopaedics at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia.

“I’m glad that I got both knees done and that I can actually do it. It’s going to be exciting with all the fans and that I’m going to be there. It’s going to be great because my cousins have been looking forward to me going, too.”

Neeley, a 1982 Warsaw Central graduate, has been a Bills’ fan since the mid-1980’s – “I cheered for them at Ralph Wilson Stadium (as it was called then) and cried during the Super Bowls,” he said.

He said that prior to COVID-19 that he and his three cousins went to all the games since purchasing season tickets 20 years ago.  That tradition seemed to be in jeopardy this year due to the condition of Neeley’s knees.

“I had a tremendous amount of pain in both knees … and have been off work since November 2020,” Neeley said. “I got out of the dump truck and it twisted and swelled up. There was no way that I could keep working.”

He said that the pandemic and other factors resulted in surgery being cancelled three times. The plan was to have the left knee done after the first of the year (2020) but when Neeley’s wife, Susan, was stricken with cancer, it was postponed.

Susan, Neeley’s wife of almost 32 years, passed away in April 2020, leaving a heartbroken husband and daughter.

Neeley had the left knee replaced by Dr. Matthew Landfried in early March and had the right knee replaced on Aug. 2 – just five weeks ago – by Dr. Loffredo.

Since then, Neeley has been working extra hard to reach his goals of attending the game and returning to work.

“I feel that my wife is pushing me to do it; to keep going,” he said, fighting back the tears.

“I’ve been doing everything they say and the therapist has been making me work, and I’m doing what I am supposed to at home on my exercises,” he said. “(I) go to therapy twice a week and everything is going really good.”

Dr. Loffredo called Neeley an “ideal patient,” adding, “You give him an objective, and he’s going to get there.”

“You couldn’t ask for a better patient to work on because he’s very motivated … That’s what it is after a knee replacement … it’s doing the exercises and then you get an excellent result.”

The doctor explained that the use of robotics leads to consistent outcomes in terms of balancing the knee.

“The added benefits of the robot is that you get some numbers, whereas before it was more of a feel or an art to what we call soft tissue balancing,” he said. “So, during surgery … (with a) traditional knee replacement, it’s the surgeon feeling how is this knee balanced, side to side. You know it bends, like a hinge, but side to side how is the soft tissue balance?”

Dr. Loffredo said the robot provides data while the surgeon is “gapping” the knee.

“As opposed to with the robot, you literally get feedback while you’re gapping it – you’re two millimeters gapped on the inner, you’re one millimeter gapped on the outer side. So, we’ll make these cuts just so. We’ll release ligaments slightly to gap balance it. It gives you numbers whereas before it was more of a feel or an art. Now, you can quantify it and it makes it more reproducible.

“There’s good evidence that shows patients have a more reproducible result and there’s less revisions and basically better patient satisfaction and hopefully a fast recovery.”

Dr. Loffredo said he’s glad that UMMC is able to offer “that cutting edge service.”

“I believe that the robot is an additional tool to use in the OR (operating room) that in my hands helps to create a reproducible joint replacement, where we’re having a straight knee and a balanced knee each and every time,” he said.

Neeley said he couldn’t be happier in how things are turning out for him, and hopes the Bills can equal or better their performance of last season.

“I don’t know if they will beat out what they did last year; they did so well,” he said. “It’s going to be real tough … but they’ve got a good defense.”

And, the offense is led by a Pro Bowl signal caller.

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Photo at top: Warsaw resident Bob Neeley giving his all in physical therapy to bounce back from two knee replacement surgeries. Photo at bottom: Neeley and Dr. Nicholas Loffredo. Photos submitted by United Memorial Medical Center.

August 24, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Press Release in UMMC, Rochester Regional Health, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

Due to the rapid transmission of the Delta variant and increased positive COVID-19 cases, Rochester Regional Health will be re-implementing a stricter visitation policy effectiveWednesday, August 25 at 9 a.m. at the following locations:

  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital
  • Rochester General Hospital
  • Unity Hospital
  • United Memorial Medical Center
  • Rochester Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Linden Oaks Ambulatory Surgery Center
  • Westfall Ambulatory Surgery Center

New York State Department of Health continues to require masks inside healthcare facilities this includes visitors and patients. Visitors must have their temperature checked and be screened for symptoms when entering any of these facilities.

No visitation allowed 

  • COVID-19 positive patients 
  • Emergency department patients
  • Cancer infusion center patients
  • Only exceptions: pediatric patients, labor and delivery patients, patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia and patients at the end-of-life (see below)

Hospital visitation policy

  • Each COVID negative patient can have one visitor at a time at the bedside 
  • Different visitors can visit the patient throughout the day as long as it is limited to one at a time
  • Visitors must be 12 years of age or older
  • Labor and Delivery (Obstetrics)
    • One visitor at a time
    • One support person (in addition to a visitor) is allowed at the beside at all times
  • Pediatrics
    • Two supports persons and one visitor
    • One visitor in pediatric ED
    • If the patient is COVID positive, one support person and one visitor
  • Patients undergoing ambulatory procedures or surgeries
    • One visitor only for pre-procedure (surgery) and post-procedure (surgery)
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and cognitive impairments including dementia
    • One support person may be present on-site at a time in the emergency room or during hospitalization
    • An additional visitor may also be with the patient during hospital-designated visiting hours 
  •  Behavioral Health inpatients
    • There is no change to the current visitation rules for Behavioral Health Inpatients
      • Two visitors during site-specific hours
  • End of life patients (appropriate PPE will be required if the patient is COVID positive):

o   Up to two visitors at the bedside at a time 

o   One support person (in addition to visitors) is allowed at the bedside; clergy are not considered a visitor

o   Social distancing must be maintained

Hospital daily visitation hours 

  • Rochester General Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Unity Hospital: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic:  12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Newark-Wayne Community Hospital: 12 p.m.  – 8 p.m.
  • United Memorial Medical Center: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. 
  • Behavioral Health Facilities – call specific site for hours
August 18, 2021 - 2:02pm

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A Summit Street entrance and exit to the proposed Healthy Living Campus is off the table.

That’s the word from Duane Preston, City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee chair, following Tuesday night’s monthly meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room.

Consultants and architects assigned to the joint venture of United Memorial Medical Center (Rochester Regional Health) and the Genesee Area Family YMCA continued their presentation of the $30 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, looking to address concerns from their appearance in July.

At the forefront was the idea of an access from Summit Street on a parcel owned by the hospital between two houses on the west side of the street. Developers contended that it was needed to ensure proper traffic flow; planners, however, disagreed.

“They (project representatives) were kind of hesitant but we all agreed to take the Summit Street access off the plan,” Preston said. “Nobody on the board felt that it was needed at this point and my thing is that it is something that could be put in at a later date if we had to.”

As it stands now, vehicles will be able to enter the campus via Bank Street, Washington Avenue or Wiard Street.

Preston said two residents of Summit Street spoke against the access, mentioning increased traffic on the street and annoyance of vehicle lights in the backyard or side of their house.

The PDC also had hoped developers would expand the amount of green space along the east side of the GO ART! building at the corner of Main and Bank streets, removing some parking spaces in the process.

Consultant David Ciurzynski said that has been addressed, making that area more of a park-like setting.

Preston said he expects more green space there, but emphasized that developers still believe all parking lots in the plan are necessary.

No official action on the site plan was taken, said Preston, adding that the State Environmental Quality Review will be conducted now that the public hearing is over.

“They’re going to throw us another plan next month, and we’re going to go from there,” he said. “We all agree that the building is great. We don’t want to pinch this whole thing … but we’ve spent more time on the parking lot than we have on the building. Still, we have to do what’s best for the residents of Batavia.”

In other action, planners approved downtown design reviews for a new façade, lighting and signage on one side of the Batavia Tailors & Cleaners building at 33-39 Ellicott St., along with a new rooftop heating and air conditioning unit, and for renovations at Fieldstone Private Wealth, 219 East Main St.

Photo: The City of Batavia Planning & Development Committee has decided against allowing a Summit Street access point to the proposed Healthy Living Campus.  Photo above was taken from Wiard Street, looking east to Summit. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

August 4, 2021 - 4:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Red Cross, UMMC, batavia, news.

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To help draw attention to the critical need for eligible blood donors to come forward and help replenish the supply of blood, UMMC hosted a blood drive on Friday.

UMMC’s Lead Blood Bank Technologist, Jacyln DeGolia was among the donors.

"There's a small percentage of people who are eligible to donate and it's important for our country to keep our blood supply up and for anyone who is eligible to donate to do so on a regular basis," she said.  "(It's important) especially for people like myself who are O-negative, which is the universal donor. I know how important that can be in an emergency situation where we may not have a chance to know a patient's blood type when they need a product, so that's why I personally donate.

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