Raritan Bay Medical Center

On Her Game

College athlete is stronger today, thanks to the team at the Human Motion Institute at Raritan Bay Medical Center.

In 2012, a recurring shoulder injury compounded by a serious car accident almost cut short the promising basketball future of 16-year-old Jackie Rodriguez, a point guard at Sayreville War Memorial High School. Jackie’s parents, Shirley and Elliott, had serious concerns about the care their daughter needed and whether surgery was worth the risk. “It wasn’t as simple as just not playing basketball anymore,” recalls Shirley. “Basketball is Jackie’s life. She’s been playing since she was 5 years old, when her dad started coaching her. Jackie had her sights set on a college basketball career. These injuries were devastating to our whole family.”

The Best Care, Close to Home
Fortunately, Shirley was referred to Raritan Bay Medical Center’s Human Motion Institute for Jackie’s care. The institute provides a comprehensive program for the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions in children and adults. The Human Motion Institute’s talented team of medical professionals includes board certified physicians and surgeons, physiatrists, a nurse navigator, nurses, and licensed physical and occupational therapists. The team uses advanced treatments to create an individualized plan of care for each patient.

After Jackie underwent nearly a year of physical therapy, Michael Lu, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon fellowship trained in shoulder and elbow surgery, made the diagnosis that Jackie would ultimately benefit from shoulder surgery. In August 2012, Dr. Lu performed a minimally invasive surgical procedure to repair Jackie’s labrum, the firm ring of cartilage that provides stability to the shoulder joint. “Being young and athletic, and thanks to the physical therapy to build up her shoulder before the surgery, Jackie had a recovery advantage,” says Dr. Lu.

Jackie was back on the court in December 2012. “The moment when Dr. Lu told Jackie she could play again, it was beautiful; she had tears in her eyes,” recalls Shirley.

Looking Ahead
Today, Jackie attends William Paterson University and loves playing basketball for the Pioneers. She credits her surgery and rehabilitation for making her a stronger athlete. At the start of last season, Jackie injured her knee and was benched until December. Time will tell whether her injury will require surgery.

Cristobal Beiro, M.D., another Human Motion Institute orthopedic surgeon and Dr. Lu’s practice partner, is caring for Jackie, and the physical trainers at William Paterson are working with Jackie to strengthen her knee. In August 2015, an MRI revealed two new tears in Jackie’s shoulder. She is following a plan of care developed by Dr. Lu, undergoing physical therapy and exercise to strengthen the area with hope of avoiding a possible future surgery.

“I still love to play. Basketball is my passion,” says Jackie. The criminal justice major plans to pursue a career in law enforcement, but for now, Jackie thrives on being a team player, both on the court and in working with her physicians at the Human Motion Institute at Raritan Bay.

President’s Message

Exhilarating, affirming, and transformative are a few words I would use to describe this past year. Being part of a leading health care organization has represented a sea of change for Raritan Bay Medical Center and significantly enhanced our ability to meet the health needs of our community.

With new resources and opportunities, we have worked vigorously to improve not only the quality and safety of the care we provide, but on a more personal level, the experiences of everyone who steps through our doors. We invited patients, their families and team members to participate in an advisory council, giving us the perspective we need to shape our services and facilities with the community in mind. And we added new services to ensure that all aspects of care remain focused on what’s most important: our patients and their families.

This renewed focus on improving experience goes hand in hand with our efforts to provide increased local access to surgical specialists, primary care physicians and leading-edge health care technology. After all, clinical expertise and the best available tools are vital in our goal of delivering exceptional care. As we look towards the future and the challenge to meet growing health needs we will further expand our reach, extend our expertise and continue to advance technology.

I can say the best is yet to come for Raritan Bay Medical Center. In collaboration with our physicians, Magnet®-recognized nurses, leaders, team members, volunteers, and community partners, we are dedicated to providing the best possible experience for patients and families and improving the well-being of our community.

Michael R. D’Agnes, FACHE
Raritan Bay Medical Center

Improved Access to Medical Specialists and Affordable Care

Over the past year, Raritan Bay Medical Center has recruited surgeons whose specialties were previously unavailable locally for the community, including; Endocrine, Gynecological, Robotic, Gynecologic Oncology, Colorectal, and Thoracic surgeons. Raritan Bay also added new Primary Care and Family Medicine physicians to its medical staff.

Raritan Bay is now a Tier 1 hospital for the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s (Horizon BCBSNJ) OMNIA health plan members. OMNIA Health Plan premiums are 15 to 20 percent lower than Horizon’s broad network plans and OMNIA members who receive care from Tier 1 providers, or at Tier 1 hospitals, save more through lower out-of-pocket costs. Access to expert medical specialists and affordable care has never been better for Raritan Bay Medical Center’s community.

Advanced Robotic Surgery Arrives in Old Bridge
Pictured in the Raritan Bay-Old Bridge surgical suite is the operating room team, from left, Olena Chubata, RN, CNOR; Robotic Coordinator Irene Bentley, RN, CNOR; Kateryna Fridman, BSN, RN; Surgical Scrub Technician Kenneth Motta; Dawn Pilecki, BSN, RN, CNOR, OCN; Regina Freydman, BSN, RN, CNOR; Joshua Paran BSN, RN; Frederick Sabido, M.D., FACS; Nurse Manager Sudesh Joshi-Chhibbar, DNP, RN, CNOR, CEN, and Assistant Nurse Manager Mary Cordingley, RN, CNOR.

Raritan Bay appointed board-certified general surgeon Frederick Sabido, M.D., FACS, as director of the hospital’s new Center for Robotic Surgery. The experienced surgeon of more than 20 years has performed over 400 robotic-assisted surgeries and specializes in Robotic Single Site Cholecystectomy and Robotic Abdominal Wall and Inguinal Hernia repair. Dr. Sabido’s case volume and proficiency in robotic hernia repair surgery led the American Hernia Society to invite him to participate in a large-scale collaborative quality study of the procedure, which includes clinical follow up with his patients for 15 years to monitor outcomes.

Robotic surgery far surpasses any other surgical approach, as it greatly enhances the surgeon’s ability to visualize tissue, allowing for more flexibility to make repairs in tighter spaces. This computer-assisted system also gives surgeons very precise control of movement, essential during a minimally invasive procedure. Typically, patients who receive robotic hernia repair can resume normal activities immediately since they do not need to be given narcotics as part of the procedure, with no post-operative or chronic pain or scarring.

Initially Raritan Bay is providing robotic surgery in the areas of general and urological surgery, but will soon expand offerings to include other subspecialties. The da Vinci Xi® system has a wide range of surgical applications, including: liver tumors, obesity, pancreatic tumors, kidney tumors, bladder cancer, diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, gynecologic cancers and more. The hospital’s surgical suites at Raritan Bay – Old Bridge are conveniently housed in the Medical and Surgical Pavilion, a ‘one-stop shop’ allowing patients to receive pre-operative testing and blood work, visit their physicians and have surgery in the same location.

Enhancing the Patient and Guest Experience
Concierge Care’s Debbie Cruz, left, makes sure Rebecca Casablanca of Linden, NJ, and her baby boy Jayson are comfortable during their visit to Raritan Bay – Perth Amboy’s Emergency Department.

Realizing that health care delivery is not a ‘one-way street,’ and a relationship based on collaboration between providers and patients and their families is best, Raritan Bay Medical Center leadership decided to institute the patient- and family-centered care (PFCC) model at Raritan Bay. Simply put, PFCC is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients and families. All Raritan Bay team members and physicians received training in this philosophy in 2016.

In addition to team members now considering the core concepts of PFCC – dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration – in their direct care interactions, a Patient Family Advisory Council was formed. The council of volunteer team members, leaders, former patients and their family members meets monthly to discuss an array of topics, from quality improvements and safety initiatives to policy development and facility design.

Raritan Bay joined other Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals in 2016, adding Palliative and Concierge Care to provide additional services for patients recently diagnosed with serious illness and non-clinical amenities for patients and guests, respectively. Nursing now partners with the Palliative Care team to support patients and families in navigating the medical system; making informed decisions about their care; managing physical, emotional and spiritual pain; and setting new lifestyle goals due to new physical limitations.

For special requests and patient and guest assistance outside of medical care, the Concierge Care team has proven to be a wonderful resource, whether there is a need for a new bed for a patient, surprising a patient with a card and flowers recognizing a birthday or anniversary or calling a cab and making a reservation at a local restaurant. All of these efforts will help increase not only patient, family and team member satisfaction, but also enable Raritan Bay to provide exceptional care with the needs of patients and guests at the forefront.

Renovations Bring New Life to Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge
Pictured is the newly renovated main lobby at Raritan Bay – Old Bridge.

Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge opened its Medical and Surgical Pavilion in 2015 to rave reviews from patients, team members and physicians alike. Among other accolades, visitors remarked about its modern look, cleanliness and, obviously, that it was brand-new. Raritan Bay – Old Bridge’s other buildings, the main hospital and medical arts building seemed drab by comparison to the gleaming new facility. But not anymore. Raritan Bay completed a more than $1 million renovation of the other two buildings in 2016. The main hospital’s lobby underwent a complete transformation and expansion, creating a more spacious and welcoming environment and a contemporary feel and adding a Starbucks shop. The medical arts building lobby and cafeteria were also completely renovated as well as all the building’s common areas with new floors and lighting, paint and new public bathrooms. As a result, all of Raritan Bay – Old Bridge’s facilities now have a matching, contemporary and clean look, appreciated by patients and guests, team members and medical staff. And work continues to install new televisions in all patient rooms and to enhance television and telephone services.

Leadership Team

Michael R. D’Agnes, FACHE

Thomas Shanahan, CPA
Chief Operating Officer

Michael Ciencewicki, M.D.
Vice President, Clinical Effectiveness

William Distanislao, MPA
Vice President, Operations

Micki Patrick, RN, MSN, NEA-BC
Interim Vice President, Nursing
Services/Chief Nursing Officer

James Karaman, MBA
Vice President
Physician/Business Development

Medical Staff Leadership

Gregorio J. Guillen, M.D.
Medical Staff President

Stuart M. Homer, M.D.