Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 4-7-22

There’s strength in Sharon Hospital’s transformation

I write today in support of Sharon Hospital’s proposed consolidation of critical care services into a progressive care unit (PCU). I have been a physician practicing internal medicine, hospital medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine in the Sharon Hospital community for nearly 23 years. Over that period, I have witnessed, firsthand, dramatic changes in America’s healthcare system.

When I arrived at Sharon Hospital in 1999, we had a very busy intensive care unit. This was one of the reasons I chose to relocate to this community. I enjoyed working in critical care, especially in procedural medicine. Although I was never board certified in critical care, I spent much of my residency training in critical care units and as chief resident I spent three months as ICU attending physician at Jacobi Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. I felt capable of caring for critically ill patients at Sharon Hospital with the support of our local teams.

Over the years, however, standards of care have changed and now it is most appropriate for critically ill patients to be cared for by board certified critical care physicians. In addition, the physical facilities required to care for critically ill patients have evolved and these standards have changed as well. Our hospital is well equipped to care for most ill medical and surgical patients, and even some critically ill patients. For those patients requiring a higher level of intensive care, we will continue, as we have, to transfer those patients to the most appropriate healthcare facility.

We used this approach successfully during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Nuvance Health’s hospitals shared resources and moved patients around the system to facilities that could best serve them. We selected Danbury Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center to cohort severe COVID patients requiring highly specialized care. In exchange, other system hospitals, including Sharon Hospital, received non-COVID patients, COVID patients of lower acuity and, unfortunately, those not expected to survive who received compassionate end-of-life care.

Sharon Hospital’s proposed PCU will allow us to maintain our current level of clinical services, with increased coordination and efficiency. Maintaining all patients on a single unit will increase synergy, which will benefit patient care and reduce practitioner burnout as we continue facing a national exodus of professionals from the healthcare system.   We expect this change will boost recruitment and retention of competitive positions. The unit will also be modern and well-equipped, allowing us to better utilize space and resources to offer advanced progressive care services, including short-term mechanical ventilation and continuous cardiac monitoring while also maintaining our ability to stabilize and transfer patients needing more advanced care.

The proposed PCU at Sharon Hospital is one example demonstrating how we can adapt to the changing healthcare landscape, while remaining strong in serving our community. This consolidation will help Sharon Hospital maintain its strength and grow as a vibrant community hospital. I urge the community to continue visiting www.nuvancehealth.org/sharonhospitaltransformation for accurate, up-to-date information regarding Sharon’s Hospital transformation.

Mark J. Marshall, DO, MA, FACP, FHM

Vice President of Medical
Affairs, Sharon Hospital

Sharon

 

Millerton meeting with sheriff appreciated

On Tuesday, March 29, the Millerton Village Board hosted a public presentation by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. As the Board considers shifting from managing a part-time police force to contracting the Sheriff’s office for police services, it was important for me to be informed on the matter, and I am glad I attended.

I was impressed with the presentation given by Acting Sheriff Kirk Imperati. In addition to an overview of everything they do, he spoke about how they work with the communities where they have similar contracts, the department’s high standards of training, the accountability of a separate department to investigate complaints against the Office or its Deputies and their focus on community relations — there are a number of Sheriff’s Deputies that are our neighbors in Millerton and North East. They’d even put a new Sheriff’s substation in at Village Hall.

For me, the most compelling argument for such change might be understanding details of liability. Currently the Village is solely liable for any actions by the police, from an accident that’s an officer’s fault to excessive use of force — that’s all on the Village, the Village’s insurance and ultimately, the Village’s taxpayers. And there are currently three such lawsuits pending against the Village!

If the changes were made to contracting the Sheriff’s Office for policing services, all that liability would shift to the county, and no longer be the sole responsibility of the Village.

I want to extend my thanks to the Village Board, and especially our Mayor, who have clearly worked hard to create solutions to make responsible policing sustainable, while assuring that we wouldn’t see a reduction in valuable emergency coverage and protection.

Ed Stillman

Millerton

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