NEW YORK—NYU Langone Medical Center is tripling the square footage in its emergency department in an $80.8 million renovation, Modern Healthcare sister publication Crain's New York Business reported. In its application to the state Department of Health requesting permission for the expansion, which the state approved this summer, NYU Langone wrote that the current emergency department was “poorly configured, resulting in long wait times and inefficient utilization of physical space.”
Regional News/Northeast: NYU Langone tripling ED size, and other news
It is sized for 20,000 annual visits but had 41,000 visits in 2009. NYU Langone sold $191.4 million in 30-year, fixed-rate, tax-exempt bonds to pay for renovations, including the emergency department revamp ($67.4 million), building an extension clinic for its Musculoskeletal Center ($56.2 million) and routine capital expenditures ($60 million). The multi-phased project will take three years to complete and will expand the department from its current 6,900 square feet to 22,000 square feet. The space will accommodate 40 emergency-care beds, up from 18 treatment rooms, and will have six fast-track bays. The revamp involves creating a patient-focused environment, with dedicated areas for children and adults and separation of walk-in and ambulance patients.
PITTSBURGH—Highmark, Pennsylvania's Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee, is recruiting certified registered nurse practitioners who would like to operate in a capacity similar to that of a primary-care physician. Healthcare reform legislation “will likely mean more people will be getting healthcare coverage and seeking healthcare services,” Dr. Carey Vinson, Highmark vice president of quality and medical performance management, said in a news release. By recognizing certified registered nurse practitioners' “ability to work up to the full scope of their medical license, it will allow greater access for members.” The release noted that Highmark was making nurse training programs aware of the new network primary-care certified registered nurse practitioner designation and reaching out to nurses across the state who might be interested in working within that designation.
PHILADELPHIA—The U.S. Justice Department indicted former Temple University School of Medicine ophthalmology chair Dr. Joseph Kubacki on 144 counts of healthcare fraud and making false statements. Between July 2002 and October 2007, Kubacki allegedly directed staff to bring him charts of patients he didn't see and then made notes on the charts to falsely indicate he had seen them, the indictment alleged among several other schemes to falsify claims. In all, the indictment said Kubacki's false claims led Medicare and several private insurance companies and healthcare benefit plans to make payments of more than $1.5 million. If convicted, Kubacki could face “a substantial term of imprisonment” and a fine of $36 million and restitution, according to a Justice Department news release. In an e-mail statement attributed to Raymond Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications, Temple noted that it had “severed its relationship” with Kubacki in November 2007 after investigating his conduct and reporting those findings to HHS. “The university has since implemented additional measures to safeguard against such misconduct from recurring and is cooperating with the government in its investigation,” according to the statement. Kubacki, who now practices in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., could not be reached for comment.
ALBANY, N.Y.—The New York State Senate confirmed Dr. Nirav Shah as the state's new health commissioner. Before his appointment, Shah, 38, was an attending physician at 788-bed Bellevue Hospital Center, New York. He previously was an associate investigator for the Geisinger Center for Health Research and an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York. Shah is the first Indian-American and the youngest person to hold the position, according to the Department of Health. Shah is described in an announcement of his confirmation as a leading expert in the use of large-scale clinical laboratories and electronic health records to improve the quality and efficiency of care. “Dr. Shah is a nationally recognized medical researcher and practitioner whose commitment to reshaping our public health system will serve the people of New York well,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in the release.
GREAT NECK, N.Y.—North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System has joined two universities and two research laboratories in a regional effort to turn local innovation into an economic engine. The initiative, called Accelerate Long Island, is intended to forge a strategy to attract an “entrepreneurial class” that will commercialize research conducted at the institutions. The others collaborating with North Shore-LIJ are Hofstra University, Stony Brook University, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Components of the plan include a seed fund for start-ups, a business-plan competition, a portal to a searchable database of innovations at the institutions, and a commercialization center that would provide mentoring and support for marketing and fundraising strategies.
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