09/20/14 11:00am
09/20/2014 11:00 AM
 Alfonso Triggiani of Westhampton Beach teaching the 'Electric Slide' to joint replacement patients. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Alfonso Triggiani of Westhampton Beach teaching the ‘Electric Slide’ to joint replacement patients. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Though one day they didn’t think it would be possible, they danced the afternoon away on Friday afternoon.

Peconic Bay Medical Center hosted its 10th annual joint replacement reunion barbecue and dance, a yearly gathering of individuals who have had surgery that gives patients mobility they didn’t have at one time.

Friday’s dance at East Wind in Wading River brought close to 500 individuals who have received hip and knee replacements for dance lessons from Alfonso Triggiani, the host of TV’s “Touch Dancing,” which has been on air since 1990.

According to PBMC’s Director of Rehabilitation Paul Furbeck, 2014 has been a banner year for the hospital’s joint replacement program, with close to 1,000 operations done so far. In total, PBMC has completed around 4,000 joint replacements.

Ninety-six-year-old Betty Negro of Riverhead said she has been one of those patients. After getting her hip replaced originally 15 years ago, she had it repaired at PBMC in 2011 and said it’s been “great” since.

Betty Negro, who had her hip repaired at PBMC in 2011, with PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Betty Negro, who had her hip repaired at PBMC in 2011, with PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Close to 500 joint replacement patients showed up to the 10th annual reunion dance and barbecue on Friday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Close to 500 joint replacement patients showed up to the 10th annual reunion dance and barbecue on Friday. (Courtesy photo: Jim Lennon/PBMC )

10/10/13 3:02pm
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Students participate in a Project Fit America exercise using weighted hula hoops.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Students participate in a Project Fit America exercise using weighted hula hoops.

Students from all five of Riverhead Central School District’s elementary schools jumped and twirled on Thursday as the district started its participation in Project Fit America, an athletic – and educational – opportunity aimed at battling childhood obesity made possible through a combination of private donations and public grant funding.

Riverhead will be the first school district in the state to run the program.

Aimed at fighting childhood obesity, the program is a new addition to Pulaski Street Elementary School, Roanoke Avenue Elementary School, Riley Avenue Elementary School, Philips Avenue Elementary School and Aquebogue Elementary School – thanks to donations by PBMC Health, the Suffolk County Lions Diabetes Education Foundation, and Brickman Group landscaping and turf maintenance.

The program is used by more than 870 schools nation wide, according to the program website.

The Project Fit physical education program curriculum utilizes state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment, which is set up as a playground and designed for exercises that address the areas children commonly fail when doing a physical fitness test, according to the program website.

It also includes equipment that can be used indoors, such as three-pound hula hoops and jump ropes.

The children will learn through games, activities and challenges, “fresh ideas that will get kids excited about staying healthy,” said Bill Hedges, physical education teacher at Riley Avenue Elementary School.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said “pre- and post-test outcomes from other participating schools show a 41 percent increase in upper body strength, 19 percent increase in abdominal strength and 14 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance.

“Riverhead is absolutely thrilled to be the first school in New York State to receive this grant and to work with Project Fit America,” she said.

PBMC Health raised $60,000 in grant funding, which was matched by the Lions. Brinkman covered the cost of installing equipment at each of the five schools.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, PBMC Health president and CEO Andy Mitchell said the event was “a day that defines a community.”

“The results from other areas of the country were what influenced PBMC’s interest in this project,” he said. “This program represents our commitment to schools, children and their families along with a focus on preventative measures that we can invest in to keep our community healthy.”

While helping students show off their new equipment, Philips Avenue Elementary School principle Debra Rodgers said the financial help was what made the project possible.

“There [was] no way our building or our district would have been able to afford it without their help,” she said. “It’s going to promote teamwork, physical fitness along with nutrition and we’re hoping overall well-being.”

Fourth grade Philips Avenue student Azharia Allen, 9, said she was most excited about a climbing exercise on the new outdoor playground.

“You’ve got to jump up onto this pole, and you pull yourself up — you climb it,” she said.


09/22/13 12:00pm
09/22/2013 12:00 PM
PBMC Health CEO Andrew Mitchell, board of directors president Sherry Patterson, and foundation member Marguerite Strauss speaking at the benefit.

PBMC Health CEO Andrew Mitchell, board of directors president Sherry Patterson, and foundation member Joan Levan speaking at the benefit.

Peconic Bay Medical Center officials joined employees and community members for a night of dinner and dancing to benefit the hospital Friday.

Hospital CEO Andrew Mitchell, PBMC Health board of directors president Sherry Patterson and Marguerite Strauss, the first member of the hospital’s foundation, spoke at the event.

The night featured a silent auction with vacations, tickets to restaurants and golfing events – including 18 holes with Michael J. Fox.

09/12/13 7:00pm
09/12/2013 7:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | PBMC Health board of directors president Sherry Patterson (center) and donors Jeffrey Feil (representing the Louis and Gertrude Feil Charitable Trust) and John Kanas cutting the ribbon Thursday afternoon.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | PBMC Health board of directors president Sherry Patterson (center) and donors Jeffrey Feil (representing the Louis and Gertrude Feil Charitable Trust) and John Kanas cutting the ribbon Thursday afternoon in Manorville.

PBMC Health’s Manorville ambulatory campus is officially open to patients.

The opening was marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony led by hospital officials on Thursday.

Manorville area residents have long lacked access to nearby medical care, having had to travel to Riverhead or Stony Brook in the case of an emergency, PBMC Health officials said.

The much-anticipated center currently offers patients urgent care, primary care, urology, internal medicine and orthopedic care in one building, but the campus will ultimately grow and become a four-building comprehensive healthcare center.

“We want the community to know we are here and ready to care for them,” said Jacqueline Selva, executive director of the Riverhead Management Company.

The urgent care center is designed to handle health issues such as sprains, stitches, sore throats and broken bones, said Ms. Selva said.

It is fitted with 13 exam rooms, a radiology room with a full body x-ray machine, and two procedure rooms.

It is currently open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and once it becomes more established, officials intend to keep the urgent care center open 24 hours, she said.

The campus has been designed for “one-stop medical shop,” Ms. Selva said.

Patients can come not only for urgent care, but can have primary care physicians assume their care moving on. Should patients need a referral to a specialist, the hope is that, once the campus is finished, the patient will just have to walk a few steps away for the specialized care.

“We wanted it to be convenient,” she said. “Where patients are going to want to establish their care.”

Caregivers have already seen the model’s convenience in action, Ms. Selva said, pointing to a recent example in which an urgent care patient who came in complaining of a swelling hand.

“The person had came in with a swollen hand, we sent them down the hall for an x-ray and it turned out to be a broken hand,” Ms. Selva said. “After that the patient was referred to our orthopedist who was also down the hall.”

Many primary care and urgent care facilities are not equipped with radiology and X-ray equipment, she said.

The next building is slated to open about eight months from now, and will house a center for digestive disorders and space for general surgery.

Plans for the other buildings are currently being developed, hospital officials said.

“ [The campus] provides us with an opportunity to offer services well beyond just hospital care,” said Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of PBMC Health and Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, which falls under the PBMC Health umbrella.


“These four buildings will be dedicated to the care of this community,” Mr. Mitchell said.

The completion of the campus was made possible by a $5 million donation from The Louis Feil Charitable Lead Annuity Trust. The center has been named The Gertrude & Louis Feil Campus for Ambulatory Care, in appreciation of the Feil family’s donation.

The Trust has given philanthropic gifts to other health institutions, including South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside.

The new medical center also brings new job opportunities to the area. The center has hired five new employees to fill reception and medical assistant positions. As the patient population grows, they anticipate several other positions opening as well, Ms. Selva said.

Helene Davison, a new employee working both reception and as a medical assistant, said she has 10 years of experience in private practice, and has never worked at such a “high spirited” place.


06/27/13 3:00pm
06/27/2013 3:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Michael Hubbard and mom, Nancy Reyer, in his room at Peconic Bay Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility Thursday afternoon.

Friends, family and former teachers lined up outside Peconic Bay Medical Center Thursday afternoon, waving signs to welcome home a local teen who’d been gone far too long.

Michael Hubbard is back in Riverhead.

Michael, who will turn 17 in August, was moved from Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester County to PBMC Health’s Skilled Nursing Facility today, where he will be cared for until the opening of Brendan House, a group care facility planned for Riverhead.

“I’m excited, I really am,” said his mother, Nancy Reyer, who has been caring for Michael at the upstate facility. “It’s the next step in the journey. We’ll just take it from here. I am glad Michael can now see his friends and all the people who couldn’t travel upstate to see him before.”

Michael suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body after being burned by a gel candle that exploded in his backyard May 28, 2011. He went into cardiac arrest a week later, causing traumatic brain injury, as well as kidney failure and lung distress. Michael was originally taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center, but was moved to Blythedale that September.

Blythedale, a short-term care facility, could no longer keep Michael for the extended care he needs, his mother said. It left her looking for other facilities.

She was originally considering moving Michael to a hospital in Albany, before receiving a call from officials at PBMC Health.

“We knew the story of Michael, so we really wanted to do everything we could to get him here,” said Ronald McManus, senior vice president and administrator of the skilled nursing facility. “We knew how important it was for the family to get him home to Riverhead.”

The hospital sent two nurses, Marta Troyan and Wendy Dolan, upstate to visit Michael at Blythedale, to see if PBMC Health could accommodate him.

“They came back and they said, ‘Yes, we can.’ We will be able to take good care of him,” Mr. McManus said.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ms. Reyer said of moving back to Riverhead. “My mom will be 92 in July, and now she’ll be able to see her boy.” Michael is her youngest grandson, she said.

Ms. Reyer credited Denise Civiletti of Riverhead LOCAL for reaching out to PBMC, and bringing Michael home.

“Denise has done more for this family than I can say,” Ms. Reyer said. “This experience has shown me that family doesn’t have to be blood. She has become my sister. She will always be family.”

While covering the homecoming Thursday, Ms. Civiletti downplayed her role in getting Michael to PBMC.

“I really didn’t do anything,” Ms. Civiletti said. “I just picked up the phone and told them about it.”

PBMC President and CEO Andrew Mitchell said finding a place for Michael to receive the care he needs is in line with the goals of the hospital.

“That has been the 60-plus year mission of the hospital,” he said.“The fact that he has been away from the community two years makes it that much more special that he’s coming home.”

Michael recently underwent a skin grafting procedure and he had the stitches removed from his head and chin at Stony Brook University Medical Center Thursday morning.

Just about two weeks ago, he spoke the word “Mom,” Ms. Reyer said. She said she thinks being in Riverhead will help with Michael’s transition into Brendan House.

“Now he can see familiar faces and hear familiar voices,” she said.