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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Westchester Medical Center Health Network Expands Telemedicine Offerings with Launch of eNeonatology Program in Kingston

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Babies delivered at HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus in Kingston, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), can now benefit from the expertise of neonatologists at the Level IV Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) — the highest level possible — at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, also a member of WMCHealth, in Valhalla, through the health network’s new eNeonatology telemedicine program.

WMCHealth’s eNeonatology and resuscitation program — the first neonatal telemedicine offering in Ulster or Dutchess counties — enables HealthAlliance to reduce the need to transfer newborn babies to neonatal intensive care units if the level of care required can be offered at HealthAlliance with the remote support of Valhalla-based neonatologists.

“Measures taken in the first hour after birth, known as the ‘Golden Hour,’ will define a patient’s course in the first several weeks after birth. It is critical that advanced neonatal care is available immediately for neonates who require it in order to achieve the best possible outcomes,” said Edmund LaGamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine and Director of the Regional Neonatal Center at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “Our new eNeonatology program is an extra layer of support – not a replacement – for the expert doctors, midwives and other clinicians at HealthAlliance Hospital who care for babies in Kingston.”

With video telemedicine, a neonatologist at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, the Hudson Valley’s children’s hospital and the region’s acute care pediatric center, can be virtually present at the bedside, if requested, to assess the newborn and work closely with the HealthAlliance care team at the bedside. The neonatologist works remotely alongside the Kingston team, offering clinical guidance during critical steps of newborn resuscitation, post-resuscitation care and other support in the first minutes after birth to achieve the best long-term outcomes.

“About 10 percent of babies will need some assistance to start breathing after delivery, and 1 in 1,000 will need extensive resuscitation,” said Dean Bloch, MD, HealthAlliance’s Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “These high-risk situations may not occur every day at HealthAlliance, but it is really exciting that, through telemedicine, we now have this highest level of care available to every newborn right here in our local community.”

If a newborn requires more complex care, the infant would be transferred to the RNICU at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, which provides the highest level of neonatal care, including surgery, in the Hudson Valley. The newborn may also be transferred to WMCHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, which also has a neonatal intensive care unit.

Telemedicine Programs Across WMCHealth

The eNeonatology program joins WMCHealth’s existing suite of telemedicine services, providing the highest level of advanced care for patients across the Hudson Valley, including eICU, ePsychiatry, eTrauma, eStroke, STAT mobile ICU and eDermatology.

“Westchester Medical Center Health Network’s state-of-the-art telemedicine program is committed to making advanced health care accessible in and around the Hudson Valley to improve the outcomes of patients in our region,” said Corey Scurlock, MD, MBA, MedicalDirector of WMCHealth’s eHealth program. “The eNeonatology program offers an extra set of eyes available at a moment’s notice to support the expert clinical teams at the bedside in Kingston as they care for our region’s vulnerable newborns.” 


From left, Robin Stevens, MSN, RNC-OB, CDE, Director, Family Birth Place; Edmund LaGamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital; and Megan McMullan, MD, family physician at HealthAlliance.   

Edmund LaGamma, MD, Chief of Newborn Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, consults with doctors at HealthAlliance Hospital: Broadway Campus to support the treatment of a critically ill newborn using telemedicine technology.