The VNA of WNY has once again been awarded HomeCare Elite Top 500 status from ABILITY Network and Decision Health.
The HomeCare Elite is a prestigious award in the home care industry, recognizing agencies that demonstrate a commitment to providing patient-centered care and serving as leaders in the home health community. With nearly 9,000 agencies considered, winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures. Five domains of performance were cumulatively analyzed – quality of care, quality improvement and consistency, patient experience (HHCAHPS), best practices implementation and financial performance.
The award places the VNA in the top 5% in the country and is the 12th time the VNA has been recognized since the inception of HomeCare Elite in 2006. This outstanding achievement is another testament to the great quality care and service that VNA staff provide patients each and every day.
The bariatric surgery center at Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC) has once again been re-accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
The clinic, which is being re-accredited for its fourteenth consecutive year, sees over 500 new patients each year and over 5,000 patient visits annually, making it the highest volume center in Western New York.
According to the National Institutes of Health, around 15.5 million people suffer from severe obesity in the United States, and the numbers continue to increase. Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks. Metabolic and bariatric surgical procedures have proven to be effective in the reduction of comorbid conditions related to severe obesity.
“This re-accreditation demonstrates our commitment to providing our patients with the most innovative weight loss surgery options along with focused, personalized care and comprehensive support services,” said Alan R. Posner, MD, FACS, director of bariatric surgery at Buffalo General Medical Center. “Our multidisciplinary team, including dieticians, counselors, surgeons, advanced practice providers and nurses support patients before, during, and after their procedures to maximize long-term success.”
The MBSAQIP® standards ensure that bariatric surgical patients have access to a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success. BGMC offers preoperative and postoperative care designed specifically for Western New York's severely obese patients.
To earn the MBSAQIP® designation, BGMC met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity. The center also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.
Joshua Lynch, DO, director of Emergency Medicine at DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Marilyn Meyers, RN, 3 West at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, and Francisco M. Vasquez, PhD, president and CEO of Child & Family Services and a Kaleida Health board member, were honored at the event.
JOSHUA LYNCH, DO
For two decades, nearly all patients who were brought into a Western New York emergency room after an opioid drug overdose were stabilized, given a short list of treatment clinics to call for a follow-up appointment and released. The results were predictable and, essentially, the same. A few appointments were scheduled, and the potentially fatal cycle of drug addiction continued.
That all began to change two years ago, when Joshua Lynch, DO, led his colleagues in emergency medicine on a region-wide effort to help bring together those on the front lines of the opioid crisis.
A leader in addiction medicine, he has pioneered the development of a novel statewide electronic referral network known as the MATTERS Network. Healthcare providers in 17 emergency rooms now treat those suffering from an overdose, or in withdrawal, on a short course of medication, then provide them the chance to make a guaranteed appointment – within two days – at one of 47 drug treatment clinics across the region.
A Buffalo native, Dr. Lynch began his career in emergency medicine by following in his grandfather’s footsteps as a volunteer firefighter. It was that passion for service, community, critical care and emergency services that led him to where he is today. Following his undergraduate studies at the University at Buffalo, Dr. Lynch attended the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine as part of the inaugural class at the Bradenton, Florida campus. He completed an emergency medicine residency at the University at Buffalo, where he served as chief resident his final year.
Dr. Lynch now serves on the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force along with the New York State Buprenorphine work group and is a medication assisted treatment specialist for the Erie County and New York State Departments of Health. He works tirelessly to educate first responders, the medical community and members of the public on naloxone, overdose and treatment options. In fact, he has given lectures throughout New York State and various cities across the country on these topics.
At Kaleida Health, he is the director of emergency medicine at DeGraff Memorial Hospital and is the administration’s lead liaison to the emergency services community across Western New York.
Dr. Lynch is a senior physician with UBMD Emergency Medicine where he also rotates in the Emergency Departments at Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and the Erie County Medical Center. He holds academic appointments at the University at Buffalo, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and continues his work in pre-hospital care by serving as medical director and flight physician for Mercy Flight along with several fire and police departments around Western New York.
In his “spare time,” he serves on the Board of Directors at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County along with the 100 Club of Buffalo.
Kaleida Health and its family of 13,000 are honored to award Dr. Joshua Lynch, a tremendous physician leader and emergency services champion, with the 2019 “Spirit Award.”
MARILYN MEYERS, RN
In 2018, Kaleida Health recognized its 3,000-plus nurses by naming the collective group “Spirit Award” winners, with a commitment from administration to name a new nurse each year during its annual gala.
It is fitting that Marilyn Meyers, RN, is the 2019 recipient and the first individual nurse to be given the health system’s highest award. A nurse for more than 30 years, she personifies the position and the profession. Kind and warmhearted, she takes great pride in her nursing career and is a true advocate for her patients at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
Her work during two stints at Suburban (she took time off to raise her three children) has not only been impactful but has resulted in numerous awards prior to this evening.
With this award, Meyers now has the Kaleida Health “grand slam” of recognition, having been previously named the 2019 Outstanding Staff Nurse Award at Millard Suburban, a 2015 DAISY award winner and the 2012 Employee of the Month winner at the hospital.
In a hospital environment, a patient’s outlook can be a strong indicator of how quickly he or she can physically recover. Moreover, the personality of the nursing staff and quality of care that a patient receives can heavily influence them as well. Meyers exemplifies compassion and sensitivity to all of her patients. She and her co-workers are the cornerstone of our hospitals and represent the most trusted contact for patients and their families.
One patient family member wrote to administration recently a grateful note of thanks and singled Meyers out by saying, “She has shown us over and over what a nurse should be to a patient. She not only took great excellent care of my wife, but she became a friend to her and made my wife feel hopeful in some of her darkest times.”
Meyers is a graduate of the E.J. Meyer Memorial School of Nursing and is oncology nursing certified. At Suburban Hospital, she is an active member on the Site Practice Council, Strategic Communication Team, Nurse Advisory Committee, Nursing Mentorship Program with Corporate Educators and very active with hospice and palliative care patients.
She and her husband are active with the Eggertsville Fire Department and have been awarded for their ongoing volunteer efforts, community outreach and emergency responses.
She is a mentor to new nurses, a confidant to her co-workers and a trusted patient advocate. Marilyn Meyers leads with CARE every day. We are pleased to say thank you to her by recognizing her with the 2019 “Spirit Award.”
FRANCISCO M. VASQUEZ, PhD
Thoughtful, humble and hardworking, Francisco M. Vasquez, PhD, has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of those around him. The president and CEO of Child & Family Services, he is tasked with leading one of Western New York’s oldest and most impactful human service agencies. Child & Family Services is a recognized leader in innovative programming and services for children, adults, families and businesses. Under his leadership, the organization fosters safe and healthy environments for children and families in our local homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
Active in the community, Dr. Vasquez has been on the Kaleida Health Board of Directors since 2007. Throughout his tenure on the board, the organization has evolved from a mid-sized hospital system to a $2 billion family of healthcare companies. His governance leadership has contributed to numerous major milestones including the opening of the Gates Vascular Institute, the new Oishei Children’s Hospital and, most recently, the new Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York’s headquarters, just to name a few.
Dr. Vasquez also serves as chair for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Board of Directors (chair of the Policy and Executive Committee) and is also a member of the Racial Equity Roundtable. He is a member of the John R. Oishei Foundation Board of Directors and chairs the Finance and Audit Committees there, as well.
Dr. Vasquez received his BS and MBA degrees from the University of Phoenix in Arizona. He received his PhD in Social Foundations of Education from the University at Buffalo.
He is a recipient of: the 2014 Business First Buffalo 612 C-Level Executive Award, the 2013 Community Leader Award-Social Services (National Federation for Just Communities), 2012 2nd Annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award (NFL/Hispanic Heritage Foundation), 2005 Professional Achievement Award (Hispanics United of Buffalo, Hispanic Women’s League and Latino Business Owners Association), 2005 Values Award for Inclusion (Leadership Buffalo) and the 2004 Tom Foster Business Award (Olivencia Center).
A fervent and tireless community advocate, a tremendous supporter of Kaleida Health and its 13,000 employees, we are pleased to honor Dr. Francisco Vasquez with the 2019 “Spirit Award.”