South Florida Hospital News
Wednesday June 3, 2020
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June 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 12

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Broward Health recently announced the 2020-2021 appointments of hospital chiefs of staff. 

Sunil Kumar, M.D., was appointed chief of staff at Broward Health Medical Center. Dr. Kumar is the medical director of the hospital’s intensivist program and specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He served as the chief medical information officer from 2013-2017.
 
Broward Health North has re-appointed Gary Lehr, M.D., its chief of staff. He was first appointed to this role in May 2019 and also served as chief of staff from 2005-2007. Dr. Lehr is board certified in general surgery.
 
Israel Penate, M.D., is a board certified internist and will continue as Broward Health Coral Springs’ chief of staff. Dr. Penate has been instrumental in the launch of the hospital’s new catheterization lab. He is also a past chair of medicine for the hospital.
 
William Jensen, D.O., will continue in his role as chief of staff at Broward Health Imperial Point. He has been in the position since 2018. He previously was chief of staff from 2006 to 2010. Dr. Jensen is a board certified osteopathic family medicine physician.
 
 
 

Orthopedic surgeon Roy Cardoso, M.D., FACS, has joined Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. Dr. Cardoso specializes in conditions of the hand and upper extremity. His clinical interests include surgery of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. He is particularly interested in complex elbow reconstruction and peripheral nerve injury, including the brachial plexus.

Dr. Cardoso was an assistant professor of hand and upper extremity surgery at the University of Miami for three years. There, he helped train residents and fellows. He has lectured nationally and internationally on a variety of topics, including brachial plexus, wrist and elbow injuries. Dr. Cardoso has also participated in many volunteer medical trips overseas.
 
Dr. Cardoso earned his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of California Davis in Sacramento. He completed his fellowship in hand and upper extremity surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and surgery of the hand.

In an effort to continue delivering world-class care to patients during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Clinic Florida has received approval to begin clinical trials for a variety of new treatments to help COVID-19-positive patients.

One of the most promising treatments is convalescent plasma therapy, which collects antibody rich plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to use for patients currently struggling with the virus. Cleveland Clinic Florida recently received expanded access to use this therapy for those admitted with moderate to severe COVID-19 disease.
 
One problem facing South Florida is lack of plasma donors. However, since implementing drive-thru testing in mid-March, Cleveland Clinic Florida sites have been gathering information on patients who are interested in plasma donations and currently has a list of 160 willing participants.
 
The convalescent plasma collection will be collected by OneBlood, an independent not-for-profit blood bank serving Florida. Plasma donations from Cleveland Clinic Florida patients could potentially benefit COVID-19 patients across the entire state. Cleveland Clinic Florida continues to refer willing recovered donors who meet criteria to OneBlood daily.
 
“Our objective throughout the COVID-19 outbreak has been to provide the best possible care for patients, which includes developing innovative treatments for the virus,” said Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic Florida. “We are fortunate to have a team of experts who can help advance treatment options that will benefit patients now and in the future.”
To donate plasma, patients must be symptom free for 14 days and test negative for COVID-19.
 
Hospitalized patients who are interested in receiving a transfusion will have to consent to the trial, and must be a blood match to a donor.

To meet the challenge of ensuring adequate healthy food supplies for the vulnerable senior population in South Florida, whose needs have greatly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Conviva Care Centers have stepped up to provide a donation of $750,000 to support Feeding South Florida. Conviva announced that the company is donating $2 million to food banks in Florida and Texas.

Through its financial support of Feeding South Florida, Conviva will ensure that more seniors in the community they serve will have access to nutritious options and can avoid the negative impacts of food insecurity. This support continues Conviva’s long-standing relationships with local food banks, to help their patients through programs both in and out of their centers.
 
“We applaud all of the hard work and dedication Feeding South Florida’s incredible team is putting forward during a time when supplying access to healthy food is so critical,” said Kevin Meriwether, President of Conviva Care Solutions. “We’re honored to do what we can to show our support and appreciation, while also continuing to help treat our patients and the community. Our relationship with the food bank is very important to us, and we’re proud to call them our partners.”
 
“We are grateful to Conviva for its $750,000 transformational gift toward ending hunger for older adults throughout South Florida,” said Paco Vélez, President and CEO of Feeding South Florida. “With Conviva’s support, Feeding South Florida will continue putting food on the tables of those most at-risk and in need of our assistance during this critical time.”
 
 

Boca Raton Regional Hospital received its 2,000th meal from Boca Rio Golf Club and The Barry Family Foundation. This is largest meal donation received from an individual club to the hospital staff.

Knowing the stressful demand that front line clinicians and support workers have been under since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boca Rio Golf Club and The Barry Family Foundation wanted to show their unwavering support. The decision was made to deliver 250 meals twice a week for six weeks. The first meals were delivered Wednesday, April 22, 2020 and they have continued since then. Today’s delivery brought their total to 2,000 meals served.
 
“This is such a generous initiative and is so welcomed by the staff,” explains says Mark Larkin, President of Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation. “Working long shifts, often 12 hours a piece, the nurses, physicians and technologists have little time to take for breaks. Knowing that a nice meal is coming gives them one less thing to worry about.”
 
Boca Rio Golf Club and The Barry Family Foundation have been long-time supporters of Boca Regional. In the past, they have hosted many Golf fundraisers to support patient care initiatives at the hospital. Boca Regional is very grateful for the philanthropic spirit that Boca Rio Golf Club and The Barry Family Foundation has always shown to our organization.
 
“Being able to support the hospital staff during such trying times has been a pleasure,” say Luciano Farias, General Manager of Boca Rio Golf Club. “The hospital and its clinicians plays such an important role in the health and well-being of our community, to thank them with this gift of fine food is an honor.”

RESTEM, a leading-edge biotechnology company, and Baptist Health South Florida, announced three COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are the first to successfully be treated in the U.S. with umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells under an emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Baptist Health physicians, Guenther Koehne, M.D., Ph.D., and Javier Pérez-Fernández, M.D., safely administered the new treatment to patients through intravenous infusions of RESTEM’s experimental umbilical cord lining-derived stem cells (ULSC).
 
The patients who received this treatment showed reduction of their oxygen requirement from 100% to less than 50% within days of the infusion, accompanied by significant reduction in levels of various key circulating inflammatory markers.
 
“The remarkable ability for these cells to mitigate inflammatory processes holds great promise for COVID-19 patients as well as for people with many other illnesses,” said Guenther Koehne, MD, PhD, deputy director and chief of blood & marrow transplant at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health. “These patients have improved their lung status much more quickly than patients treated with other experimental therapies,” added Dr. Koehne, who is also professor and chairperson of the Department of Translational Medicine at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) at Florida International University (FIU). Specialists at HWCOM spearheaded this collaborative effort between academia, Baptist Health and RESTEM.
 
“Our preliminary results show that therapy with these cells could be a game-changer in COVID-19,” stated Dr. Javier Perez-Fernandez, pulmonologist and director of critical care at Baptist Hospital of Miami.
 
RESTEM’s cells are grown from umbilical cord tissue by a proprietary process and reduce inflammation, thereby allowing tissue regeneration and healing to occur.
 
The RESTEM ULSC have also been cleared by the FDA for testing their healing properties in the autoimmune conditions of Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis. Patients will also be able to participate in this clinical trial both at the Miami Cancer Institute and at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In an effort to continue delivering world-class care to patients during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Clinic Florida has received approval to begin clinical trials for a variety of new treatments to help COVID-19-positive patients.

One of the most promising treatments is convalescent plasma therapy, which collects antibody rich plasma from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to use for patients currently struggling with the virus. Cleveland Clinic Florida recently received expanded access to use this therapy for those admitted with moderate to severe COVID-19 disease.
 
One problem facing South Florida is lack of plasma donors. However, since implementing drive-thru testing in mid-March, Cleveland Clinic Florida sites have been gathering information on patients who are interested in plasma donations and currently has a list of 160 willing participants.
 
The convalescent plasma collection will be collected by OneBlood, an independent not-for-profit blood bank serving Florida. Plasma donations from Cleveland Clinic Florida patients could potentially benefit COVID-19 patients across the entire state. Cleveland Clinic Florida continues to refer willing recovered donors who meet criteria to OneBlood daily.
 
“Our objective throughout the COVID-19 outbreak has been to provide the best possible care for patients, which includes developing innovative treatments for the virus,” said Wael Barsoum, M.D., CEO and President of Cleveland Clinic Florida. “We are fortunate to have a team of experts who can help advance treatment options that will benefit patients now and in the future.”
To donate plasma, patients must be symptom free for 14 days and test negative for COVID-19.
 
Hospitalized patients who are interested in receiving a transfusion will have to consent to the trial, and must be a blood match to a donor.

Holy Cross Hospital is participating in the U.S. government’s COVID-19 Expanded Access Program to collect and provide convalescent plasma to patients in need across the country.

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients contains antibodies that may help fight the virus. High-risk patients or patients in life-threatening stages battling COVID-19 may improve faster if they receive plasma from those that have recovered from the virus.
 
“We are currently enrolling patients in this study to help determine the clinical benefit of COVID-19 convalescent plasma,” said Paul Papagni, JD, Executive Director Research for Holy Cross Hospital. “The first step is identifying potential convalescent plasma recipients and communicating with the patient and family about the process. We then request the convalescent plasma which comes from a donor that has a verified diagnosis of COVID-19 and that has fully recovered. The plasma unit is then transfused at bedside and administered according to our internal procedures.”
 
The current guidelines for plasma donation were developed by the American Red Cross in collaboration with the FDA.
 
In addition to a verified COVID-19 diagnosis and full recovery, qualified donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 lbs. and be in good health, even if being treated for a chronic condition. A Red Cross representative follows up with prospective candidates to confirm eligibility.
 
For more information about the Expanded Across Program for Convalescent Plasma for the Treatment of Patients with COVID-19 protocol, visit www.uscovidplasma.org.
VITAS Healthcare and Atomic Robot, a mobile app development agency in Cincinnati, were both recognized by the Mobile User Experience Awards (MUX 2019) for their co-developed hospice app for clinicians and commitment to the mobile user experience.
 
The VITAS mobile app took top prize for best social impact. Atomic Robot, which developed the app in partnership with VITAS, was named boutique agency of the year. MUX, an organization of digital experts and firms, has sponsored the yearly awards program since 2017 to highlight the best in mobile user experience.
 
Key features of the VITAS hospice app include secure hospice referrals by photo capture of a patient’s face sheet, interactive tools for clinicians to determine hospice eligibility, user personalization by professional role, updated healthcare content, webinar opportunities and a VITAS hospice location finder.
 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their 2020 Five-Star Quality Ratings, awarding Gulf Coast Medical Center Skilled Nursing, HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center and Lee Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing with five stars. The scores reflect recent improvements undertaken by the health system to continue improving its quality of care for the Southwest Florida community.

“With nursing homes under scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s good to have this recognition from CMS. Their star rankings are a gold standard of nursing home quality and safety and we are honored to be recognized for the level of care we provide patients throughout Southwest Florida,” said Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA, Lee Health president & CEO. “Thank you to all of the doctors, advanced providers, nurses and support staff for their commitment to providing compassionate, high quality and safe care in our nursing facilities.”
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