Sent to local newspapers as a letter to the editor.
Thursday, March 30 is National Doctors' Day. Springville has a long tradition of physicians who have served generations of local families. Despite our location in a rural area in Western New York, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital continues to attract doctors who choose to serve the people of our community.
With family practice and internal medicine practitioners in the BCH’s Primary Care Center team and specialists for cardiology, gynecology, gastroenterology and surgery, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital remains a hub for local healthcare.
We have recruited physicians and allied health professionals like nurse practitioners and physician assistants to BCH in recent years. Last summer, Dr. Jacqueline Shanahan joined our Primary Care Center. And last October, we added a board-certified general surgeon, Gavin Davison MD, to establish the BCH Surgical Center. This spring, we are welcoming a urology specialist, Michael I. Hanzly, Jr., DO, to practice in our facility.
For this national occasion, and on behalf of BCH and JBR, we thank our doctors – past, present and future – who are keeping healthcare local for our community. And for our neighbors who rely on our hospital and our providers for their medical needs, thank you for your support.
President, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Board of Directors
CEO, Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home
On an April day in 1972, a nursing school graduate walked through the front doors of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. She sat on a wooden bench outside of then-CEO Roger Ford’s door – a bench that is still in use at the front of the hospital – waiting for an interview for a medical/surgical nurse position.
That new nurse was Darlene Tworek – soon to be Darlene Schrantz. And within six months, she would be married to her husband Fred, relocated to Springville, and started on a career in nursing at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. Little did she know that BCH was the place where she would spend the next four decades. Schrantz will complete her tenure as a full-time nursing administrator at the end of March, opening up a new chapter in her life.
But to describe the previous chapters, she and her husband Fred – a social studies teacher at Springville-Griffith Institute – grew up within blocks of each other in Dunkirk, which is where Darlene first got a look at the medical profession.
“In high school [Cardinal Mindszenty], I had a part-time job as ‘cart girl’ at Brooks Memorial Hospital, serving dinners on the floor for three hours each evening,” Schrantz explained. “I loved it – how it felt to talk to patients, and to be part of their care.”
A guidance counselor recommended that she pursue nursing education at Sisters of Charity in Buffalo, where she received her diploma in 1972. By the time she took her boards later that year, she was a full-fledged, full-time nurse at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital.
By 1980, Schrantz had moved to the Critical Care Unit, a four-bed unit for patients who needed a higher level of care. In 1985, a manager position opened in “OB,” the obstetrics floor, and Schrantz was ready for the responsibility.
“After working in the CCU for so long, I was always prepared for the worst to happen, and I brought some of that perspective to OB,” said Schrantz. “I learned so much in that unit, but I think I made incremental and meaningful changes in the OB department, too.
“With long-time nurses like Lorayne Proctor, RN, we trained nurses on intravenous [IV] starts, and made sure warmers were always ready,” she continued. “While I was there, 100 percent of our OB nurses were certified in NALS – neonatal life support – which was a great achievement for our small hospital.” Schrantz noted that she had many opportunities to receive training at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, and was about to bring techniques and knowledge from that larger facility to our rural one.
Barb Childs, RN worked alongside Schrantz for many years, and remarked on her intelligence, fairness and compassion. “She was always conscientious in carrying out her job,” said Childs. “When she moved from CCU [critical care unit] to OB, she was determined that she would learn everything about OB and earn the respect of the nurses in that department…and she did.” Childs added, “I’m proud to have her as a friend.”
During the hospital’s expansion in 1989, Schrantz explained how nurses were part of the building process. “The architects included us the design discussions, showing us the blueprints and asking for our opinions of what we wanted to see,” she said.
That’s just one example where Schrantz was given “a seat at the table.” She feels fortunate that there were frequent and constant opportunities for the perspective of the nursing staff to be recognized and incorporated into hospital growth. “At major decision points for the hospital, from labor negotiations to adding new services, I’ve been glad that nurses have been listened to and appreciated.”
By 1993, the children she and her husband had raised in Springville were young adults, leaving Schrantz with some free time. Schrantz made the choice to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, taking courses at the University at Buffalo from 1993-1998. “I learned about management, budgeting, writing successful proposals and how to motivate clinical staff,” she said.
Schrantz’s family and children were by her side at every stage of her career at BCH. At the start, her son Matt had the distinction of being the first Mercy Flight of WNY patient in 1981 – flown to BCH with Schrantz as the first unofficial flight nurse. Matt took a position in community outreach for Mercy Flight during college, and a newspaper clipping from the time cites how he planned to go to law school. Today, Matt is a lawyer in Albany, where he lives with his wife, Cara.
Schrantz’s daughter Susan (Susie) pursued a career in teaching, and settled in Virginia with her husband John. Susie was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, and Schrantz supported her daughter throughout her treatments and hospitalizations. She passed away from cancer in 2016, leaving behind two children, and Schrantz’s large extended family to grieve the loss. In her retirement, Schrantz will have more time to visit with her grandchildren.
“At each step of my career I’ve been given more responsibility, and everyone here has been there to help, not stand in the way.” Schrantz described the response from the community while the hospital navigated a bankruptcy filing as an example of that: “People and businesses stepped forward with raffles and spaghetti dinners, contributing hard-earned money to save their hospital.”
She continued, “I believe there is an energy in the leadership team that will keep this place working for the community…BCH has been responsive to community needs, from reducing inpatient beds to adding primary care and specialist services – we’ll be here for a long time.”
Schrantz brought her clinical and management experience to hospital expansions in 2002, for the Emergency Department, and 2010, with the renovation of the third floor to accommodate the Primary Care Center. “My last few years here have been really fun.”
After more than four decades as a nurse, Schrantz is happy to offer some words of advice to nurses and aspiring medical professionals: “Don’t ever forget to look at your patient – use all your senses, especially touch, to understand how they feel.”
Jennifer Siragusa, RN, who has stepped into the director of patient care services role that Schrantz established, had this to share. “Darlene has had a tremendous influence on my nursing career – she gave me my first nursing job in 1999.” Siragusa continued, “As a leader in the healthcare field, Darlene taught me that quality care is the number one priority for nurses and for our hospital…she continues to be an advocate for her nursing staff and is a very compassionate nurse and manager…I aspire to be as great a leader as she is.”
“I appreciated the opportunities, chances and challenges at BCH,” Schrantz said. And there’s no other job Schrantz would rather do: “I’ve grown up in this job and I’ve loved what I’ve done the entire time…If I were born 100 times, I’d always want to be a nurse.”
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and the Springville Regional Services Coalition are coordinating a workshop on opioid overdose recognition and Naloxone use on Wednesday, April 19 at the Springville Middle School at 6:30 p.m.
Presented by the Erie County Department of Health, this training gives individuals the knowledge and tools to recognize signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, properly administer naloxone and take the necessary follow-up steps.
Who can benefit from this training? The answer is, nearly everyone. The information in this workshop can help to save the life of a family member, friend, neighbor or colleague who is experiencing an overdose caused by an opiate or prescription narcotic.
Participants who successfully complete the training will receive a kit containing two doses of naloxone at no charge. This free training is open to anyone 16 years old or older. Register online by April 18 at http://bit.ly/narcan0419 or call (716) 592-2871 ext. 1485.
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has made another move to improve access to healthcare services in the greater Springville area.
The facility has recently granted provider privileges to urologist Michael I. Hanzly, Jr., D.O. Dr. Hanzly is part of the Buffalo Medical Group, where he treats general urological conditions and specializes in prostate, kidney and bladder cancers.
The Western New York native is a graduate of Canisius College and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Hanzly completed a urology residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and a two-year Society of Urologic Oncology Fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where he specialized in robotic surgery.
“Our facility continues to recruit new physician partners to enhance local medical services for our patients,” said CEO Nils Gunnersen. “Reliable access to specialty medical care is important for our community’s health and for our facility’s future.”
Dr. Hanzly is affiliated with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He will continue to see patients at his offices in Orchard Park, Williamsville and Buffalo. For an appointment or more information, please call 716-630-1050. He will be scheduling procedures at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital effective immediately.
Visits to the Bertrand Chaffee Heart Center can begin with a simple statement: “I think something could be wrong with my heart.” That phrase is answered by our providers, nurses and staff with another simple phrase: “We can help you.”
Since opening in 2012, the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Heart Center has been able to expand to meet the demands of our community. Services and capabilities include outpatient and inpatient consults, echocardiograms, all types of stress testing, pacemaker interrogation, and nuclear medicine. In 2016, the Heart Center enhanced its services by adding the Leg Pain and Vascular Center to complement its cardiac care. Leg vein ablation, an outpatient procedure for varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency, was added late last year.
Providers in our Heart Center see patients with cardiac and vascular conditions, and provide diagnosis, treatment options, and referrals for more intensive interventions, like surgery, if indicated.
“Our providers work with patients to manage their cardiac and vascular conditions and reduce the risks for serious cardiac events, like heart attacks and strokes,” said CEO Nils Gunnersen. “Access to cardiovascular care is essential for people in rural communities, particularly as they age.”
The Heart Center’s providers take care to answer patient and family questions with diligence and compassion. Cardiologists Thomas P. Smith, Jr., MD and Cyril Gunawardane, MD see patients in the Heart Center’s first floor location. Lauralee Sprague, NP, works closely with our cardiologists and specializes in heart health. They are supported by a team of nurses and patient service representatives who handle scheduling, appointments, diagnostic screenings, treatment plans and follow up care.
“Heart disease and stroke can have devastating effects, both for quality of life and length of life,” said Dr. Smith. “Our team works together with patients, their families, and their primary care providers to develop treatment plans that have the best possible outcome.” The Heart Center phone number is (716) 592-9644.
Photo from left: From left: Stacey Hatch, Lynn Miller, Kristine Miller, Judy Ott, Lauralee Sprague, NP, Tammi Kirsch, Thomas P. Smith, MD, Rachel Lis, Ashley Flanagan
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital (BCH) has announced that it has completed the purchase of the Concord Medical Group building (210 East Main Street) and associated property. This purchase is a crucial first step toward transforming our campus and increasing access to primary and specialty services.
BCH is eagerly waiting for a decision from the New York State Department of Health on a funding request through its Statewide Healthcare Facility Transformation Program application. Our $11.3 million proposed project includes funding to develop the property, create a modern and efficient medical office building, and improve access to vital healthcare services in our community.
BCH will share news about our grant application and plans to develop this property as that information becomes available.
Digital radiography equipment installed in Imaging Department
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital made a significant investment in its Imaging Department at the end of 2016. The facility remodeled one of the radiographic (“x-ray”) rooms and installed a new digital radiography (DR) machine.
This equipment represents the leading technology in an effort to lower patient dose while capturing high image quality and detail. DR images show finer detail that will help in the diagnosing of injuries and medical conditions. This new technology will assist in the treatment that patients receive from emergency medicine providers, orthopedists, surgeons, physical therapists and other specialists.
“The images we take with this machine show incredible detail,” said Lisa Smith, imaging department manager. “We can use lower doses of radiation to produce images, and they’re available immediately with no waiting.”
“Our shift to digital radiography also factored in the room design,” Smith continued. “The table helps us comply with the Safe Patient Handling Act, with the height adjusting from one-and-a-half to three feet,” Smith continued. “That makes the process of getting an x-ray much more comfortable and safer for patients.”
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital continues to make investments in its clinical technologies. “To have this available for emergency, inpatient and outpatient use means that patients do not have to travel out of the area to receive standard of care for imaging services,” said CEO Nils Gunnersen. “That’s a strong consideration, especially when a patient is dealing with pain or discomfort.”
For more information about the Imaging Department at BCH, call (716) 592-8169. The hospital also offers digital mammography, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, MRI, CT and bone density testing.
The Bertrand Chaffee Hospital lobby sees a cast of constantly changing characters. Family members sit with snacks from the coffee shop, employees pass through, and patients wait for their turn to check in with one of the most visible parts of hospital administration: the Registration Department.
The registration desk at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital is the first department many patients encounter when visiting our facility. From a steady stream of patients to constant phone calls, the BCH registration desk manages a flurry of activity from seven in the morning until seven at night.
Our mission is to investigate and solve medical script dilemmas for patients at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. No patient will get past us without paperwork.
Periods of intensity – a full waiting room, phones ringing non-stop, and patients streaming in – are punctuated by an occasional lull. And each registration visit is completely different. On a busy day, the team might register 160 people - and there are many busy days. Countless more patients and community members come in with questions and information requests. “There’s no such thing as a typical day here,” said Maryann Vanderkarr, registration department manager.
Vanderkarr heads a 10-person team that registers patients for lab work, imaging tests, emergency care, inpatient stays and surgical procedures. She has been with BCH for about four years, two of them as a manager.
As the clerks work with patients and family members, they also coordinate with provider offices, medical records, billing and insurance companies to make sure the information is up-to-date.
It takes accuracy, a strong sense of customer service, and a willingness to be flexible to be a hospital registration clerk. “We do everything we can to make our patients’ time in registration as easy, quick and painless as possible,” Vanderkarr shared.
Every family has traditions. And within the family of employees at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville, the name “Hodson” represents a strong tradition in the past, present and future of the pharmacy department.
Pharmacist Lynn Hodson came to Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in 1977 after meeting then-BCH CEO Roger Ford in Buffalo – he was her neighbor there. Her career in pharmacy up to that point had been in a wide range of settings. She trained in one of the first PharmD programs in the nation, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Hodson started her Pharmacy Residency at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. She subsequently worked on the medical teaching unit there. Then, Buffalo General Community Mental Health Clinic recruited her to the Buffalo area to work in the new Lithium clinic. There, as she put it, she “built a pharmacy department starting with just four walls.” She moved on to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center as regional director of psychiatric pharmacy in the mid-1970s. Hodson belongs to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), which has rigorous accrediting criteria for members.
With 60-hour weeks and odd hours in Buffalo, Lynn was drawn to the new challenge of establishing a pharmacy department at BCH. “The pharmacy at BCH started as a cabinet,” said Hodson. And so it began; Hodson has been a familiar name and friendly face at BCH since 1977.
After working full-time at BCH for 25 years, she took early retirement in 2002 and continued at area retail pharmacies as a consulting pharmacist for the next several years. Lynn returned in 2007 as interim director of pharmacy at then-CEO Mary Kwiatek’s request. She has remained as a consultant and pharmacist ever since.
That included stepping in during a 10-week period over the summer when BCH searched for a new pharmacy director. “We’ve had great luck having pharmacists stay here for years at a time,” said Darlene Schrantz, RN, BSN, director of patient care services. “In a rural hospital, recruiting pharmacists, providers and nursing staff takes a great deal of effort – but once they’re here, they tend to stay.”
During the search process, a familiar name rose to the top of the pile: Dr. Heather Hodson, the elder Hodson’s daughter. Her experience at BCH started when her mother brought her in as an infant while she worked. By the time Heather was in high school, she was volunteering at BCH and working as a pharmacy technician during the summer while she attended D’Youville College as a pre-med/biology major.
After graduating in 1999, Heather worked as a pharmacy tech in Williamsville and at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB). A few years later, she moved cross country to San Francisco, where she continued as a pharmacy tech in the Castro District of San Francisco. A manager there encouraged her to apply to pharmacy school for further education.
That manager did not expect what happened next. Heather took her PCATS (similar to MCATS, for pharmacy school) and ended up enrolling at a school on the East Coast: the University at Buffalo.
“No one was more surprised at that than I was,” said the elder Hodson. Heather’s familiarity and family history in the pharmacy field was a great source of strength as she worked, again, at WCHOB, on pediatrics floors while earning her doctorate of pharmacy degree.
Heather stayed with WCHOB after graduation, working as a pharmacist for nine years. She then spent a year at Mercy Hospital in a more clinical capacity, rounding with physicians, making recommendations for drug therapy, and working in a more direct role with practitioners and patients. There she gained experience with adult patients facing cardiac and geriatric conditions.
The opening in fall 2016 at BCH came at just the right time for Heather. “I was on an intense schedule at Mercy,” she explained. “The thought of being the pharmacist for a hospital that I know so well – it feels like home to me.”
At BCH, the younger Dr. Hodson now handles the daily administration of a pharmacy department that supports the hospital’s 24-bed acute care floor and emergency department. Dr. Hodson is on-call for hospital needs and requests. She also advises policies on reducing medical errors and improving processes related to medications.
As she looked ahead in the pharmacy field, Heather realized that many pharmacists had little knowledge about the natural and homeopathic substances. "Patients are taking these treatments to manage or try to prevent medical conditions," said Heather. "We have to pay attention to that as pharmacists."
Acknowledging that need for more detailed information, Heather pursued a certificate in herbal medicine on her own over nine months to build her understanding the over-the-counter supplements, vitamins and herbs. Combined with her pharmacy experience and medical awareness, Heather can draw from two deep pools of knowledge when participating in patient care.
“There’s a team aspect to what we do as pharmacists,” said Lynn, a sentiment that her daughter echoed. “There’s the daily administrative aspect to our department,” said Heather. “But I’m part of a team here with providers and physicians, all focused on finding the right medications at the right doses at the right time for our patients.”
Cardiology Team and Imaging Services collaborate to bring new clinical care option to community
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital has introduced leg vein ablation for patients seeking treatment for symptoms related to varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Though fewer than 10 percent of people with vein disease – including varicose veins – seek treatment, left untreated this condition can lead to CVI. This disease affects about 190 million people worldwide and more than 30 million Americans. CVI is a progressive disease that can cause leg pain, swelling, restlessness, discoloration, skin damage and ulcers.
The addition of this procedure is a collaborative effort between the hospital’s Imaging Department and cardiology team in the Heart Center and Leg Pain and Vascular Center. BCH offers this treatment as an outpatient procedure, and began scheduling screening visits in December.
“We are treating symptomatic vein disease and CVI as part of a patient’s overall health. It deserves an accurate medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment and plan,” said cardiologist Dr. Thomas Smith. “It is not just as a cosmetic issue, but one that can have important health implications for the future.”
In describing the procedure, Dr. Smith continued, “A physician inserts a single-use catheter into a patient’s leg vein, and uniform heat is applied to seal off the problem vein and allow blood to reroute to healthy veins.”
“This is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure where patients can have a comfortable recovery and generally return to normal activities after just a few days,” said Darlene Schrantz, RN, director of patient care services. “Our providers were great advocates for bringing this procedure to our facility, so our patients don’t have to travel outside the area to access this treatment.”
Varicose veins and CVI occur when valves in leg veins that direct blood from the legs back toward the heart no longer function properly. This causes blood to pool in the legs. Although this can occur at any time, there are factors that increase the risks of developing this condition. These include increased age, women who have been pregnant, a family history of CVI, and people who stand at their job for a great deal of time. Leg vein ablation may be an option for individuals who have leg pain, a heavy feeling in their legs, or a family history of chronic vein insufficiency or venous reflux.
“We encourage our primary care and cardiology patients to make this part of their conversation with their providers,” said Primary Care Center Practice Manager Reid Gunnersen. “Minimally invasive intervention like leg vein ablation now may prevent larger health complications in the future.”
For a screening and consultation, call the BCH Heart Center at (716) 592-9644.
The Springville Area Chamber of Commerce published a short article on New Year's Resolutions as part of its Wellness Wednesday series for 2017. This information will be provided throughout the year by Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and other healthcare partners in the greater Springville area.
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital will host the American Lung Association’s (ALA) “Freedom from Smoking” program during 2017. ALA-certified instructors will present this eight-session program on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 7:30 p.m. during the following
The January session was cancelled due to low enrollment. This program is designed for adult smokers and features step-by-step plans to help smokers gain control over their behavior. Cigarette smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals and can lead to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is a behavior that negatively affects nearly every organ in the human body. It is also a cause of heart disease and stroke.
The program costs $80 and includes a workbook and CD. Registration is now open; to register call (716) 592-9643. Bertrand Chaffee Hospital’s ongoing community health outreach includes smoking cessation programs and diabetic education.
Bertrand Chaffee Hospital will coordinate monthly diabetic support group meetings for Type I and Type II diabetics and their loved ones in 2017. Interested individuals are invited to participate in this group to share recipes, coupons and information about topics related to diabetes and health in a supportive and welcoming environment. The group will meet at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital on the first Monday of each month from 6-7 p.m. A Certified Diabetes Educator will facilitate the group, and meetings are free of charge. This group is part of the BCH diabetic education program, which is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. For more information, call (716) 592-9643. Meetings will be canceled when Springville-Griffith Institute schools are closed for a snow day. The topic for the first meeting of the year on January 2 is Sugar Substitutes. Suggested monthly topics going forward include: February 6, The Diabetic Eye; March 6, Label Reading; April 3, Long-term Risks (film); May 1, Diabetic Sharps; June 5, Herbs and Vitamins; July 3, Alcohol; August 7, The Diabetic Foot; September (closed for holiday); October 2, Being Active (film); November 6, Holiday Eating; December 4, New Year’s Resolutions.
222-224 East Main Street
Springville, NY 14141-1443