Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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June 26th, 2009

Teitelbaum changes face of Sullivan County Health Care

Hal Teitelbaum can walk around Sullivan County with his head held high.

What Teitelbaum has done to improve the quality of healthcare in Sullivan County is both notable and honorable.

Several years ago the managing partner and CEO of Crystal Run Healthcare was in a bitter feud with Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and its former CEO Art Brien over the running of the hospital. Things were bad back then. Patient care was at an all time low, and the hospital was losing state accreditation as well as being in a financial mess.

Teitelbaum was vindicated in his accusations, and in June 2007 formed an affiliation with Crystal Run, CRMC, Orange Regional Medical Center (ORMC), to enhance healthcare in the region as part of the Greater Hudson Valley Health System.

The list of medical professionals who are now affiliated with the CRMC is impressive, as is several areas of the hospital’s expansion thanks to Crystal Run doctors.

The hospital shut down its infectious disease unit and other outpatient clinical services last year because federal funding for poverty level clinics were directed elsewhere

CRMC instead concentrated on different forms of growth. The medical facility is now in the black showing a $2 million profit for 2008.

Teitelbaum said he believed the changes at CRMC, including the new administration and new Board, have led to vast improvements in the quality of care and operations at the hospital.

Teitelbaum told me, “Our role that of Catskill and Crystal Run is first and foremost to improve the quality of life of those we serve. By providing more and higher quality services in our community, both in our offices and at the hospital, we are able to make quality health care more accessible to our community.”

In addition to bringing new highly qualified physicians to the area and doing more inpatient and procedural work at Catskill, Crystal Run physicians have been staffing the Cardiology Clinic at CRMC and recently began staffing the Oncology Clinic as well. This allows patients who prefer or need to utilize CRMC outpatient facilities to do so and still benefit from access to high quality Crystal Run physicians.

Crystal Run has also been able to provide physician services to CRMC clinics at a significant cost savings to the hospital compared to their prior arrangements for clinic services.

Teitelbaum pointed to Scott Batulis and the Board of ORMC for its backing of CRMC, as well as Assemblywoman Aileen Gunter and State Senator John Bonacic. He also said Alan Gerry’s support of the hospital was instrumental in moving it forward.

CRMC CEO Steve Ruwoldt said the hospital has a very good working relationship with Crystal Run. The medical group now has over 100 physicians associated with them. “They offer many medical specialties that we either did not have or were in short supply.”

Commenting on the medical facility’s financial position, Ruwoldt said, “It is very rewarding that we have turned the hospital around. Patient volume increased 14% in 2008 and remains strong this year. We are continuously striving to improve services and quality it is gratifying that our efforts are starting to bear fruit.”

The hospital’s preparation for the summer surge started months ago. “We looked at where our bottlenecks were in regard to patient flow and developed plans to address them.”

In the Emergency Room additional staff has been scheduled to accommodate increased volume. A patient liaison has been added to facilitate communication, and hours have been extended in physical therapy, laboratory and radiology.

Teitelbaum said they will continue to look for ways to partner with CRMC to identify community needs and create joint ventures and partnerships to improve health care in Sullivan County.

It is rewarding to see all the positive changes. Thank you Hal Teitelbaum and Steve Ruwoldt for all you are doing.

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