Northwell gets personal with family-focused LI efforts

Pardon our appearance: It will be a busy year at Glen Cove Hospital's Family Medicine Center, which has kicked off a multimillion-dollar renovation project.

In 21st century healthcare, pharmaceutical discoveries and spectacular med-tech breakthroughs constantly move the ball – but sometimes, the most important innovations are more personal.

To that end, Northwell Health – where laboratories constantly bristle with high-tech experimentation – has announced two Long Island projects on more intimate levels, each focused on families and the particular needs of Island residents.

On Wednesday, the New Hyde Park-based health system cut the virtual ribbon on a comprehensive substance-abuse treatment program for patients ages 13 to 18 at Amityville’s South Oaks Hospital, Suffolk County’s largest behavioral-health facility.

Northwell Health on Wednesday also kicked off a $5.5 million expansion and renovation project at Glen Cove Hospital, where a new 6,600-square-foot Family Medicine Center is slated to be up and running by this time next year.

The modernization of the circa-1970s Family Medicine Center – projected to accommodate a 40 percent increase in patient volume, up to 18,500 patients annually – follows three years of community-based fundraising efforts that earmarked some $3.5 million toward the cause, as calculated by Northwell Health.

Barbara Keber: Community member.

That’s proof positive of the center’s importance to the City of Glen Cove and surrounding neighborhoods, according to Glen Cove Hospital Family Medicine Chairwoman Barbara Keber.

“We have a long and proud history of providing high-quality healthcare services to members in need in our community,” noted Keber, a board-certified family medicine specialist and Northwell Health’s vice chairwoman of family medicine. “Our new Family Medicine Center will not only accommodate more patients, but the renovation will create a welcoming and modern environment as well as upgrades that enhance clinical care and collaboration.”

The updated center is expected to include 12 examination rooms, its own laboratory and “modern reception and seating areas,” according to Northwell Health. It will be stocked with bedside ultrasound machines and other state-of-the-art tech, and staffed with an interdisciplinary and bilingual team of physicians, nurses, social workers and other healthcare professionals.

The much-needed modernization will also help the center continue a long tradition of residency-training programs. More than 230 board-certified family physicians – including Keber, a Molloy College graduate and associate professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell – have trained at the Family Medicine Center, a proud history that now enjoys a bright future, according to Glen Cove Hospital Executive Director Kerri Scanlon.

“We are extremely grateful to the hospital’s Advisory Council and caring individuals in the community who spearheaded the fundraising campaign for the Family Medicine Center, making this vision into reality,” Scanlon, a registered nurse, said in a statement.

Women of substance: South Oaks Hospital adolescent substance abuse Case Coordinators (from left) Caitlin Goetz, Iasia Quick, Peggy Stapleton and Katie Ciorciari.

Also aligned closely with community interests is the new adolescent substance-abuse treatment program debuting at South Oaks Hospital, which was created in response to outreach from eight Long Island school districts.

Providing initial evaluations, medication-management services, medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy and a wide range of preventative strategies, the program embraces evidence-based treatment, with an emphasis on dialectical behavioral therapy – essentially, helping youngsters replace substance use with more appropriate alternatives.

And by tailoring its inpatient and outpatient services to each patient and his/her family, the program address substance abuse in the most personal way possible, according to South Oaks Hospital Executive Director Carolyn Sweetapple.

“Our emphasis is on treating the whole person,” the exec said Wednesday. “South Oaks Hospital is committed to addressing substance-use disorder as a health issue in which a holistic approach promotes recovery.

That includes treatment plans that veer from traditional medicine, including yoga, meditation, creative arts and music therapy – a “psychological education,” Sweetapple said, “so that people can gain skills that are transferrable and applied to real life.

“They can create their own daily structure of the program, similar to how they would lay out their daily schedule,” she added. “People receive a nutrition consultation and can participate with our clergy and prayer groups if they’d like.

“We are treating people’s minds, bodies and spirits.”