Urologist Ruben M. Pinkhasov, MD, MPH, Joins Englewood Health

May 18, 2022 — Urologist Ruben M. Pinkhasov, MD, MPH, has joined Englewood Health. Dr. Pinkhasov has been appointed director of minimally invasive urologic surgery at Englewood Health’s Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. His main clinical interests are in urologic cancers, including those of the prostate, adrenal gland, bladder, kidney, testis, and ureters. He also treats common urological conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and urinary stone disease. Dr. Pinkhasov joins Urology of Englewood Health Physician Network and welcomes new patients to his practice, in Englewood.

”I partner with my patients in their care,” says Dr. Pinkhasov. “I am not the type of doctor who will tell you what to do. Understanding your treatment goals and what you value in life help me decide how to best get you to your goal. I believe that everyone should be offered hope, and everyone should be offered treatment.”

Dr. Pinkhasov received his MD from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University College of Medicine and an MPH from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University School of Public Health, in Brooklyn, NY. He did a urology residency, and was chief resident, at Maimonides Medical Center, in Brooklyn. He completed a urologic oncology fellowship focused on minimally invasive surgical approaches, including robotic surgery and laparoscopy for the treatment of genitourinary cancers, at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Buffalo, NY. His research focuses on nutrition and prostate cancer prevention. He is a member of the American Urological Association, the Society of Urologic Oncology, and the New York State Urological Society. In addition to English, Dr. Pinkhasov is fluent in Russian.

Englewood Health Offers Heart Failure Patients Access to an Emerging Medical Device

May 12, 2022 — Englewood Health is offering suitable patients access to a novel medical device demonstrated to improve heart failure symptoms.

The Optimizer® CCM® is a first-of-its-kind device designed to improve heart contractions, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to reach the body. The device accomplishes this by delivering cardiac contractility modulation (CCM), a kind of therapy that sends precisely-timed electrical impulses to the heart that strengthens the heartbeat.

Impulse Dynamics Optimizer medical device
Image courtesy Impulse Dynamics

The device is similar in size to a pacemaker and is implanted just under the skin of the upper chest during a minimally invasive procedure. Electrical leads are also placed in the heart’s right ventricle and, once there, deliver electrical impulses to the heart at regular intervals throughout the day and night.

The Optimizer CCM system was granted “Breakthrough Device” designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a label and expedited approval process given to emerging devices that offer significant advantages over existing alternatives or, as in the case for the Optimizer system, where there are no suitable alternatives available for a large population of patients.

“The goal of the Breakthrough Devices Program is to provide patients and health care providers with timely access to these medical devices by speeding up their development, assessment, and review while preserving the statutory standards for premarket approval,” the FDA reports.

The Optimizer CCM received this designation for its ability to cause subsequent heartbeats to be stronger and more forceful with the continued use of the device. Over time, the improvements in contraction have been shown to restore the heart to a more normal condition through a process known as reverse remodeling.

Heart failure affects an estimated 6.5 million Americans and nearly 64 million people worldwide. Patients with heart failure can experience symptoms that make everyday activities challenging, including breathlessness, fatigue, confusion, and swelling of the legs.

In clinical trials, the Optimizer CCM has demonstrated its capacity to enhance the quality of life for heart failure patients who no longer respond to medications meant to manage their symptoms.

“We welcome the opportunity to expand the options available to our cardiac patients and feel confident that the Optimizer CCM system will improve the lives of those who qualify for its use,” said David Y. Feigenblum, MD, medical director of the Implantable Defibrillator Center at Englewood Health.

Englewood Health Named One of the Best Hospitals in the U.S. for Maternity Care

May 12, 2022 — Englewood Health has been named one of the best hospitals in the U.S. for maternity care by Newsweek’s 2022 Best Maternity Hospitals list.

“We are honored to be named one of the best hospitals for maternity care in the U.S.,” says Valerie M. French, MBA, BSN, RNC, senior director of nursing for maternal/child health at Englewood Health. “This award reflects the dedication of our clinical staff to providing the highest quality, personalized care for women before and throughout the labor and delivery experience.”

This mark of distinction was presented by Newsweek and consumer data company Statista Inc., following a rigorous vetting process in which three data sources were evaluated.

Those sources are:

  • A nationwide online survey: 10,000 medical professionals with knowledge of maternity care processes—including midwives, neonatal specialists, and OB/GYNs—were asked to recommend leading maternity hospitals.
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): publicly sourced KPIs relevant to maternity care, including those relating to cesarean births, elective deliveries, and perinatal care.
  • Patient satisfaction surveys: hospital patient surveys on topics like cleanliness, communication, staff responsiveness, and care transitions.

Englewood Health delivers nearly 3,000 babies annually. At Englewood Health’s Karen and Gary Singer Family Family Birth Place, moms and babies receive expert care and attention, as well as a full spectrum of services including prenatal care, high-risk testing and monitoring, childbirth education, and post-pregnancy resources and support.

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists and neonatologists are available on-site to care for high-risk mothers and newborns and provide timely, high-quality care in a modern neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

For more information about the rankings and methodology of Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals list, visit: newsweek.com/rankings/americas-best-maternity-hospitals-2022.

Englewood Health Nationally Recognized with an ‘A’ Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade — Its 18th Since 2012

May 10, 2022 — Englewood Health received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for spring 2022. This national distinction recognizes Englewood Health’s achievements in patient safety and marks the 18th A rating for Englewood Health since 2012.

“We are honored to receive an ‘A’ rating from the Leapfrog Group again,” says Kathleen Kaminsky, MS, RN, NE-BC, senior vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer at Englewood Health. “This mark of distinction reflects the commitment of our entire health care team to prioritizing patient safety.”

“We’re proud to see our team’s dedication to ensuring the best possible patient outcomes once again reflected in Leapfrog’s ‘A’ designation for this rating period,” says Jamie Ketas, vice president for quality at Englewood Health.

“I thank the workforce and leadership of Englewood Health for sustained commitment to patient safety, day in and day out,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “An ‘A’ Safety Grade is an outstanding achievement, and one that is not possible without a 24/7 effort by the entire health care workforce to protect patients from harm. This community should be proud.”

To see Englewood Health’s full grade details and to access patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit HospitalSafetyGrade.org.

Weed Pollen Season Predicted to be Worse This Year — Here’s How to Stay Ahead of Allergy Symptoms

AccuWeather’s 2022 allergy forecast predicts the early phases of allergy season in New Jersey will be “average” when compared to previous years. However, the later phase of the season—also called weed season—is predicted to bring higher-than-normal levels of pollen.

If your seasonal allergies have already begun to flare up, you have tree season to thank—the first phase of allergy season that begins in March and is characterized by an uptick in tree pollen. By the middle of May, grass season takes the reins, followed by the final wave of the year: weed season.

Weed season begins in mid-August and lasts until the first frost. During this time, the pollen-packed ragweed plant is the main culprit of classic allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy throat, and irritated eyes.

This year, New Jersey is predicted to see a worse-than-usual weed season.

“In fact, weed pollen will dominate the entire East Coast as an increase in moisture and temperature creates a favorable environment for weeds to thrive,” AccuWeather reports.

Though daily pollen counts will largely be determined by local weather conditions, an overall increase in ragweed pollen is something allergy sufferers across New Jersey will want to prepare for.

Daily Prevention

“As many people with allergies already know, the best treatment is often prevention,” said Niya H. Wanich, MD, an allergist and immunologist at Englewood Health. “If you have a routine that’s worked for you in the past—like the use of a daily antihistamine like Zyrtec or Claritin—consider beginning that regimen before symptoms arise.”

Protect Your Home

Protecting your indoor environment is also key. Keeping windows and doors closed; regularly cleaning washable fabrics like bedsheets, blankets, and curtains; and vacuuming and dusting often will help keep your home free of seasonal irritants.

Showering and changing your clothes when you enter the home, as well as keeping your shoes apart from your living space, will prevent tracking pollen inside; and the use of an indoor air purifier with a HEPA filter can reduce pollen floating in the air.

Prepare for the Outdoors

Dr. Wanich also recommends checking your local pollen forecast before planning outdoor activities. Mornings are typically high-pollen times, as are dry and windy days. The best time to be outside is after a rainstorm, as rain cleanses pollen from the air and washes it off cars, roads, and structures.

If you do find yourself amongst nature on a high-pollen day, wearing a mask can reduce the amount of pollen you breathe into your nose and throat.

“Remember that even with the best of efforts, it’s impossible to avoid pollen entirely,” said Dr. Wanich. “If you become irritated, the use of a saline nasal rinse to wash away pollen particles in your nose can be a huge relief.”

When using nasal spray, it’s important that the water be distilled or sterile—both of which can be bought in most stores. If you prefer to use water from your own home, make sure to boil it and let it cool before using it, so as not to transfer harmful bacteria into your nasal passages.

Consult an Expert

“If your allergy symptoms are still bothersome, consider consulting an allergist. There are so many options available that can provide relief from seasonal allergies—it’s just about finding the right course of treatment for you,” said Dr. Wanich.

Posted April 29, 2022

For a Urinary Tract Infection, A Trip to Urgent Care May Offer Relief

It’s 2 p.m. on a Sunday. After a big glass of water, you make your way to the bathroom. Once there, you’re struck by an all-too familiar feeling: a burning sensation when you pee followed by the dreaded ‘still-need-to-pee’ feeling after your bladder has emptied.

You know this feeling to indicate the arrival of a urinary tract infection and that only a swift course of antibiotics can help you now. To complicate matters, your gynecologist won’t be open until Monday, and you can’t know for sure how long you’ll wait for an appointment once they do open their doors.

Most women can recall a time in their lives—much like this one—when they needed quick attention for a health issue but could not see their regular doctors in a timely fashion. As we know, pregnancy, vaginal infections, pelvic pain, morning sickness, and menopause flareups wait for no woman.

When symptoms do arise outside of our doctor’s regular hours, many of us find ourselves in emergency rooms being treated for distinctly non-life-threatening illnesses.

Luckily, there is a third option other than your regular doctors and the emergency room. It’s a place that you’re probably forgetting to utilize when you need it most: urgent care.

“Urgent care offers a wide array of women’s health services, from pregnancy and STI testing, to the diagnosis and treatment of UTIs, vaginal infections and abdominal pain,” said Jacqueline R. Ysique, MD, a family medicine specialist at Englewood Health Urgent Care.

Urgent care centers specialize in the treatment of non-emergent illnesses and injuries—ones that require speedy intervention all the same. Though most urgent cares do not have a gynecologist or obstetrician on site, they do employ highly skilled, board-certified physicians, who are capable of diagnosing and treating all manner of health issues.

If need be, urgent care can share your test results with your current doctor or refer you to a new doctor or specialist, as well as assist you in scheduling an appointment that same day.

Englewood Health Urgent Care has the added benefit of being open late nights and weekends—the times when your normal doctors are probably closed. They welcome walk-in appointments and—most importantly—have an on-site provider who can provide diagnosis, treatment, or referral to a specialist.

Dr. Ysique is one such physician. She sees patients at four Englewood Health Urgent Care locations in Fair Lawn, Englewood, Cresskill, and Jersey City.

“If you’re ever wondering whether an ailment you’re experiencing can be treated at urgent care, it’s as simple as giving the office a call and asking,” Dr. Ysique said. “You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the range of health issues we’re able to help you with here.”

Posted April 28, 2022

Englewood Health Opens Urgent Care Center in Fair Lawn with Extended Weekday and Weekend Hours

New Facility is One of Four Englewood Health Urgent Care Centers Located Across Northern NJ

April 11, 2022 — Englewood Health has opened an urgent care center in Fair Lawn, located at 22-18 Broadway. Englewood Health Urgent Care at Fair Lawn provides adult and pediatric urgent and non-urgent medical care seven days a week, with extended weekday and weekend hours available.

The new facility is one of four Englewood Health urgent care centers where patients with minor injuries and illnesses can conveniently access diagnostic services and treatment with no appointment needed, as well as referrals to other Englewood Health specialists.

“With locations across northern New Jersey, our urgent care centers round out Englewood Health’s capacity to care for our communities,” said Warren Geller, president and CEO of Englewood Health. “We offer physician office visits, emergency medicine, hospital care, rehabilitation, urgent care, and home visits.”

He adds, “With the addition of our urgent care location in Fair Lawn, we strengthen our ability to provide quality care for every member of the family, at every stage of life.”

At Englewood Health Urgent Care at Fair Lawn, healthcare providers care for patients with non-emergent illnesses and injuries; pre-employment, school, and camp physicals; lab tests; and X-rays.

“We are committed to ensuring that our patients have access to quality urgent care in their local communities,” said Stephen Brunnquell, MD, president of the Englewood Health Physician Network. “In addition to benefitting our patients, urgent care is an important resource for physicians, who can direct their patients to urgent care when health services are needed outside of normal practice hours.”

He adds, “Urgent care does not replace your regular physician appointments. It fits in, when needed, as one part of an accessible, convenient, and comprehensive network of medical care options.”

Urgent Care in Fair Lawn is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Englewood Health accepts most insurance plans. The latest information is posted at englewoodhealth.org/urgent.

Patients can also call Englewood Health Urgent Care at 201-222-1234 with questions.

In addition to Urgent Care at Fair Lawn, Englewood Health has urgent care facilities in Cresskill, Englewood, and Jersey City. Walk-in appointments for primary care needs are also available at Englewood Health Physician Network Primary Care of Cliffside Park.

Englewood Health Named a Top Hospital in New Jersey

April 6, 2022 — Englewood Health has been named a top hospital in New Jersey by Jersey’s Best magazine.

This mark of distinction was awarded following a rigorous vetting process in which Jersey’s Best—in partnership with healthcare research companies Castle Connolly and IPRO—performed analytics on patients’ post-discharge evaluations and a nation-wide physician survey. The investigative outfit then ranked hospitals based on their ability to treat specific medical conditions and provide high-quality care across the board.

Englewood Health was named a top hospital overall, as well as a top hospital for the treatment of high-risk pregnancy and childbirth; prostate cancer; breast cancer; knee and hip replacement; stroke; congestive heart failure; neurological disorders; coronary artery bypass surgery; and pain management.

Patient evaluations for Englewood Health elicited high overall satisfaction rates, as well as special mentions of doctors’ excellent communication with patients and their families.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the top hospitals in New Jersey,” said Warren Geller, president and CEO of Englewood Health. “This reiterates what we know to be true: that we have highly-skilled, compassionate, and dedicated healthcare professionals here at Englewood Health.”

For the complete list and more information about the rankings and methodology, visit: Jersey’s Best Hospitals List.

Englewood Health Takes a Novel Approach to Sanitizing Surfaces and the Air

March 31, 2022 — Englewood Health’s urgent care centers, physician offices and hospital lounge areas have been equipped with a powerful new sanitation tool. The MistShield is a device that mounts to any wall and emits a wide mist into rooms, killing 99 percent of airborne bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that can lead to COVID-19.

The mist contains hypochlorous acid, a non-toxic, salt-water-based disinfectant that the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized as effective in fighting emerging pathogens. Hypochlorous acid is naturally created by the human body when white blood cells fight off infections. Outside of the body, it is commonly used to clean wounds and promote skin healing. It’s also found in common sanitization products like Lysol and Scrubbing Bubbles.

The MistShield uses smart aerosol technology to distill hypochlorous acid into droplets so fine that they purify the air as they float through it. When these droplets meet their inevitable end on hard surfaces and furniture, they disinfect those areas as well—all without leaving a single damp spot in their wake. The mounted console is automated to release the mist at intervals designed to optimize sanitization based on factors like time of day and average foot traffic.

“We are very sensitive to the high-touch areas and, of course, the most visible areas of the hospital,” said Peter Lucey, the director of environmental services at Englewood Health.

Englewood Health has long used innovative approaches to sanitation, but expressly so since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of the MistShield in Englewood Health’s locations is an additional step toward raising standards of cleanliness in all public spaces, but especially those inside healthcare settings, where patients often seek care for viral illnesses.

“It takes only one person that is carrying a virus to infect many other people whenever they are within close proximity or in a confined environment,” said Avi Soffer, CEO of MistShield. “So, within a working environment like a hospital, office, manufacturing facilities, gym, or even shopping and retail environments, there must be a preset, constant disinfection program in place.”

How Carolina Dealt with a Diagnosis of Colon Cancer in Her 30s

Carolina Saenz

After being diagnosed with colon cancer in her 30s, Carolina Saenz reflects on an early sign she missed.

In her late 30s, Carolina Saenz was not on a look out for signs of colon cancer. That’s why when she began seeing small amounts of blood in her stool, she didn’t immediately seek out medical attention.

“I thought this was a disease that only affected people in their 70s and 80s. No one prepared me for the possibility that a young person could have colon cancer,” Carolina said.

It took a sudden burst of pain in her stomach and a trip to Englewood Health’s Emergency Department for Carolina to have her first colonoscopy. When the results came back, it was confirmed: she had a tumor in her colon roughly 7 centimeters in size.

“There are around 106,000 patients diagnosed with colon cancer each year and, recently, we’re seeing a shift towards an early onset of colon cancer,” said Minaxi P. Jhawer, MD, chief of hematology/oncology at Englewood Health and the associate medical director of the Lefcourt Family Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center. She is also the doctor who would go on to treat Carolina’s cancer.

According to Dr. Jhawer, the best thing young people can do is pay attention to their bodies and see a doctor if something seems off. “It’s good for all of us to remember that we have methods to screen patients before they ever have symptoms and, if colon cancer is identified in an early stage, it’s curable almost 80 to 90 percent of the time,” Dr. Jhawer said.

When Carolina was diagnosed with colon cancer, she recalls her first thoughts being not about herself, but about how she could possibly break the news to her son, who was just turning 10-years-old at the time.

“I never used the word cancer with him. I told him that mommy has bad cells, and that the chemotherapy is going to kill those cells so that mommy can get better,” Carolina said.

It would take surgery to remove 14 centimeters of her colon and 12 rounds of chemotherapy administered over the course of a year, but Carolina did eventually get better. And when she did, she began to reflect on the acts of kindness she’d received during what she describes as one of the darkest years of her life.

“They treat you so well. The ladies in the infusion center brought me blankets, water, and juice. They connected me to my favorite TV shows—whatever I needed,” Carolina said. “Chemotherapy days can be long days. If you wanted to craft a bracelet with beads, if you wanted to color mandalas with crayon, if you wanted to pet an emotional support dog, they would make it happen for you.”

Of Dr. Jhawer, Carolina recalls her focus on Carolina and her son’s future after treatment being a source of great comfort. “She was always looking forward, talking about my next birthday, my next cat scan,” Carolina said. “She’s there for you. She’ll explain something to you again and again. She’ll give you a comfort that will carry you through the toughest times.”

Today, Carolina has passed an important personal milestone: she’s been cancer free for over five years. Her son, now 15 years of age, has a more mature understanding of what his mom went through all those years ago and it’s one of the reasons he helps his school raise money for St. Jude’s each year.

“Having cancer and being a cancer survivor is a roller coaster. I’m aware of my body in a way I wasn’t before. I’m watchful for anything abnormal, anything different,” Carolina said. “All I can say is that I take this thing one day at a time, but I am so thankful to be alive right now.

Posted March 30, 2022