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South Nassau Receives $500,000 State Grant for Expansion of Interventional Cardiology Program

Oceanside, NY – South Nassau Communities Hospital has been awarded $500,000 in state funding to support the Hospital’s multi-phase expansion of its Interventional Cardiology Program. The funding was co-sponsored by Senators Dean G. Skelos (9th Senate District) and Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District).

“At South Nassau, we understand that teamwork is the foundation of our success and the quality of the healthcare services we provide,” said Joseph A. Quagliata, President & CEO of South Nassau. “The South Nassau team includes our local, state and federal legislators. On behalf of the South Nassau family, I thank Senators Skelos and Fuschillo for their efforts to secure this generous grant and for their continuing support of the South Nassau mission of ‘Touching Lives One Patient at a Time.’”

When work is completed, the hospital will feature a 32,000 square-foot interventional cardiology suite consisting of three cardiac catheterization laboratories, an electrophysiology laboratory, a minor procedure (implant) room, 18 preparation/ recovery spaces, decentralized nursing stations, doctor’s offices, examination rooms, family waiting areas, conference rooms and all associated support spaces. Construction on the first phase of the project, initiated in January 2007 and scheduled for completion in early 2008, will increase capacity from a single laboratory to a two-laboratory suite. A second phase of the project, to be initiated in early 2008, will encompass construction of a third cardiac catheterization laboratory, an electrophysiology laboratory and a minor procedure room.

“Heart disease is the leading health threat in this country,” said Senator Skelos. “With a first-class cardiac care facility at South Nassau Communities Hospital, local residents will have access to state-of-the-art care closer to home. I’m very pleased that Senator Fuschillo and I were able to contribute to this tremendous new community asset.”

“Ensuring access to quality healthcare services is vital to saving lives. One of the problems south shore residents faced in obtaining this type of cardiac care was that they often had to travel to the north shore or New York City to receive it. This new lab will make first class cardiac care much more accessible to our community,” said Senator Fuschillo, a member of the Senate's Health Committee.

South Nassau is one of just five hospitals in New York without an open-heart surgical program that is approved to perform elective angioplasty by the state’s Department of Health. The number of people in danger of suffering fatal or severe heart attacks due to clogged arteries is increasing daily at an epidemic rate in Nassau County and across the United Sates. According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults has some form of cardiovascular disease. The impact of cardiovascular disease grows larger as the population ages, a phenomenon that is of particular concern in Nassau County, where the percentage of individuals over 65 years of age is higher than the statewide average.

Coronary angioplasty is necessary when medications or lifestyle changes aren't enough to reduce the effects of the blockage or blockages in the arteries. The procedure widens (dilates) blocked arteries, which can help prevent further life-threatening complications. Angioplasty is usually combined with implantation of a stent in the clogged artery to help prop it open and decrease the chance of re-blockage. It is used in conjunction with coronary artery balloon dilation, balloon angioplasty and percutaneous (under the skin) coronary intervention (PCI).

On Monday, October 16, 2006, Lynbrook resident Mr. Dennis Carrecia was the first patient to have an elective coronary angioplasty at South Nassau. This marked the first time in the history of Nassau County that a hospital without an open-heart surgery program successfully completed the procedure in a non-emergency. Until that day, elective (or non-emergency) coronary angioplasty was provided only at hospitals with full cardiac surgical programs.

Elective angioplasty at South Nassau is performed by a team of interventional cardiologists, which includes Jason Freeman, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiology. In its recently released report on patient outcomes in cardiac surgery and interventions, the New York State Department of Health awarded Dr. Freeman with its highest ranking of “double asterisk” status for his success rate in angioplasty. The prestigious ranking is awarded to physicians who have achieved significantly less complications and mortality than the state average.

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