Patient Access Week, April 1 – 7, 2018

Today more than ever, in the face of a quickly changing health care environment, providing an exceptional patient experience is now becoming the standard of care.

This week, Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc . recognizes patient access professionals for their contribution to the healthcare access continuum by celebrating Patient Access Week, April 1 – 7, 2018.

“The first interaction patients have with the hospital most often begins with the Patient Access department, says Brooks-TLC director of Patient Access, Rose Taddio. She adds, “First impressions can set the tone for an individual’s entire hospital experience.”

Brooks and TLC look for positive representatives with a friendly demeanor when hiring. “The access team has goals centered on courtesy, communication, and helpfulness,” Taddio noted. “When people aren’t feeling well we need to be fast, accurate and, friendly. Our job is to ease their concerns in a caring and efficient manner,” she adds.

In an average day, the Patient Access department handles a variety of requests from patients, visitors, physicians, nurses and other hospital staff. Access staff schedule and greet patients upon arrival and also help coordinate patient transfers. Access department staff must also be familiar with the procedures of various insurance companies. It’s a fast-paced job that requires a keen ability to multitask.

As we celebrate National Patient Access Week, we acknowledge our special goodwill ambassadors in the Access department for setting into motion the standard of care we aspire to achieve.

Local Doctors Nationally Recognized for Excellence in Diabetes Care

NCQA_Diabetes_RecognitionGOWANDA – The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that Dr. Joel Yoviene and Dr. Ron Greco of TLC Health Networks’ Gowanda Medical Center and Forestville Primary Care Center have been recognized by the committee for providing outstanding care to their patients with diabetes.

“NCQA’s Diabetes Recognition Program honors the vanguard, professionals using the best science to help patients cope with one of modern life’s most pervasive illnesses,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “I commend TLC Health Network for providing high quality care and for going the extra mile to help people with diabetes.”

Diabetes poses a major healthcare challenge in the United States. The disease often leads to many serious complications, including kidney failure, limb amputation, blindness, heart disease, and stroke.  It’s also the nation’s seventh leading cause of death.  The CDC estimates that in 2010, 8.3% of the U.S. population was affected by diabetes—including 11.3% of people 20 years and older and 26.9% of people 65 years and older.

Unfortunately, the treatment of individuals with diabetes often falls short of the recommended guidelines.   That’s why the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) developed the Diabetes Recognition Program (DRP) in 1997.  The DRP is designed to provide physicians with tools to support the delivery and recognition of consistent, high quality care and to recognize clinicians and groups that deliver excellent care to people with diabetes.

“For a person with diabetes, the right clinician can make the difference between living with diabetes as opposed to suffering from diabetes,” said Margaret E. O’Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance. “By earning recognition, Dr. Yoviene and Dr. Greco have demonstrated that they provide effective, evidence-based care to their patients with diabetes.”

Both Dr. Yoviene and Dr. Greco are accepting new patients for primary care and assistance with diabetes management.  Those interested may call 716-532-8100 for more information or to set up an appointment.

New General Surgeon at Lake Shore Health Care Center

Davison-185x260IRVING – TLC Health Network officials are pleased to announce that general surgeon Gavin Davison, MD is now performing surgeries at Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving.  In addition to TLC Health Network, he is also on the medical staff of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Buffalo General Medical Center.

Dr. Davison specializes in a variety of surgical procedures including:

  • tracheostomy
  • percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube (PEG)
  • colonoscopy
  • EGD/upper endoscopy
  • cholecystectomy
  • appendectomy
  • small and large bowel resections including bowel cancer operations
  • inguinal hernia repair
  • wound debridement
  • soft tissue diseases (e.g. lipoma, skin lesions, cysts, hidradenitis, ganglion cyst removal)
  • hemorrhoidectomy

A resident of Orchard Park, Dr. Davison completed his undergraduate education at Portland State University in Oregon and obtained his medical degree from the Ross University School of Medicine, Portsmouth, Dominica. He completed his residency in general surgery through the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“The team at TLC Health Network is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Davison,” said Scott Butler, vice president of strategy and market development. “In the short amount of time that we have had to get to know him, Dr. Davison has shown that he has a real appreciation and affinity for smaller, rural hospitals like ours as well as a personality that makes everyone feel comfortable around him. This community is going to be very well served by having his talents available to them at Lake Shore Health Care Center.”

Patients wishing to schedule a consultation with Dr. Davison at Lake Shore Health Care Center’s medical office building are asked to call 951-7010.

Lake Shore Receives the Only 4-Star Rating in WNY

IRVING – On April 16, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced their new star ratings system and scores on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website.  The system scores hospital on a scale of one (the lowest) to five (the highest) stars by taking into considerations a variety of quality and patient satisfactions data.

While no hospital in Western New York received a five-star rating, a feat only 7 percent of the hospitals across the nation were able to accomplish, Lake Shore Health Care Center received the area’s only 4-star rating.  The Irving, NY hospital, part of TLC Health Network received the high marks despite its recent separation from its parent company and financial troubles.

“We are, of course, very proud of our record of delivering exceptional quality and patient satisfaction at TLC Health Network,” says Scott Butler, Vice President of Strategy & Market Development.  “Quality and satisfaction are two things we have always taken very seriously here and work on constantly to improve.  We have said all along that we are not going to allow our focus in those areas slip just because we are recovering from bankruptcy.  In fact, if anything, I can say that our efforts have redoubled, as it is clear to us as a small, rural hospital that we have to attempt to satisfy every single patient that comes through our doors if we want to achieve long-term success.  Fortunately, we have a great team in place working toward that goal every day.”

The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics such as:

  • How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients
  • How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs
  • How clean and quiet hospital environments were
  • How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings

Evaluating hospitals is becoming increasingly important as more insurance plans offer patients limited choices.  However, many in the hospital industry fear Medicare’s five-star scale won’t accurately reflect quality and may place too much weight on patient reviews, which are just one measurement of hospital quality.

“It’s true that the Hospital Compare ratings are not the most ideal way of evaluating the quality of a hospital,” states Butler.  “While I am encouraged by the thought that people will see our latest 4-star ranking and be prompted to test out our services as they need them, there was really no reason for people not to trust their care to us already.  We have very loyal patients who have been using our services for decades that would be quick to tell you how much they love the care they get here and how they would never choose to go anywhere else.  That means much more to us than any star rating and it should to the community as well.”

Correctional Facilities Answer “Teddy Bear 911” Call

Stuffed-Animal-Donation-web-260x152IRVING – A tragic accident on the NYS Thruway earlier this year led to two young children being brought to Lake Shore Health Care Center’s emergency department in a terrified state.  Due to the traumatic nature of the incident, two State troopers on the scene decided to bring teddy bears to the children at the hospital in the hope that it would help take their mind off from what they were going through.  Though those children escaped the accident with only minor physical injuries, they would find out that day that they had lost two of their family members in the crash.

“Seeing the positive effect the bears had on the children, Gawronski decided that the hospital should keep a supply on hand for similar situations in the future like had been done in years past.  She realized that more than 1,000 children come through the Emergency Department at Lake Shore Health Care Center each year.  Whether they are accompanying a loved one or receiving treatment themselves, a trip to the hospital can be a scary situation for many of them.  Having a supply of teddy bears on hand for the ED staff to give to children can make them feel more at ease and distract them from their surroundings.
At first, the idea was start a teddy bear drive for employees of TLC Health Network.  However, when Molly Kennedy, Supervisor of Correctional Facility Volunteer Services for the Western Wende Hub heard about the drives through an employee of TLC she was quick to offer the support of the Collins, Gowanda, and Lakeview correctional facilities.  In a matter of days, the three facilities rallied together and created a program they dubbed as “Teddy Bear 911” to support their local health system.

To maximize efforts, Kennedy pitched the idea of holding simultaneous drives at each of the facilities and making it a “friendly competition” to see who could collect the most small- to medium-sized, new stuffed animals. Monetary donations were also sought.

Together, the three facilities collected 182 stuffed animals and one book. Gowanda’s Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) donated $500 toward the cause, and the two ILC’s representing Collins Side I and Collins Side II contributed a combined total of $300. An additional $25 was collected at Lakeview from individual employees.  Monetary donations are also anticipated from the employee unions and employee committees. TLC plans to use the money to purchase special blankets to keep on hand to give to adolescents and adults as a comfort measure for those age groups as well.

As for the competition, it was an extremely close race, but the Gowanda correctional facility came out on top by a single donation in the end. Gowanda collected 65 stuffed animals, followed by Collins with 64, and Lakeview with 53.  The facilities now hope to make this an annual charitable project.

“Our staff takes great pride in helping out such a worthy cause,” stated Kennedy, “and the inmates feel so rewarded when they are able to contribute and give back to the community.  Many of our employees are local, so we were really happy to support Lake Shore in any way we can.”

During the donation presentation at Lake Shore Health Care Center, it was clear that some members of the TLC’s staff were moved by the support they were receiving from the correctional facilities.  One of the nurses actually had tears in her eyes as she expressed her gratitude to the group.

Echoing the sentiment, Scott Butler, Vice President of Strategy and Market Development added, “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and thoughtfulness of Ms. Kennedy and the Collins, Gowanda, and Lakeview correctional facilities.  Our patients mean the world to us at TLC, and being able to provide added comfort to them through these stuffed animals and blankets is a blessing.  We hope all involved are very proud of what they have done to support our health system and our community.”


Pictured in Photo (from left to right):  John Galati (TLC); Roseanne Mahoney, RN (TLC); David McKnight, RN (TLC); Amanda Gunther (Gowanda); Tom Sticht (Gowanda); Donna Northrup (Lakeview); Molly Kennedy (Collins, Gowanda, Lakeview); Dave Bobseine (Gowanda); Shannon Bobseine (TLC); Taylor Hall (Lakeview); Patti Dole, RN (TLC); Ernie Dole (Collins); Patti Zaccagnino (Collins); Shannon Gawronski, RN (TLC); Tom Flynn (Collins)

TLC Partnering with EmCare for ED Services

ED_1IRVING TLC Health Network is partnering with EmCare, Inc., a nationwide leader in hospital department management services, for the provision of emergency medicine services at Lake Shore Health Care Center.  In a multi-year arrangement that goes into effect on Feb. 15, EmCare has committed to providing physician staffing, billing, and an on-site Medical Director for Lake Shore’s Emergency Department.  EmCare will also be working in tandem with the staff at Lake Shore on all quality improvement and patient satisfaction initiatives related to that department.

“We are excited to be partnering with EmCare,” says Scott Butler, Divisional Director of Business Development at TLC Health Network.  “They are well known in the healthcare industry as a national leader in emergency department management services, and they have a tremendous track-record for improving patient experience and consistently delivering a high-standard of care while also effectively managing costs.”

EmCare, founded in 1972, currently serves over 1,000 client practices in 42 states, including many of the Top 100 hospitals in the United States.  Along with the provision of high-quality emergency services, the organization places a premium on the professional and clinical development of its Medical Directors and physicians through their EmCare Leadership Institute.  EmCare is also heavily focused on the utilization of LEAN processes to help improve patient flow, patient and public perception, and financial improvement.  The organization also partnered with Studer Group, nationally renowned healthcare consultants, to help their hospital clients achieve operational excellence.

Officials at TLC report that the decision to partner with EmCare was made after receiving proposals from several other regional and national emergency services providers. Among their reasons for the selection of EmCare over other options were the organization’s commitment to quality improvement, partnership with Studer Group, advanced reporting system, and large support network.  TLC also anticipates that the move will benefit the organization through significantly decreased costs, decreased wait times, and improved patient satisfaction.

“It was clear very early on in this process that EmCare was going to be a great fit for us, says Butler.  “The missions of both of our organizations are focused on providing high quality care in a financially sustainable manner.  Having such a powerful partner helping us achieve that goal is a major win for both TLC and the community we serve.” says Butler.

Hallasey Joins TLC Medical Staff

Hallasey_smIRVING – TLC Health Network officials have announced the addition of family medicine physician David Hallasey, MS, MD to their medical staff.  Dr. Hallasey’s main duties include providing care for patients with chemical dependency issues through Suboxone and Vivitrol treatments as well as providing general care to patients in the health system’s primary care and urgent care facilities.

Dr. Hallasey obtained his medical degree in Family Medicine from SUNY Buffalo’s School of Medicine where he completed residencies in family medicine and surgical pathology.  He worked in a private family medicine practice in Amherst, NY from 1990 to 2003 and served as associate clinical instructor at SUNY Buffalo.  From 2003 to 2005, he served as flight surgeon at Langley Air Force Base and also as an internal medicine physician at the Hampton VA Medical Center.  Since returning to Western New York Dr. Hallasey has also held positions with Lifetime Health, his own private practice in East Aurora, Niagara Falls VA Outpatient Clinic, Southgate Medical Group, and the Beacon Center.

“It’s wonderful for us to be able to have someone with Dr. Hallasey’s experience and expertise serving our community,” said Scott Butler, Divisional Director of Business Development.  “In the brief time I have worked with Dr. Hallasey, I have found him to be extremely dedicated to his patients and to the cause of helping people recover from addiction and lead healthier lives.  Both his chemical dependency and his primary care patients seem to love him, and I think he is going to do great things for both this community and our health system.”

TLC Health Network has been providing care to those with chemical dependency issues at locations including Derby and Cassadaga for years.  However, Dr. Hallasey’s arrival will mark the first time that the health system has been able to provide much needed Suboxone and Vivitrol treatments.  Suboxone is a prescription medication that can help treat heroin addiction and dependence on other opiates.  It is often used as part of program with complementary monitoring, counseling, and other client services.  In a similar manner, Vivitrol may be used in the treatment of alcohol or opioid dependence.

Chemical dependency is a serious health concern throughout Western New York.  According to local health officials, the rate of hospitalizations for drug-related reasons in Chautauqua and Erie Counties ranks significantly higher than state and national averages.  In Chautauqua County, 19.4 out of every 10,000 people are hospitalized for drug-related reasons and, in Erie County, the figure is 30.7 out of every 10,000.  In the fall of 2014, Chautauqua County was among the counties named by the White House as a federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), only one of 28 designated as such across the country.

“Addiction is something that touches the whole family and can happen anywhere,” states Wendy Luce, Divisional Director of Patient Care.  “With opiate addiction on the rise in our area, these programs will assist us in utilizing best practices to serve the affected families.”  Previously, patients had to travel out of the area for this type of treatment.  “It makes us unique and strengthens our health care network, as we position ourselves for future growth.”

Those seeking a primary care appointment with Dr. Hallasey may call Gowanda Urgent Care & Medical Center at 716-532-8100 or Forestville Primary Care Center at 716-965-9738.  For parties interested in learning more about chemical dependency services including Suboxone or Vivitrol treatments, please call TLC Health Network’s Chemical Dependency Clinics at 716-947-0316 (Derby office) or 716-595-3355 (Cassadaga office).  More information on TLC Health Network’s other services may be found at

Eichner Appointed Finance Director of TLC Health Network

IRVING – Officials at TLC Health Network are announcing the appointment of John Eichner, CPA as their new Director of Finance.  In this new role, Eichner has been tasked with the managing the overall finances of the health system and provide oversight of the Finance and Patient Accounts departments.  Eichner is a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association® (FHFMA), has more than 15 years experience in the field, and most recently served as Controller at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).

John Galati, TLC Health Network’s CEO, said he and the Administrative directors are looking forward to beginning this season of progressive achievement with the newest member of the team.  “We are very fortunate to have attracted someone of his caliber to our health system,” says Galati.  “The experience he has amassed in prior positions with other prominent organizations throughout Western New York should serve TLC well as we continue reorganizing for future growth and success.”

Prior to his most recent position at ECMC, Eichner served in several key financial posts with Olean General Hospital and Upper Allegheny Health System.  He also obtained significant professional experience on staff with Lumsden McCormick, LLP, one of the largest financial services and management firms in Western New York.  Eichner’s educational background includes a Bachelors of Science in Accounting from the State University of New York College at Fredonia and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license from New York State.  His professional activities include being a committee member of the New York Society of CPAs and a Chapter President and Yerger Award Winner for the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

TLC Health Network provides quality health care services to families across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, southern Erie County and surrounding communities.  Its facilities include Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, Gowanda Urgent Care & Medical Center and Forestville Primary Care.  For more information, visit

New Hospitalist Group at Lake Shore Health Care Center

Barnes-GroupIRVING – Officials at TLC Health Network are announcing the addition of Steven Barnes, DO (seated), Carl Roth, DO (left), and Wayra Salazar Moreno, MD (right) as hospitalists for Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, NY.  Dana Anderson, MD and James Wild, MD will also be expanding their current work with TLC Health Network to include some hospitalist duties as well.

These physicians have been tasked with providing “that critical communication link among patients, staff, medical staff and other key providers,” explained John Galati, CEO, TLC Health Network.  “As our health system continues to evolve for the future, we are pleased to announce this important agreement that we believe will significantly enhance the comfort and care we provide to our community.”

Hospitalists, for those that may not know, are physicians that deliver care in hospitals to enhance the efficiency of health care systems and improve the quality of patient care.  “At TLC Health Network, the commitment to patients is to deliver a coordinated system of services that provide a seamless transition through the levels of care required,” Mr. Galati said. “Hospitalists are the patients’ in-house advocates, caring both for those who lack primary care coverage as well as providing a crucial communication link for those who have a designated physician.”

The role of the hospitalist can extend to coordinating care while the patient is at the local facility to transferring the individual for rehabilitation services, to tertiary care hospitals, or other placement arrangements.  “Having these individuals available for the nursing staff 24/7 augments the quality of care our in-patients are receiving seven days a week.  This effort speaks to TLC’s commitment to maintaining the highest level of quality care for our patients,” he added.

For the medical providers, the arrangement provides an opportunity to continue to serve in an organization that has been part of the community for decades and demonstrates the agreement is also evidence of a commitment to Lake Shore Health Care Center.   “It’s important to provide these medical services to this community as part of its history and well into the future,” noted Dr. Barnes, a long-time practicing physician in the region.  “Being local physicians, we have an interest in trying to maintain services at Lake Shore.  Since most of our (office) patients go to Lake Shore for hospital treatment, this gives them good continuity of care … and helps link together all of the communication necessary for their treatment.  My partners and I are also excited to be part of the team that is leading this facility toward a thriving future, one where medical professionals can expect their patients to obtain excellent care in a quality setting.”

TLC Health Network provides quality health care services to families across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, southern Erie County and surrounding communities.  Its facilities include Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, Gowanda Urgent Care & Medical Center and Forestville Primary Care.  For more information, visit

TLC Making Ebola Preparations

EbolaIRVING – Visitors to facilities across the TLC Health Network system will see new signs on the exterior of public entrances, a sign of caution in light of the current Ebola threat in West Africa and the U.S. Recently, health officials at Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving conducted an “unannounced” training exercise focusing on protocols in their admissions procedures to ensure compliance by staff with the latest state and federal guidelines.

“Being in this area, people think this could never happen here, but individuals travel today for many reasons. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared for any scenario,” Ms. Cunningham said. Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding. According to information provided by federal health officials, it is spread through contact with infected body fluids (not airborne), contaminated objects such as needles, or infected animals.

Last week’s “unannounced” training was conducted at Lake Shore Health Care Center in compliance with a directive from New York State health officials giving hospitals a 10 day deadline. Without notice to the hospital’s Admissions Department staff, an individual came to the Registration Department window, complaining of illness. At that moment, she was asked the right question by the clerk: “Have you traveled out of the country recently?” From there, the process moved quickly, Ms. Cunningham said.

“We did an excellent job because the question was asked immediately,” she noted. Individuals who meet specific criteria – certain illness symptoms or time recently spent in certain locations – must be placed in a negative pressure room and staff must use appropriate gear and supplies. The negative pressure room is a specially-designed area of the facility’s Emergency Department with an air treatment process which will not allow potentially contaminated air flow to travel beyond the room.

Once the mock-patient was in the appropriate room and a nurse was assigned to the patient, Ms. Cunningham stepped in to say that a drill had been under way and reviewed all the steps that had been taken.

“We looked at the protocols, our equipment, our supplies. We’re always looking for ways to improve,” Ms. Cunningham said. “We feel that we’re meeting the current (state and federal) criteria but we can always improve upon what’s being suggested with additional training.”

According to Ms. Cunningham, officials in Irving regularly review daily updates on the state and federal levels from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Generally, the DOH reports on any possible travelers in the state and their risk categories, while the CDC issues guidelines for the proper training in the protective equipment worn by health care workers and other infection control issues.

Patricia Dole, Divisional Director of Quality for TLC Health Network, reiterated the focus on this current issue. “The state has been in regular contact with us daily with updates, guidance, and hospitals have been taking it seriously,” she noted. “We’re following the New York State updates everyday and we will meet those requirements and will make sure our staff is trained on the up-to-date information for Ebola and other health issues.”

While regulations are under review on a daily basis, the New York State Health Commissioner has ordered each facility to appoint a 24-hour “point person” to ensure that current protocols are being followed, Ms. Cunningham said. The TLC Health Network official said she felt President Obama’s creation of the “Rapid Response Team” and the decision to move Ebola patients in the U.S. to specialized treatment centers is a “positive thing.”

New signage on the entrances to Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving and TLC Health Network’s clinics in Gowanda and Forestville were “proactive” steps on the part of infection control officials, Ms. Cunningham explained. “The signs posted say “Health Advisory” and ask anyone who has traveled recently to West Africa or anyone who has been in the company of someone who has recently returned from Africa to notify our staff. We want to be as vigilant as possible,” Ms. Cunningham said.

What can the public do to help improve their chances to stay healthy? One of the simplest health practice, according to Ms. Cunningham, is still hand washing. “Use good hand washing hygiene. When you go into a store, wipe off the handle of the shopping cart. Anytime you think you will come into contact with a person or a surface, wash your hands. Don’t panic, but be aware of your surroundings.”

Anyone seeking additional information on Ebola is urged to talk to a health care provider or learn more from the DOH website at or the CDC website at

TLC Health Network provides quality health care services to families across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, southern Erie County and surrounding communities. Its facilities include Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving, Gowanda Urgent Care & Medical Center and Forestville Primary Care.