Issue 44
Dec ember, 2018
Welcome to Synergy
We are pleased to present the forty-fourth issue of Synergy, a monthly newsletter about the progress and processes of the Suffolk Care Collaborative (SCC).

The definition of synergy is the increased effectiveness that results when two or more entities work together. We are confident that the combined efforts of the many dedicated partners within the SCC will help the Collaborative reach its goals, leading to improved health for the residents of Suffolk County.  

About Suffolk Care Collaborative (SCC):  SCC is an alliance of healthcare providers in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, formed to support New York State's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) initiative. Under the guidance and leadership of Stony Brook Medicine, SCC established a Population Health Management Service Organization to improve county-wide health by addressing a wide range of challenges to health in order to improve outcomes by encouraging wellness, making healthcare more accessible and reducing costs by decreasing unnecessary hospital utilization.  For more information, visit our website:

In This Issue
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Treating Tobacco Dependence Training 
Cohosted by SCC and Suffolk County Department of Health Services

On December 18, 2018, the Suffolk Care Collaborative (SCC) cohosted its annual Treating Tobacco Dependence Training with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services Learn to Be Tobacco Free Program. Trainers from the Learn to Be Tobacco Free Program included Laura Giardino, Director of Community Cessation Program, Debora Rippel, Public Health Educator, Kathleen Flynn Bisson, Public Health Educator, Linda Bowman, Public Health Educator and Linda Zajicek, Public Health Educator. The all-day training was attended by a variety of providers, nurses, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors, Recovery Specialists and individuals who treat patients with tobacco dependence.

Throughout the day participants spent time understanding the aspects of nicotine dependence, new tobacco products out on the market and how tobacco use has changed over the past several decades. Participants learned about the contents of a cigarette and how smoking and tobacco use affects one's health over time. Behavior change techniques and goal setting for those working with tobacco dependent patients were discussed throughout the day. In addition, participants were exposed to the various types of pharmacotherapy for dependence treatment and how to be an educated consumer of various tobacco marketing. The day culminated in a panel presentation where special guests who had previously attended the Learn to Be Tobacco Free Support Group spoke to attendees about their experience with the program and how it impacted their lives. The Learn to Be Tobacco Free Program is a 6 week smoking cessation program where attendees receive education, support and cessation materials.

Photos taken during December 18, 2018, training

For more information regarding the Learn to Be Tobacco Free Program, please contact Laura Giardino at   For more information regarding the Suffolk Care Collaborative's Tobacco Cessation Coalition, please contact Alexandra Kranidis at .
Catholic Health Services of Long Island is Improving Care Access for Behavioral Health Patients 
Highlighted in HANYS Innovation Spotlight:  New York Hospitals are Improving Health, Enhancing Quality and Reducing Costs

Studies show that prompt psychiatric consultation during hospitalization is associated with reduced length of stay, use of hospital resources and burden on family and caregivers. However, due to the severe psychiatrist shortage, these services are a challenge to provide in a timely fashion. Catholic Health Services of Long Island addressed this challenge using telepsychiatry.

The health network first earned approval from the Office of Mental Health to implement a telepsychiatry pilot program. The pilot program began with three of the system's six hospitals during peak weekend times: 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Robust process improvement techniques were applied to implement the program. The creative use of technology connects the remote psychiatrist to behavioral health patients, providing a quicker response and access to this specialized care regardless of shift or location, with coverage spanning two counties.

The average turnaround time to complete a psychiatric consult for 341 emergency department patients was reduced by ten hours, from 12 hours to one hour and 55 minutes. A patient survey demonstrated a 97% satisfaction rate with the program (29% response rate).

"Catholic Health Services continually seeks new ways to improve patient care. Implementing a telepsychiatry program helped create better access to services for behavioral health patients. Using this technology, we were able to reduce the time patients spent in the Emergency Department (ED) by 10 hours. Additionally, ED and psychiatry staff adapted quickly to the new equipment, ensuring a smooth patient experience," said Ronald Brenner, MD, Medical Chief, Behavioral Health Service Line, Catholic Health Services.  

For more information, contact Ronald Brenner, MD, at (516) 695-7615 or
Partner Interview     
Name:  Robert Heppenheimer
Title:  CEO
Organization:  Guardianship Corp

Please tell us about your organization and the population you serve.   
Guardianship Corp is a new not for profit organization that was formed to fill the urgent need to serve as Court appointed Guardians. Courts are required to appoint someone to represent the interests of persons found to be incapable of managing their own affairs, due to mental or physical deficits, as it relates to their legal, financial, housing, health and/or other critical basic needs to live a safe and secure life. For those with no family or friends willing to serve in this capacity and have no funds or assets to pay for these services, there is no public reimbursement mechanism for these cases. Since New York State has no public guardianship program, the process of appointing private attorneys and/or social workers is challenging and dependent on pro bono work.

Who do you collaborate with to meet your strategic goals?
Guardianship Corp utilizes volunteers to visit and monitor clients (also referred to as wards).  A  small administrative staff provides the required services of reporting to the Court and visiting and representing the often frail, fragile and/or dependent citizens. We collaborate with Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) to screen, train, deploy and coordinate trained volunteers that visit, monitor and support each assigned client. Through a relationship with the Senior Law Project at Touro Law School, supervised legal interns assist with needed legal work. Additionally, Social Work and Nursing students from Stony Brook University assist with visiting and assessing clients in the field.

Guardianship Corp goals include:
  • Assisting clients towards the highest practicable level of functioning and independence possible
  • Being a resource for volunteers to function as advocates
  • Providing the County, the Court System and the citizens of Suffolk with an ethical, professional administrative service for its most vulnerable population
How do you see this initiative making an impact on Suffolk County communities?
Once appointed by the Court as Guardian for an individual, Guardianship Corp ensures the client's needs are met through a comprehensive assessment, service planning, regular visits, on-going support and required reporting to the Court.  Services include, but are not limited to, arranging for food, clothing, shelter, safety, health care and social needs, as well as managing individual's property and financial affairs.
RSVP volunteers, supported and supervised by Guardianship Corp staff, visit clients bi-weekly to assist with managing their personal, financial and/or health care affairs.  This strategy ensures that clients maintain a healthy well-being and maximum independence. 

For more information contact  Robert Heppenheimer, CEO, Guardianship Corp, Touro Law School PAC, 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip, NY 11722, 631-650-2325.
Compliance Connection
Using Clear Language to Improve Health Outcomes

An important component of treating a patient is ensuring that they understand what a provider is telling them about their health or disease and what actions they need to take to treat or manage their illness.  Engaging patients requires effective communication and a comprehensive approach to use clear language when communicating to patients and their families.  

For several useful resources that can help you and your staff  i ncrease patient understanding of health information and enhance support for patients of all health literacy levels, visit the SCC Learning Center, Partner Resource tab here.  

The National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards is an additional helpful resource.  CLAS Standards aim to improve health care quality and advance health equity by establishing a framework for organizations to serve the nation's increasingly diverse communities.  Visit their website to learn more about implementing the National CLAS Standards within your organization to help advance and sustain culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

For compliance  questions or assistance, contact SCC's Compliance Office at and visit the compliance page on our website for helpful information.
 Milestone Dates
 NYS DOH DSRIP Program Milestone Dates
January 29
DY4 first payment to PPS
January 31 PPS Year 4 Third Quarterly Report (10/1/18 - 12/31/18) due from PPS
February 11-13
Annual Statewide Learning Symposium - Saratoga Springs, NY

Frequently Asked Questions


To access NYS DSRIP FAQ, click  here.
Access previously published Synergy eNewsletters  here
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Office of Population Health
Career Opportunities
The SCC is pleased to invite qualified career seekers to apply for open positions. All job descriptions for current opportunities are posted here.

Current Job Opportunities:
  1. Community Health Associate
  For more information, please contact the Suffolk Care Collaborative via email