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Is Mount Sinai’s Merge with Continuum a Cause for Concern?

Mount_Sinai_hospital_logo
IMG: via Mount Sinai Hospital

Earlier this month, the official merger of Mount Sinai Medical Center and Continuum Health Partners was finalized, resulting in the newly formed Mount Sinai Health System. This medical network is now the largest in New York City; Continuum’s community-oriented hospitals include Beth Israel Medical Center, Roosevelt Hospital, St. Luke’s, as well as the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, which have all merged with Mount Sinai.

Kenneth Davis, President and CEO of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, explained, “If you live in Manhattan, there will almost always be a Health System doctor within walking distance of your residence, as well as a substantial presence of our physicians and facilities in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Long Island,” in a recent statement about the impact of the merge. Now more than ever, the prestigious health services offered by Mount Sinai have the potential to be more accessible to many NYC residents.

Crain’s New York Business reports that the new system has 3,571 licensed beds, 138 operating rooms, 177,000 annual inpatient admissions, 2.6 million annual outpatient visits and about 35,000 employees. Despite its size, many are speculating that the layoff of employees is imminent, as consolidation is often a result of similar mergers. Mount Sinai Health System hasn’t released a statement yet about any layoffs, but unions are already expressing concern.

Mount Sinai is an institution that is renowned for its patient care, advanced medical services, and commitment to education and the future of medicine. The medical center has experienced immense generosity from trustees throughout its history, a list of passionate philanthropists including Ken Mehlman, Gail and Carl Icahn whose charitable donations made the Icahn School of Medicine possible, Glenn R. Dubin, Henry R. Kravis, and many, many others that have helped shape Mount Sinai into the prominent institution that it is. Many fear that the merger will effect services provided by the hospital, and displace many of the dedicated employees and trustees that have worked tirelessly to maintain Mount Sinai’s prestigious reputation.

Only time will tell if the merger will adversely impact the services provided by the newly formed Mount Sinai Health System, although its history of excellence is an indication of a strong future as a greater medical network.

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Inflatable Colon Increases Awareness of Colorectal Cancer

When it comes to medical concerns, we humans have an alarming tendency to not admit to problems that may be embarrassing. Unfortunately, those problems can sometimes be very severe, like colorectal cancer—which is the combined name for both colon and rectal cancers.

Colorectal is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States and causes about 51,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. According to the American Cancer Society, somewhere around 143,000 new cases will be diagnosed in this year alone. Those are some scary numbers. But because symptoms can be embarrassing to talk about—bloody stools, persistent stomach pain, irregular bowel movements that continue for long periods of time—too many people wait too long until going to see a doctor.

Rectal bleeding can be caused by a number of things, but number five on that list is colorectal cancer. Though there’s a good chance it is caused by something else, those experiencing it shouldn’t ignore the problem because it could be very serious.

When it comes to medical problems, we need to feel comfortable being open and honest with our doctors, and that’s where the giant inflatable colon comes in. The “Prevent Cancer Super Colon,” as it’s come to be called, is large enough for people to walk through, and indeed that’s the point. Inside are 3-D representations of Crohn’s disease, colorectal polyps and several different stages of colon cancer.

“People laugh and they’re a little bit shy and embarrassed at first, but then they dive in and share a lot,” said Cheryssa Jensen of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “I hear graphic details. They talk about everything.”

The Super Colon was set up in Times Square on Friday to kick of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s important for the public to be aware of symptoms and be able to talk about problems they may be having because early detection can be the difference between recovery and death. About 90 percent of stage 1 colon cancer patients are cured, but that number is cut drastically as cancer is allowed to progress unimpeded.

“It’s important that people stop the silence,” says Andrea Kramer, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer because she waited so long to go to the doctor. Luckily, she is a survivor. “We have a voice. We should use it.”