Oct 26, 2017
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County launched today its new Heart Health Center, an integrated walk-in facility that, starting Monday, will provide heart failure patients with comprehensive services to improve heart health and maintenance in a community-based setting. Adding this multidisciplinary outpatient clinic to the array of already available cardiac services is expected to reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and emergency room visits, as well as lower costs.
“The Heart Health Center will make the patient experience simpler and more streamlined, which will lead to better treatment compliance and more consistency in follow-up visits,” said Dr. Howard Levitt, director of the Center and Chief of Cardiology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. “It will provide comprehensive care after heart failure patients leave the hospital and serve as a medical home base that keeps patients healthy and out of the hospital and emergency rooms.”
“Our new Heart Health Center is a major step in our efforts to redesign the delivery of care to our patients by increasing ambulatory care options, which will lead to a reduction in invasive treatments, ER visits, and inpatient stays,” said Ernest Baptiste, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County. “The goal is to provide comprehensive care for our patients in their community.”
“The launch of the Heart Health Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County will bring hope to many patients across Brooklyn in need of critical care,” said Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President. “I commend all the medical and support staff at the hospital who work tirelessly every single day to save lives, and help Brooklynites get back on their feet after heart failure. This community-based approach to health in the city’s first multidisciplinary outpatient facility is exactly the kind of comprehensive way of targeting specific health issues from start to finish.”
“Community health depends upon a network of neighbors, community groups, and professionals working in concert to tackle public health challenges. I welcome the new Heart Health Center at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, which promises to be an invaluable addition to our community’s network,” said New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton. “Heart disease represents a serious public health challenge, being the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. With this new Heart Health Center, we have an important ally in tackling this formidable public health challenge and keeping our community healthy.”
“I would like to congratulate NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County for this significant achievement,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. “Having a Heart Health Center with integrated services will be transformative for the residents of not only Brooklyn, but New York City as a whole. This is especially true for residents in Central Brooklyn, where there is a high disease burden including heart disease. Being able to walk-in, meet a doctor, get tested, and receive recommendations for treatment all in a timely fashion and in one day is the height of patient-centered care.”
Reflecting the interrelated health challenges that heart failure patients face, the new center will be staffed by a full-service heart health team, including cardiac specialists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, pharmacists, and social workers. Heart failure patients can walk in, meet with a doctor, be tested—same-day echocardiograms are available—and receive the doctor’s treatment recommendations based on the test results—all under one roof in one visit. (Traditionally, heart failure patients have had to navigate a three- to four-week series of appointments to get results.)
The challenges heart failure patients face often result in a significant psychological toll, which further complicates the management of the disease. “In terms of survival, treating anxiety and depression can be as important as treating the heart disease itself,” said Dr. Levitt. To identify complicating factors, all patients are given an overview assessment at the outset of their visit to the Heart Health Center. Appropriate tests and appointments with specialists are then scheduled.
While most patients will be seen by appointment, scheduling is structured to accommodate walk-in visits as well, Monday through Friday. Dr. Levitt estimates the Heart Health Center will double the number of heart failure patients seen annually as outpatients at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, currently 3,000. The number of avoidable hospitalizations is expected to decline.
“Our goal is to create an accessible care experience, including allowing our patients to get care in one place and stay with the same staff,” said Dr. Inna Bukharovich, director of Ambulatory Cardiology. “This approach improves the patient’s quality of life and increases their motivation to comply with treatment protocols, which ultimately impacts their overall health.”
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County is one of seven public health system acute care facilities to be recognized by U.S News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” for 2017-18 in Heart Failure Treatment. Of those, three hospitals, including NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, also earned “Best Hospital” for 2017-18 in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) care.