Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue announced its 1,000th robotic...

Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue announced its 1,000th robotic surgery. Chief of hospital operations Dr. Marc Adler with the da Vinci robot used for surgeries on June 14. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Long Island Community Hospital performed its 1,000th surgery with robotic assistance on Monday. The milestone shows how the last independent hospital on the Island is making strides as it integrates with NYU Langone Health, the Manhattan-based health system said. 

NYU Langone Health received approval to affiliate with LICH in early 2022, and announced around then that it would spend at least $100 million bringing the Patchogue hospital up to its standards. Since then, the hospital has doubled the volume of surgical operations and added robots that can reduce the size of incisions needed for such procedures, according to Dr. Marc Adler, senior vice president and chief of hospital operations.

NYU Langone has enhanced several other types of specialty care and technology at LICH, according to Adler. He said clinicians have improved their performance on various quality and safety measures and are working toward the goal of fully merging the organizations' operations in spring 2025.

“We are attracting and employing physicians with very specialized care,” Adler said. “The 1,000th case really reflects both the investment in procedures and technology, but also the trust we're developing with the community.”

WHAT TO KNOW

  • NYU Langone Health received approval to affiliate with LICH in early 2022.
  • Today LICH discharges about 18% more patients than it did around this time in 2021, before the affiliation began, NYU Langone said.
  • The rate at which patients acquire infections at the facility has been cut in half, according to Dr. Marc Adler.

Today LICH discharges about 18% more patients than it did around this time in 2021, before the affiliation began, NYU Langone said.

The robots — more than 4 feet high and 3 feet wide — have arms that surgeons manipulate with something akin to high-tech video game controllers, Adler said. Cameras attached to the robots give surgeons images with more than 1 million pixels that are refreshed 60 times per second, NYU Langone said. They can be used for bariatric, colorectal, gynecologic and other surgeries.

The technology allows clinicians to make smaller incisions and use more compact tools within patients' bodies. This can reduce how long procedures take, the amount of pain patients experience, recovery time and  risk of infection, Adler noted. NYU Langone has deployed two robots at LICH and plans to add a third this fall, he said.

After the merger, LICH reopened a 20-bed inpatient psychiatric unit that was closed for years, and expanded cancer care, Adler said. NYU Langone wants to have the LICH trauma center certified as a trauma II rather than a trauma III facility, which would indicate that it can provide a broader range of care, Adler said.

NYU Langone is looking beyond the hospital by investing in nearby medical practices, Adler noted. The health system bought a former department store in Patchogue, which it will transform into an outpatient surgery center, with six operating rooms and four rooms with endoscopes, which are tiny cameras used to examine the digestive tract, Adler said. 

The hospital has consistently received C grades from 2021 to this spring from Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a nonprofit organization promoting quality and transparency in the health system. It has a one-star out of five stars rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal agency overseeing public insurance programs.

Adler said the hospital has made strides on statistical outcomes that figure into these grades. Patients' average length of stay is down two days, he said. The rate at which patients acquire infections at the facility has been cut in half, and nobody has developed a urinary tract infection in relation to a catheter over the past year, according to Adler.

“This has really shown a dedication from our staff to get this right,” Adler said. 

LICH employees are using new equipment and taking advantage of more training, said Desiree Moore, president of a chapter of the New York State United Teachers union, which represents about 500 nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, lab techs and others at LICH. Employees are learning to use Epic digital medical records, which will allow LICH to see information submitted by other clinicians using Epic, including Catholic Health, according to Moore.

“Now we no longer have to rely on the patients' memory for all of those details, and it gives us a real sense of what's going on,” said Moore, a registered nurse. “That's what's makes it so revolutionary.” 

She said LICH is contending with staffing shortages — an issue Moore said  plagues the entire U.S. medical system. She hopes to discuss potential strategies in the union's first round of negotiations with NYU Langone.

“We want to become more advanced, but we don't want to lose that community connection,” she said. “It's heartwarming to see our co-workers encounter their elementary school teachers or multigenerational families that are working together.” 

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