Catholic Health Services, NYIT form osteopathic pact

Proud partner: Jerry Balentine, NYIT's vice president for medical affairs and global health, is excited by NYITCOM's new collaboration with Catholic Health Services of Long Island.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A fresh collaboration between a groundbreaking Long Island medical school and a leading provider of community-based healthcare will improve medical services for patients throughout the region.

Catholic Health Services of Long Island, the largest faith-based healthcare system serving Nassau and Suffolk counties, has entered into a new agreement with New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine aimed at “advanc(ing) patient-centered, community-based healthcare on Long Island,” according to Rockville Centre-based CHSLI.

Through the affiliation, Catholic Health Services – which boasts six acute-care Long Island hospitals (more than 1,900 total beds), roughly 22,000 employees and upwards of $2 billion in annual revenues – will expand its number of medical-student rotations and graduate-level educational residencies, additions the health system says will help grow the size and scope of its clinical services.

That’s saying something for a system already handling 240,000 annual emergency department visits, 80,000 admissions and some 400,000 outpatient visits annually at Rockville Centre’s Mercy Medical Center, Roslyn’s St. Francis Hospital, Bethpage’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, West Islip’s Good Samaritan Medical Center, Smithtown’s St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center and Port Jefferson’s St. Charles Hospital, in additional to services provided through three separate nursing homes and other community-based facilities.

But NYITCOM – New York State’s first osteopathic medical school, originally chartered in 1977 – is ideally suited to help CSH expand its already-impressive footprint, according to Patrick O’Shaughnessy, the system’s executive vice president and chief clinical officer.

Patrick O’Shaughnessy: Graduates welcome.

“NYIT’s medical school affords CHS some strong clinical growth opportunities for the next generation of future providers,” O’Shaughnessy said. “CHS will offer NYITCOM students expanded clerkship opportunities at all of our six high-quality campuses.”

The big-picture idea, the EVP added, is to keep NYITCOM graduates – roughly 300 per year – right here on Long Island after they earn their degrees.

“Approximately 50 percent (of NYITCOM graduates) enter primary care and look to practice on Long Island,” O’Shaughnessy noted. “We welcome these quality graduates into our residencies and eventually into our growing physician practice enterprise.”

While the collaboration’s benefits for the health system are obvious, so too are the gains for NYITCOM, which as a school of osteopathic medicine touches on all the modern components of a healthcare education – including prescription drugs, surgery and new technologies to diagnose and treat disease and injury – but combines them with hands-on diagnoses and treatments known as osteopathic manipulative treatment.

The top benefits for the medical school, according to Jerry Balentine, NYIT’s vice president for medical affairs and global health, are expanded educational opportunities and a new post-graduate luster added to NYITCOM’s already well-regarded medical program.

“NYIT is proud to work with such a prestigious healthcare system to support CHS’s needs for new physicians as it continues to grow,” Balentine said in a statement, adding the collaboration also provides “the best clinical partners and opportunities for students in NYITCOM and our School of Health Professions.”