2017 was an exciting year for Claxton-Hepburn Hepburn Medical Center. Activities throughout the year helped strengthen the medical center and improved its ability to provide excellent care to the community. Our core values, compassion, teamwork, integrity, innovation and excellence are at the forefront of every patient experience. In addition to providing high-quality care and keeping our community healthy, we are one of the largest private employers and our hospital's jobs and spending make an enormous impact on the financial health our community. Nearly $14 million tax dollars are generated through hospital business activities, and payroll dollars earned by our employees are spent locally, and both serve as an important economic stimulus to the region.
Early in the year, Claxton-Hepburn added a surgical robot to its surgery department. The da Vinci Xi surgical robot is the most advance of its kind in the North Country. General surgeons Dr. Michael Oakley and Dr. Noah Zuker provide a range of procedures. The minimally invasive surgical technology allows procedures to performed with greater precision, which results in less pain and discomfort, smaller incisions, and a quicker recovery.
A major highlight came in early December when Claxton-Hepburn announced its clinical affiliation with Crouse Hospital, along with River Hospital and Carthage Area Hospital. The agreement allows the three hospitals to develop strong professional and clinical relationships between one another and Crouse Health in Syracuse. The affiliations do not represent a merger or acquisition but instead will allow each institution to strengthen patient services and share best practices and expertise. Through the affiliations, patients will gain access to specialized care and physicians throughout the Central and Northern New York. They will be able to see specialists from the hospitals participating in the agreement when needed, either in the hospital, in physician's offices or through advanced telemedicine, which will be supported through Crouse Health's affiliation Northwell Health. This will enable quality diagnosis and treatment while eliminating unnecessary travel time or delays for patients in the North Country.
Working with our Community
As part of extensive grassroots efforts, Claxton-Hepburn participated in over 100 community events in 2017. We assisted several groups including the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, American Cancer Society, Alzheimer's Association, and local groups like the Gouverneur Breast Cancer Fund, Volunteer Transportation Organization, Hope and Health Mission, and Community Health Centers of the North Country, to promote their fundraising and awareness events. Through sponsorship and staff volunteering time, we were able to get out into our community and join with our patients and help support their causes. We were able to attend and sponsor local sporting events from local schools including Ogdensburg Free Academy, Lisbon School, and Heuvelton School. We sponsored and supported Ogdensburg Kiwanis Baseball and Soccer leagues, provided a free bike helmet fitting and giveaway, and held our annual Turkey Trot 5K in October. Through a partnership with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the City of Ogdensburg, a walking trail was created to link the Medical Center with the Maple City Trail. Claxton-Hepburn donated a new exercise station that will be installed this spring in the New York Avenue Park.
In October, Claxton-Hepburn worked with Ogdensburg Free Academy to host its first annual healthcare career day. Tenth graders from OFA, Lisbon Central School, Morristown Central School, and Heuvelton Central School attended the event at OFA. A variety of healthcare careers were highlighted to introduce the students to all of the possible careers they could pursue and find good jobs locally. A highlight of the event was the Medical Center's new da Vinci robot on which students were able to get a first-hand experience operating the robot. The event was a great success.
We continue to collaborate with over 40 regional health and human service agencies to complete a comprehensive community health assessment, and based on its data, we were able to develop an ambitious and comprehensive, 3-year community health improvement plan. Details of both documents can be found on our website at www.claxtonhepburn.org/aboutus.
For the third year in a row, the Medical Center hosted the St. Lawrence River Dragon Boat Challenge in July at Waddington Beach. Sixteen teams competed representing hospitals, healthcare organizations and community groups were cheered on by over 1000 spectators from all over the North Country. The fourth annual St. Lawrence River Dragon Boat Challenge will be held on July 14, 2018, and teams can now register at www.slrdragonboat.com. We have an ambitious community calendar for 2017 and are planning to participate in even more grassroots events.
Caring for Our Community
Caring for the underserved has always been the cornerstone of our commitment to provide quality care with dignity and respect to all individuals seeking care at any of our facilities. Our free screening programs reflect our commitment to our community. Collaborating with local funding organizations and our healthcare providers, we provided free screenings for over 1,100 people during our screening programs for colon cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer for uninsured and underinsured individuals, along with screenings for high blood pressure. We also participated in national Go Red and Go Blue awareness days. Over the summer, we provided our annual "Let's Not Meet by Accident" program for over 100 high school students.
Expansion of Services
Expanding patient access to our primary and specialty services is always in front of every decision. In 2017, Claxton-Hepburn expanded its network of primary care specialty providers. We started off the year by welcoming orthopedic surgeon, Steven Mussett, MD. We welcomed primary care mid-level providers: Shivangi Modi, FNP-C, Hillary Heaton, FNP-C, Ken Hilborne, FNP-C, Jessicalee Hollis, FNP-C, and Angela Johnson, FNP-C. Family practice physician, Nupur Nagrare, MD, joined our Claxton-Hepburn Health Center. Our health centers in Canton, Hammond, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Madrid, Ogdensburg, and Waddington are fully staffed and welcoming new patients. Stacey Ryan, APRN, PMHNP-BC joined our new Claxton-Hepburn Wellness Center. Gastroenterologist Ahmad Kadhim, MD, was welcomed and Rashmi Thatte, PA-C, MPH joined our medical oncology team at the Richard E. Winter Cancer Center.
Plans for 2018 and Beyond
Claxton-Hepburn is aggressively recruiting new providers and will continue to work on expanding patient services, enhancing patient access, and improving the patient experience in 2018.
Being a part of our family means you will always have someone defending your future. That's why at Claxton-Hepburn, we are always on the lookout for the latest medical technology and the best people, to protect and defend the health of you and your loved ones. For more information about Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center's commitment to our community and the services we provide, visit us on the web at www.claxtonhepburn.org or visit us on Facebook.