Baptist Health South Florida Tele-ICU receives gold-level Beacon Award from American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

CORAL GABLES, FL – October 26, 2020 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has awarded a gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence to the Baptist Health South Florida Tele-ICU for exemplary practices in patient care. Units that achieve the national three-year award with gold, silver and bronze designations meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award. Baptist Health’s Tele-ICU, staffed by critical care nurses and intensivists who specialize in the treatment of patients in intensive care units, is the only telehealth unit in the country to earn the prestigious recognition two times.

“Our team is extremely proud to once again receive the Beacon Award from the AACN,” said Lisa-Mae Williams, Ph.D., R.N., CCRN-K, director of operations, Baptist Health Telehealth Center and Tele-Critical Care & Virtual Sepsis Unit. “Achieving gold-level recognition is a reflection of our efforts and commitment to provide exceptional care through improved outcomes and interdisciplinary teamwork that addresses the complex needs of medically fragile patients.”

The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. The gold-level award signifies a team’s effective and systematic approach to policies, procedures and processes that include engagement of staff and key stakeholders; fact-based evaluation strategies for continuous process improvement; and performance measures that meet or exceed relevant benchmarks. Baptist Health’s Tele-ICU earned a gold award by meeting the following evidence-based criteria:

• Leadership Structures and Systems
• Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
• Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, and Learning and Development
• Evidence-Based Practice and Processes
• Outcome Measurement

AACN President Megan Brunson, MSN, R.N., CNL, CCRN-CSC, applauds the Baptist Health Tele-ICU caregivers for working together to meet and exceed the high standards set forth by the Beacon Award. “Receiving a Beacon Award for Excellence demonstrates a team’s commitment to providing safe, patient-centered and evidence-based care to patients and families,” she said. “Creating healthy and supportive work environments empowers nurses and other team members to make their optimal contribution.”

About Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Beacon Award for Excellence
Established in 2003, the Beacon Award for Excellence offers a road map to help guide exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater overall patient satisfaction. U.S. and Canadian units where patients receive their principal nursing care after hospital admission qualify for this excellence award. Units that receive the Beacon Award for Excellence meet criteria in six categories: leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, and learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. To learn more, visit www.aacn.org/beacon or call (800) 899-2226.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. To learn more about AACN, visit www.aacn.org, connect with the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aacnface or follow AACN on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aacnme.

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Donnalee Quarber, R.N., presented with DAISY Award at Fishermen’s Community Hospital

Marathon, FL – October 22, 2020 – Fishermen’s Community Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida, is delighted to present Donnalee Quarberg, R.N., Emergency Department nurse, with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses for demonstrating compassion and patient-centered care – traits that embody the meaning of the DAISY Award and mission of Baptist Health.

Ms. Quarberg was nominated by a coworker who observed the compassionate care she provides to all patients who come to the hospital. When a patient arrived at Fishermen’s Community Hospital in labor, Ms. Quarberg immediately provided the soon-to-be mother with the support she needed to remain focused and calm. Once the baby was born, Ms. Quarberg remained with the patient and her newborn baby, caring, coaching, teaching and providing comfort to both. Once the patient was released, Ms. Quarberg called the patient at home over the course of several days to check on the new mother and her baby and their health and wellbeing.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The nursing recognition program was launched in 1999 in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33 of an autoimmune disease. The DAISY Foundation and Award were created by his family as an expression of gratitude for the nursing care he received during his illness. The prestigious DAISY Award is presented twice a year at Fishermen’s Community Hospital, and the recipient is chosen by the hospital’s Professional Development Council.

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About Fishermen’s Community Hospital
Fishermen’s Community Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

About the DAISY Foundation
The DAISY Foundation was created in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of an autoimmune disease (hence the name, an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) Patrick received extraordinary care from his nurses, and his family felt compelled to express their profound gratitude for the compassion and skill nurses bring to patients and families every day. The DAISY Award celebrates nurses in over 3,600 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing around the world. For more information about The DAISY Award and the Foundation’s other recognition of nurses, faculty and students, visit www.DAISYfoundation.org.

 

Photo and caption available for use:

FCH Daisy Award Photo 1

 

Donnalee Quarberg, R.N., Emergency Department nurse at Fishermen’s Community Hospital, (front, second from left), is the proud recipient of the DAISY Award.

 

 




Baptist Health South Florida Receives 2020 Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Achieving and Sustaining Excellence in Patient Experience

MIAMI, FL – October 21, 2020 – Baptist Health South Florida is pleased to announce it has been named a 2020 Guardian of Excellence Award® winner by Press Ganey. The Guardian of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing health care organizations that have achieved the 95th percentile or above for performance in Patient Experience.

The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year.

Within Baptist Health South Florida, the following locations were recognized for their excellence in patient experience: Baptist Medical Plaza at Brickell, Baptist Medical Plaza at Tamiami Trail, Mariners Hospital, and Miami Cancer Institute.

“The caregivers and staff of Baptist Health South Florida touch the lives of patients and their families in profound ways,” said Patrick T. Ryan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Press Ganey. “This award reflects their deep commitment to listening to the voices of their patients and our shared mission to reduce suffering and improve the safety, quality, and experience of patient-centered care. I continue to be humbled and inspired by their heroic efforts to care for patients in the face of the uncertainty, stress, and fear brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Ganey is proud to partner with them in this noble work and we congratulate them on this tremendous achievement.”

“It is an honor to take care of our community when they need it most, and our highest priority is delivering is a high-quality and compassionate healthcare experience during every encounter with our patients and their loved ones,” said Patricia Rosello, chief executive officer of Baptist Hospital and Executive Champion for Patient Experience for Baptist Health South Florida. “This recognition from Press Ganey is important to us as we continuously to strive to set the bar higher to provide the best possible care to our patients through excellence and empathy.”

About Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Press Ganey
Press Ganey pioneered the health care performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience, and workforce engagement. The company works with more than 41,000 health care facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality, and experience of care.

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Orthopedic Surgeon Alexander D. Gaukhman, M.D., M.S., joins BocaCare | Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

BOCA RATON, FL – October 19, 2020 – Orthopedic surgeon Alexander D. Gaukhman, M.D., M.S., joins BocaCare | Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, a part of Baptist Health South Florida. Dr. Gaukhman specializes in total joint replacement surgery.

“We would like to welcome Dr. Gaukhman to BocaCare,” says orthopedic surgeon Justin M. Weatherall, M.D. “His extensive residency and fellowship training in the latest orthopedic surgery techniques will make him an excellent addition to our team.”

Dr. Gaukhman joins BocaCare from the NYU Langone Medical Center/Hospital for Joint Diseases and the Insall Scott Kelly (ISK) Institute, where he completed his adult reconstruction fellowship.

Dr. Gaukhman, a first-generation American, immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 6 and grew up in North Florida. He earned his medical degree from Florida State University College of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Boston University, known as one of New England’s busiest trauma hospitals, under the auspices of Drs. Paul Tornetta III and Thomas Einhorn.

He trained and cared for patients at Boston University Medical Center, Beth Israel Lahey Health Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital for Children and the Boston VA. During his residency, Dr. Gaukhman was nominated into the American Orthopedic Association, an honor bestowed on the top one or two residents within each program in the United States.

Following training in Boston, Dr. Gaukhman was accepted to the prestigious adult reconstructive surgery fellowship at the Insall Scott Kelly (ISK) & NYU Langone Medical Center/Hospital for Joint Disease, one of the only two orthopedic surgery specialty hospitals in the country. There, he had the opportunity to further refine his skills under some of the first pioneers in joint replacement surgery and adopt skills in robotic and computer-navigated surgery.

Although training in the Northeast provided Dr. Gaukhman with the knowledge and experience needed to provide excellent care to patients, he always knew he would return to Florida to begin his practice as a specialist in hip and knee reconstruction.

Dr. Gaukhman’s goal is to provide the highest level of care to patients with degenerative diseases of the hips and knee, including rheumatoid arthritis, developmental hip dysplasia, avascular necrosis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

He will see patients at 3313 W Hillsboro Blvd., Suite 202 in Deerfield Beach and 670 Glades Rd, Suite 300 in Boca Raton.

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Palliative Care Physician Michelle Issac, M.D., joins Miami Cancer Institute

MIAMI – October 19, 2020 – Palliative care physician Michelle Issac, M.D., joins Miami Cancer Institute, a part of Baptist Health South Florida. Dr. Issac treats patients who have serious illnesses, including conditions that are curable, chronic or life-limiting. She works with patients to improve their quality of life and reduce their pain levels.

“We are pleased that Dr. Issac has joined Miami Cancer Institute,” said Leonard Kalman, M.D., executive deputy director and chief medical officer at Miami Cancer Institute. “Her passion for patient care will make her a valuable addition to our team.”

Dr. Issac joins Miami Cancer Institute after completing a hospice and palliative care medicine fellowship at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.

Board-certified in internal medicine, she is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the Center to Advance Palliative Care.

Dr. Issac earned her medical degree from the Ross University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.

She will see patients at Miami Cancer Institute, located at 8900 North Kendall Drive in Miami.

About Baptist Health South Florida
Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Miami Cancer Institute
Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology program in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

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Boca Raton Regional Hospital First in Palm Beach County to Treat Cancer Patients with New Radixact System

Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute offers new technology to treat a wider range of cancer patients, including those currently undergoing retreatment

BOCA RATON, FL – October 13, 2020 ¬– The Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute (LCI) at Boca Raton Regional Hospital is the first institution in Palm Beach County to treat cancer patients using the Radixact® System. The Radixact System is a non-invasive treatment option developed to deliver image-guided intensity-modulated (IG-IMRT) radiation therapy, an extremely precise form of radiation therapy. The Radixact System is capable of treating virtually any radiation therapy indication, including breast, lung, prostate and head and neck cancers, in addition to complex cases such as total marrow irradiation, providing more patients with the opportunity to benefit from the fast, highly precise radiation treatments it delivers.

The system provides continuous delivery of radiation from 360 degrees around the patient, which increases the control doctors have in getting radiation where it needs to be and helps to decrease the damage to surrounding healthy tissue and organs to help improve patient outcomes. Sophisticated imaging technology is built into the way the Radixact treatment is delivered, giving physicians the ability to clearly see the shape and location of the patient’s tumor — anywhere in the body — in real time before each treatment session.

“The Lynn Cancer Institute is committed to helping South Florida area patients on their journey to gaining control over their cancer,” said Louise Morrel, M.D., medical director of LCI. “We use advanced technology to provide customized, precise treatments tailored to each patient’s needs. Our aim is to effectively control the cancer while minimizing the impact of the treatment on patients’ quality of life.”

The use of radiation as part of cancer treatment is increasing, both during initial treatment and re-treatment, so the ability to deliver the correct amount of dose precisely to the tumor will become even more important. In addition, as the cancer patient goes through the treatment process, anatomical changes such as the tumor shrinking or the patient losing weight may occur. Clinicians need to be able to quickly determine when these types of changes warrant modifying the treatment and easily create new treatment plans that enable them to accurately deliver radiation.

About Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute
The Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Cancer Institute is one of the largest cancer centers in South Florida and is accredited as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons. The Lynn Cancer Institute treats more than 4,000 patients each year in facilities such as the Harvey & Phyllis Sandler Pavilion, the state-of-the-art cancer center. While traditional cancer treatment requires patients to travel from physician to physician and manage their own scheduling, the Sandler Pavilion centralizes services in one location. This simplifies the entire process for patients, from diagnosis and treatment, to Wellness and Survivorship programs and allows patients to focus on one thing — recovery.

More than 20 oncology physicians and a full complement of oncology professionals are on staff to serve the patients at the Lynn Cancer Institute. Patients receive treatment and services from specialists in genetics, surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology and imaging. In addition, staff includes research nurses, who improve patient access to clinical trials and the most advanced forms of treatment.

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Marcus Neuroscience Institute names Khalid A. Hanafy, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Director of Neurocritical Care and Research

Boca Raton, FL – October 13, 2020 – Khalid A. Hanafy, M.D., Ph.D., has joined Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health, as medical director of neurocritical care and director of research. He specializes in the care of subarachnoid hemorrhage patients and the study of neuroinflammation. He also serves as associate professor of neurology at Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine in Boca Raton. He is board certified in neurology and neurocritical care.

Dr. Hanafy joined Marcus Neuroscience Institute from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass., where he served as the director of the neurological intensive care unit and was an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Hanafy to Marcus Neuroscience Institute,” said Frank D. Vrionis, M.D., MPH, Ph.D., Institute director and chief of neurosurgery. “His clinical skills, research acumen and leadership in the field of neurology will greatly benefit our team and our patients.”

As the Institute’s director of research, Dr. Hanafy is principal investigator of cutting-edge studies that seek to bring the most advanced, personalized treatments to subarachnoid hemorrhage patients and improve their survival rates and health outcomes. His groundbreaking work in neuroinflammation has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Academy of Neurology, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Marcus Neuroscience Institute is at the forefront of stem cell therapeutics, and Dr. Hanafy and Dr. Vrionis have already initiated clinical trials using stem cells in critically ill COVID patients. Together, they will expand research and clinical trials using stem cells for the treatment of other neurological conditions, such as stroke and brain tumors.

Dr. Hanafy has authored more than 40 articles, book chapters and invited editorials in peer-reviewed scientific publications and serves on the editorial boards of scholarly journals in his field. He is a member of several professional societies, including the American Academy of Neurology, Society for Neuroscience Research, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and Neurocritical Care Society.

Dr. Hanafy earned his medical degree and doctorate degree in molecular biology at the University of Texas Medical Scientist Training Program at Houston, a dual degree program of the University of Texas McGovern Medical School and MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He did his thesis graduate work under Dr. Ferid Murad, the 1998 Nobel laureate. He returned to these Houston facilities to complete a neurology residency following an internal medicine internship at the University of Texas Southwestern at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He concluded his medical training with a two-year fellowship in neurological critical care at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

About the Marcus Neuroscience Institute
The Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an innovative nexus for neurologic and neurosurgical care. The 57,000-square-foot facility houses a 20-bed Neuro Intensive Care and Step-Down Unit, four dedicated operating rooms — including one equipped with intraoperative MRI and two with intraoperative CT capability — and a biplane angiography suite, a crucial component in the diagnosis and care of neurological conditions. The Institute has a staff of five neurosurgeons and nine neurologists who represent some of the most respected clinicians in their fields and is affiliated with Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Groundbreaking Analysis Unveils Key Developments for Brain Metastases Patients

Results Share Improved Median Survival, Enabling Eligibility into Clinical Trials; Information Spurs Creation of Algorithm to Predict Individual Patient Survival

MIAMI  ̶  October 9, 2020  ̶  As part of a multi-institutional effort spanning three countries, Miami Cancer Institute has contributed to groundbreaking analysis revealing overall median survival for patients with brain metastases has improved over time. Moreover, the analysis identifies that certain subsets of brain metastases have substantially better survival, leading to the creation of an algorithm to estimate patient survival, individualize treatment and stratify clinical trials. Given the survival improvement and current availability of therapies that can effectively treat brain metastases, these patients should no longer be excluded from clinical trials.

Results of this analysis were recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, examining a database of 6,984 patients from 18 institutions in the United States, Canada and Japan. Among the key results is that the median survival for brain metastases patients has improved, but varies by subset: lung cancer, 7-47 months; breast cancer, 3-36 months; melanoma, 5-34 months; gastrointestinal cancer, 3-17 months; and renal cancer, 4-35 months. As such, the findings led to the evolution of an algorithm to assess a patient’s survival.

“Our report evaluates the outcomes of patients with brain metastases in the modern era, identifying variables that can predict survival for a given patient,” said Minesh Mehta, M.D., deputy director and chief of radiation oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, as well as senior author of the report. “We’ve found that there are subcategories of patients who have substantially better survival – we’re talking survival in years compared to months. No longer is it appropriate to categorize all patients with brain metastases as having just one outcome.”

Previously, the authors of the report developed and refined a Graded Prognostic Assessment (GPA), a diagnosis-specific index for patients with brain metastases. Those prognostic factors were weighted in proportion to their significance and scaled so that patients with the best or worst prognosis would have a GPA of 4.0 or 0.0, respectively. The new findings gather updated GPAs into a single report to define the eligibility quotient, which would identify patients best suited for clinical trials. These updated GPAs are now available as a free tool for clinicians to accurately estimate a patient’s survival, individualize treatment and stratify clinical trials and can be accessed at www.brainmetgpa.com.

“No longer does one need to speculate or guess to make a prediction on a brain metastases patient’s survival. Our GPA tool is extremely accurate and helpful in guiding a patient’s decision-making,” said Dr. Mehta. “It allows for a robust and accurate discussion of options between the patient and the clinician in a matter of minutes.”

In the United States alone, an estimated 300,000 patients are diagnosed each year with brain metastases. In the remote past, the average survival for brain metastases patients was poor at only about 3-6 months, and the majority of patients could not effectively be treated with most systemic therapies. It was not uncommon for these patients to be treated in a palliative manner and referred to hospice. With the advent of this new analysis, instead of excluding patients with brain metastases from clinical trials, it is recommended for enrollment to be encouraged and for the trials to be stratified to ensure appropriate comparisons are made.

“It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if we start assuming that brain metastases patients are going to have poor survival and therefore we don’t enroll them in trials with agents that could be effective for their treatment. Instead, if we recognize that these patients can have better survival and enroll them on these trials, we might in fact identify newer agents that are more effective,” said Dr. Mehta. “What’s important to recognize is that we have to stratify clinical trials because patients with brain metastases have different survival rates. We have to have different categories, which will ultimately balance the arms of clinical trials.”

For information about clinical trials currently underway at Miami Cancer Institute, please visit https://cancer.baptisthealth.net/miami-cancer-institute/clinical-trials.

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About Miami Cancer Institute
Miami Cancer Institute brings to South Florida access to personalized clinical treatments and comprehensive support services delivered with unparalleled compassion. No other cancer program in the region has the combination of cancer-fighting expertise and advanced technology—including the first proton therapy center in South Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean, and one of the only radiation oncology program in the world with each of the newest radiation therapies in one place—to diagnose and deliver precise cancer treatments that achieve the best outcomes and improve the lives of cancer patients. The Institute offers an impressive roster of established community oncologists and renowned experts, clinical researchers and genomic scientists recruited from the nation’s top cancer centers. Selected as Florida’s only member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer (MSK) Alliance, Miami Cancer Institute is part of a meaningful clinical collaboration that affords patients in South Florida access to innovative treatments and ensures that the standards of care developed by their multidisciplinary disease management teams match those at MSK.

Miami Cancer Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.




Boca Raton Regional Hospital Researchers Launch COVID-19 Clinical Trial to Investigate New Treatment for Critical Patients

Boca Raton Regional Hospital - Interior - Marcus Neuroscience InstituteBOCA RATON, FL – October 8, 2020 – Physicians at the Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital have launched and are part of a multi-institutional randomized study on the use of umbilical cord stem cells to treat patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) due to COVID-19 infection. The treatment involves an infusion of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), known for their ability to reduce inflammation and regenerate damaged lung tissue.

“We are hopeful that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells will reduce the effects of ARDS, which can be life-threatening and result in the deterioration of some patients with severe cases of COVID-19,” said principal investigator Frank Vrionis, M.D., Ph.D., Marcus Neuroscience Institute director and chief of neurosurgery at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. “It’s a unique and promising therapeutic option for an infectious disease for which we have no cure or vaccine at the moment.” Investigators from Duke University, Wake Forest and New York Medical College are among those participating in the study.

The Phase 1/2a multi-center randomized study, called “Pilot Study of Safety and Efficacy of Cord Tissue Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (hCT-MSC) in COVID-19 Related Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), will enroll 30 patients with COVID-19 and ARDS who meet specific criteria. Patients will receive the cells via IV, once a day for three consecutive days.

MSC cells derived from the umbilical cord have been used with success to treat other pulmonary conditions and illnesses. They have also been used safely on a small number of COVID-19 patients through the FDA’s compassionate use authorization.

“Our study will help provide the scientific data to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the treatment,” Dr. Vrionis said. “We are excited to be part of a promising potential coronavirus therapy.”

The trial’s co-principal investigator is Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D., director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank and co-director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University School of
Medicine/Duke Health. Ralph Palumbo, M.D., medical director of Critical Care and medical director of Respiratory Care Services at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, is a co-director of the study, as well as Khalid Hanafy, M.D., Ph.D., director of Neuro-Critical care at Marcus Neuroscience Institute.

About the Marcus Neuroscience Institute
The Marcus Neuroscience Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital is an innovative nexus for neurologic and neurosurgical care. The 57,000-square-foot facility houses a 20-bed Neuro Intensive Care and Step-Down Unit, four dedicated operating rooms — including one equipped with intraoperative MRI and two with intraoperative CT capability — and a biplane angiography suite, a crucial component in the diagnosis and care of neurological conditions. The Institute has a staff of five neurosurgeons and nine neurologists who represent some of the most respected clinicians in their fields and is affiliated with Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

About Boca Raton Regional Hospital
Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Neurosurgeon Michael E. Gomez, M.D., FAANS, joins Miami Neuroscience Institute

MIAMI – October 7, 2020 – Board-certified neurosurgeon Michael E. Gomez, M.D., FAANS, has joined Miami Neuroscience Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. Dr. Gomez specializes in spinal surgery, including minimally invasive procedures for degenerative conditions, tumors and spinal deformities.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Gomez to Miami Neuroscience Institute, where he will be the director of minimally invasive spine surgery at South Miami Hospital,” said Michael McDermott, M.D., chief medical executive of Miami Neuroscience Institute. “His experience treating a wide variety of spinal conditions using minimally invasive methods will make him a wonderful addition to our team.”

Dr. Gomez joins Miami Neuroscience Institute from Premier Brain & Spine of Florida. He is a fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and member of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society and Florida Neurosurgical Society.

Dr. Gomez earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed a neurological surgery residency at Parkland Hospital/University of Texas Southwestern. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Dr. Gomez will see patients at Miami Neuroscience Institute’s South Miami location at 6200 SW 72 Street, Suite 130, located inside South Miami Hospital’s medical arts building.

About Miami Neuroscience Institute
Miami Neuroscience Institute offers comprehensive and compassionate treatment for neurological conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. From non-surgical treatments and minimally invasive procedures to complex brain and spine surgery, the Institute embraces a multidisciplinary approach to patient care.

Miami Neuroscience Institute is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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