People and Services Exemplifying Excellence

Commission on Cancer Accreditation with Commendation

To be accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC), a hospital cancer program must meet or exceed 34 specific quality care standards, maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive, patient-centered care, and be surveyed every three years. Just 30 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. and Puerto Rico have accredited cancer programs. The Phelps cancer program is not only one of them, but it was recently granted another three-year Accreditation with Commendation, a distinction awarded only to facilities that exceed the standard requirements when surveyed. 

The objective of the CoC accreditation program is to help facilities improve quality of patient care by focusing on the full spectrum of cancer care, including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. 

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Patients who receive care at a CoC facility have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling and patient-centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents each patient’s care and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.   

Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Phelps maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS) and the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through this dababase and used to explore trends in cancer care and create national, regional and state benchmark reports. CoC-accredited cancer programs are able to access this information and apply it to their quality improvement efforts. 


Gold Plus Designation for 7th Straight Year

Members of the stroke team.

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Time is critical when someone has had a stroke, so in evaluating excellence in stroke care, one of the measures the American Heart/American Stroke Associations look at is the amount of time between a patient’s arrival at the hospital to the time treatment with the clot-buster tPA is administered. Phelps’ quick diagnosis and quality treatment of stroke patients not only led to its being a recipient of the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke “Gold Plus” Achievement Award for the seventh year in a row, it also earned the hospital a place on the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll.

Get With the Guidelines-Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based treatments with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. “With this award, our hospital demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that our patients receive care based on internationally respected clinical guidelines,” says Elaine Gardner, RN, BSN, CCRN, Stroke Coordinator.


Hospice Program Granted Level 3 Status by Hospice-Veteran Partnership

Important initiatives are under way to ensure that excellent, compassionate end-of-life care is available to our nation’s veterans and their families. The Hospice-Veteran Partnership (HPV) is a national program of the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative. HPVs are coalitions of the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities, community hospices, state hospice organizations and others. Each level of the HVP partnership requires the education of staff, volunteers and community agencies. Phelps Hospice, for its partnership with the Hudson Valley Hospice-Veteran Partnership has been granted level three status out of four possible levels for its efforts. Education is provided by Melissa Eisele-Kaplan, LCSW. 

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Tobe Banc, MD, Promoted to VP & Medical Director 

Tobe Banc, MD, who served as Phelps’ Assistant Medical Director since 2007, was promoted to the position of VP and Medical Director earlier this year. She is now responsible for the oversight of all clinical activities including the delivery of medical care, utilization review and quality assurance. She also oversees all patient care policies and is involved in the strategic development and implementation of programs related to clinical services.

Dr. Banc joined the Phelps medical staff in 2004 and one year later was appointed Medical Director at Kendal on Hudson, the continuing care retirement community on the Phelps campus. In 2007, Dr. Banc became a full-time employed physician at Phelps and became director of Senior Health & Internal Medicine, the geriatric, internal medicine and palliative care practice located on the hospital campus. Dr. Banc is board certified in internal medicine with a certificate of added qualification in geriatrics.   


Renata Hackert Is Robin’s Nest Director

Renata Hackert has been promoted to the position of director of Robin’s Nest, Phelps’ child care center, following the retirement of Diane Matrafailo. Renata served as assistant director for the past nine years. Prior to joining Robin’s Nest, she was assistant director and lead teacher at Happy Tots child care center for seven years when it was located in Croton-on-Hudson. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management, both from Mercy College. She also studied early childhood education for four years in her native country of Poland. 


Changes in Medical Leadership 

Otolaryngology: Craig Zalvan, MD, FACS, a laryngologist and Medical Director of the Institute for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at Phelps, has been appointed Chief of Otorhinolaryngology (also known as otolaryngology or ENT), the medical and surgical specialty concerned with conditions of the ear, nose and throat.  Board certified in otolaryngology, Dr. Zalvan is on the Phelps board of directors and is a senior member of ENT Faculty Practice. He is an associate professor at New York Medical College, a faculty member of the NYMC Phelps Family Medicine Residency Program, and an adjunct professor at Mercy College. Dr. Zalvan received his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed a residency in general surgery at New York Hospital Medical Center and one in otolaryngology at Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, followedby a fellowship in laryngology (voice, swallow and cough disorders) at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center. He is an active member of the New York Laryngological Association, the American Laryngological Association and the American Brocho-esophageal Association.


Urology: Jack Hershman, MD, FACS, has been appointed Chief of Urology. Dr. Hershman is board certified in urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He received his medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He then completed a general surgery internship and residency at Lenox Hill Hospital and a urology residency at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He also completed advanced training in urological oncology (bladder, kidney, prostate and testicular cancer) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and training in infertility and vasectomy reversal at Rockefeller University. Dr. Hershman is a clinical instructor and an assistant attending urologist at New York Medical College. He is a member of the American Urologic Association, the American Association of Clinical Urologists and the New York Urologic Association.


Dr. Robert Seebacher Receives Westchester Magazine’s Healthcare Hero Award

Mary Sernatinger with Dr. Robert Seebacher at the Healthcare Hero Awards luncheon.


Orthopedic surgeon Dr. J. Robert Seebacher was one of 10 healthcare professionals to be honored at Westchester Magazine’s third annual Healthcare Heroes luncheon in May, held at Mulino’s at Lake Isle in Eastchester. He was nominated for his work on developing an effective treatment for painful arthritic knees to help patients restore strength and flexibility so they
can avoid or postpone surgery. Since 2006, Dr. Seebacher has been offering patients his treatment, which involves pairing injections of steroid and knee lubricant every three months. More than 950 patients (1,350 knees) have been treated with his unique protocol. 

He has presented data about his treatment at American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conferences, and DuPuy Mitek, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, has provided funding to enable him to present data to the FDA. The goal is to have the FDA begin a multi-center study, which could lead to a modification of treatment guidelines consistent with Dr. Seebacher’s approach.

Mary Sernatinger, Director of Marketing/Communications, presented Dr. Seebacher at the event, saying, “Even though Dr. Seebacher has performed nearly 4,000 hip and knee replacements at Phelps, he strongly believes that surgery is not always the answer and has devoted much effort to providing effective alternatives.” 


Margaret Teixeira, center, with President & CEO Daniel Blum and Director of Surgical Services Kathleen Scherf, RN.

Margaret Teixeira Honored for 60 Years at Phelps 

At Phelps’ annual Employee Service Awards dinner held in May at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, 224 employees were honored for mile-stone years of service from 5 to 60 years. Seventeen retirees representing a total of 480 years of service were also honored. The highlight of the evening was the recognition of Margaret (Tex) Teixeira, certified operating room technician, who has been with Phelps since it opened in January 1956 over 60 years ago. Margaret joined the Phelps family as a nursery technician and then transferred to the operating room. She earned certification as an OR technician in 1973. Today, Tex is best known as the “queen of cataract surgery,” having “scrubbed” more than 1,500 surgical cases for Phelps ophthalmologist Jean Tostanoski. Tex goes the extra mile for pediatric surgical patients and their families, helping them relax with her calm and reassuring manner. She is often seen walking with the children on the third floor, giving them a special toy to distract them and alleviate their anxiety before surgery.


Bernadette Hogan Receives Hudson Valley Magazine Excellence in Nursing Award

Bernadette Hogan, RN


Bernadette Hogan, RN, nurse manager of the Telemetry Unit, was one of 20 nurses recognized at Hudson Valley Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Awards event held in Poughkeepsie at the Grandview in May. The reception welcomed 80 nominated nurses, along with their families and friends. “Bernadette portrays and embodies creative determination and inspiration,” Critical Care Nursing Director Suzanne Mateo wrote in her nomination letter. “Her charismatic personality and tenacious commitment to safe patient care is all-inspiring. She also encourages her staff to grow professionally by enhancing their credentials, which several of them have done.” The nomination applauded Bernadette’s commitment to patient safety, demonstrated by a project she undertook to standardize the cardiac code carts that provide emergency medical equipment, supplies and drugs for efforts to resuscitate a patient experiencing cardiac arrest. 

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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