David F. Rosner, General Surgeon, Joins GH

David F. Rosner, General Surgeon

David F. Rosner, General Surgeon

Gouverneur, NY—David F. Rosner, MD, board-certified general surgeon, has joined the medical staff affiliated with St. Lawrence Health System and will practice full time at Gouverneur Hospital in Gouverneur, NY. He will see patients for consultations beginning May 1, 2017 with his first surgeries to be scheduled after May 15, 2017.

Dr. Rosner received his medical degree from New York Medical College in Guadalajara, Mexico. He subsequently completed surgical residencies at New York Medical College, Lincoln Hospital, and Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in New York City, NY. He is certified by the American Board of Abdominal Surgery.

“We’re very pleased that Dr. Rosner will join our exceptional medical staff,” said David Bender, Gouverneur Hospital’s CEO. “Dr. Rosner takes pride in staying current with the latest advances in surgery and pursues the highest standards in his practice. We know Gouverneur is going to love him,” he said.

Dr. Rosner performs surgery for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. He performs breast surgery, hernia repair, diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopies and upper endoscopies, laparoscopic gallbladder removal, circumcision for infants, children, and adults, appendectomy, and tonsillectomy. He also performs lymph node biopsies and vasectomies and can remove skin lesions and moles.

Dr. Rosner comes to Gouverneur from practice in Lewis County. For more information or an appointment, interested individuals may call 315-535-9374 or visit www.gvnrhospital.org.

David BenDer named new CEO

David Bender, New CEO of Gouverneur Hospital

David Bender, New CEO of Gouverneur Hospital

Canton, NY—Officials of St. Lawrence Health System have announced that, as of Tuesday, January 10, 2017, David Bender, VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development for St. Lawrence Health System, will become Gouverneur Hospital's new CEO. He replaces Marlinda L. LaValley, who served as Gouverneur Hospital's inaugural CEO from the Hospital's opening in December, 2013. Ms. LaValley will resume her former duties as Vice President of Administrative Services for SLHS's Canton-Potsdam Hospital (CPH) in Potsdam.

Before joining St. Lawrence Health System, Mr. Bender was a senior strategy consultant with OptumInsight, a healthcare and human services consultancy firm with locations across the US and around the world. He served most recently in the Accountable Care Solutions Practice of OptumInsight, providing support to health systems' decisions to initiate Accountable Care Organizations. In that capacity, he provided analysis and guidance to hospitals across the United States, including Canton-Potsdam Hospital. He was also a vice president with OptumInsight/Ingenix Consulting's Strategy and Governance Practice, where he led strategy projects for solo hospitals and hospital systems. Between 2006 and 2009, he led the Provider Practice at the Lewin Group, now a subsidiary of Optum. In this role, he was responsible for providing guidance and counsel to hospitals and health systems related to strategic planning, medical staff development, merger and affiliation analysis and planning, and opportunity analysis and health needs assessment. Prior to this Mr. Bender was a Principal in Ernst and Young's Health Sciences Advisory Services Practice.

 In announcing the change, officials praised Ms. LaValley for her leadership in seeing the Gouverneur community through troubled times.

 "Marlinda LaValley had exactly the skill-set and vision we needed to place Gouverneur Hospital on a firm footing," said Michael Burgess, Chair of the Gouverneur Hospital Board of Directors. "She stepped into a crisis situation when the former E. J. Noble (EJN) Hospital failed and served as our interim CEO, then as CEO of EJN/Kinney Nursing Home. Following her appointment as the CEO of Gouverneur Hospital, she saw the Hospital through its conversion to Critical Access Status, she expanded services, supported employees to achieve high standards for quality and service, and has secured partnerships to create sustainable healthcare for this region," said Mr. Burgess. "Thanks to Ms. LaValley, Gouverneur Hospital is now in a position to grow," he added.

Edward Mucenski, Chairman of the St. Lawrence Health System noted that “Marlinda will be missed by the Gouverneur community, but has left the hospital in a strong position.  Dave Bender's background and experience will be of great benefit as we enter the next stage of Gouverneur Hospital's evolution.”

 Mr. Bender completed his Bachelor's degree at Bethel College and a Master of Science in Public Health/Health Services Management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mr. Bender volunteers his time as a member of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Cynthia, reside in Canton, NY.

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Mona Giffin, FNP, Joins Edwards Center

Mona L. Giffin, FNP, a Family Nurse Practitioner, has joined the medical staff of Gouverneur Hospital and is seeing patients at the Edwards Health Center, 8 Church Street, Edwards, NY.

Mona Giffin, FNP

Mona Giffin, FNP

FNP Giffin provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of common ailments and conditions, including earaches, stomach complaints, and infections, as well as management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She can write prescriptions and order imaging or laboratory testing, as well as perform screenings, such as pap smears or breast examinations. NP Giffin also provides wellness checkups.

FNP Giffin received her Family Nurse Practitioner degree from The State University of New York Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, NY. Prior to this, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in nursing while working as a nurse and nurse supervisor at the former E. J. Noble Hospital of Gouverneur. NP Giffin has experience with surgical, critical care, and medical/surgical inpatients. She has practiced as a nurse practitioner in the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Afterhours Walk-in Clinic in Canton, NY, and in family practice in Canton and Potsdam, NY.

FNP Giffin sees patients in the Edwards Health Center Monday through Friday, 8AM – 4PM. For more information or to make an appointment, interested individuals may call 315-562-1055. For more information about the health centers and services of Gouverneur Hospital, interested individuals may visit www.ourfutureisbright.org.

New ambulatory surgical unit is now open

A new ambulatory surgery unit has opened at Gouverneur Hospital that provides private and semiprivate rooms for patients having outpatient procedures such as colonoscopies.

The unit is directly next to the operating rooms and provides privacy to patients and a comfortable waiting area for families, hospital Chief Executive Officer Marlinda L. LaValley said.

The renovations were part of the hospital’s plan to enhance patient services and improve access to specialized surgical services. The space also was designed to improve convenience for surgeons and other hospital staff.
“Formerly, patients had to be wheeled from the first floor to the second floor, which involved a long trip through public areas,” Mrs. LaValley said in an email. “Now patients are prepared for and recover from surgery right next to the operating rooms, with a modern nursing station at the entrance to the unit.”

She said the newly painted rooms in the ambulatory surgery unit are spacious and provide patients with a view of the Oswegatchie River. Each room has its own bathroom.

The new unit also will offer surgical services not previously available, such as pain management and general surgical procedures. The hospital will continue to offer colonoscopies, endoscopies, dental surgeries and cataract surgeries.
An open house to celebrate the new ambulatory unit is scheduled from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at the hospital, 77 W. Barney St.
There will be a presentation at 4:45 p.m. followed by tours of the unit. The Gouverneur Hospital Auxiliary will provide light refreshments.

In addition to same-day surgery, Gouverneur Hospital offers women’s health services, imaging, laboratory, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, cardiology, neurology and primary care.
The Gouverneur Hospital has about 200 employees and is an affiliate of Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, under the parent organization St. Lawrence Health System.


Gouverneur Hospital will launch a sleep disorders diagnosis and treatment program starting August 1, 2014. The program will be overseen by  Otilio Orobano, RRT.RPSGT and Dr. Magendra Thakur. MD board-certified in sleep medicine, and will operate three nights per week. The first new outpatient service to be added to the slate of medical services offered by Gouverneur Hospital, the Sleep Disorders Center is being launched in response to identified needs in the community, said hospital officials.

“Sleep disorders are serious health concerns for individuals as well as for employers,” said Dennis Maid, RT, Director of Respiratory Therapy and the Sleep Disorders Center at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, a nationally accredited center that is assisting to launch the Gouverneur Hospital operation. “Many people don’t know they have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, where a person’s breathing—and therefore sleep—is interrupted repeatedly, to insomnia and restless legs syndrome,” he said. 

“Undiagnosed and un-treated sleep disorders place people at risk for everything from depression, to lowered productivity, to fatalities from drowsy driving or impaired operation of heavy machinery,” said Maid. “The personal costs can be very high, and of course these costs extend to our society as well through lost work days, higher insurance rates, and abuse of over-the-counter sleep aids,” he said. “Some studies have found links between sleep disorders and hearing loss, obesity in children, and chronic diseases, such as diabetes,” added Maid.

According to the National Institute of Medicine (IOM), an estimated 50 to 70-million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation interfering with daily functioning, and adversely affecting health and longevity. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription and over-the-counter medications, potentially needlessly, according to the IOM, which has called for increasing the availability of specialist services in sleep disorders medicine. At the national level, congress is considering legislation that would mandate payment by the federal government for sleep disorders screening when beneficiaries initially enroll in Medicare.

At particular risk for sleep disorders are shift workers, people who suffer from certain chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, those who have had certain surgical procedures, the elderly, and those taking certain prescription medications. 

“Workers in construction, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, corrections officers, and adolescents involved in multiple sports or after-school activities are good candidates for sleep disorders screenings,” said Maid. “Initial screenings can identify if a full sleep study is recommended,” he said. 

Sleep studies usually involve an overnight stay in the Sleep Disorders Center, where sleep is monitored by special equipment and certified sleep medicine technologists. Further testing may require laboratory work or imaging studies to rule out causes or other conditions. Treatment may involve specialized equipment that can be used at home, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, medication, or alteration of sleep habits and/or the home sleep environment.

“Treatment will depend on the individual’s medical history, current health status, lifestyle, and tolerance for interventions,” said Maid. “Occasionally, other serious health issues may be causing or worsening the situation, and we can offer appropriate referrals for these issues,” he said. 

The Sleep Disorders Center at Gouverneur Hospital is located on the Barney Street level of the east wing, adjacent to the medical/ surgical unit. It occupies 1000 square feet of renovated space and includes private rooms with handicapped access bathrooms. For an appointment with the Sleep Disorders Center or for further information on screening, interested individuals or employers should contact Deb at 268-0642.

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Gouverneur Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department has launched a new service designed to treat pelvic floor disorders in women. The service involves assessment and treatment by Valerie Storie, PT, a physical therapist specially trained in pelvic floor muscle anatomy, function, physiology, and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. The training provides Ms. Storie with certification in Pelvic Health Level 1 of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Section on Women’s Health comprehensive certification. Pelvic Floor PT is provided in a comfortable, completely private treatment room of the newly renovated physical therapy area in the east wing of the hospital. 

The pelvic floor is a term for a group of muscles that help regulate the organs involved in everything from urination to sexual function. When these muscles aren’t working properly, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, and pain can result. If left untreated, pelvic floor problems can become debilitating, causing some women to avoid public places, important family events, or career advancement, and sometimes leading to social isolation. 

“Many women suffer needlessly from pain and embarrassment associated with pelvic floor dysfunction,” said Storie. “Physical therapy for these issues can help women regain confidence as well as improve their health,” she said. 

Storie cited her love of a field that constantly challenges her to learn, with an expanding evidence base and validation of new techniques, as her reason for seeking certification.

“I am fortunate to expand my knowledge base and now be able to address women’s health issues,” she said. “I look forward to educating women and helping them with the tools they need to not only recover but to regain confidence and control of their life,” she said.

“As a physical therapist, the best part of my job is assisting my patients in restoring their health and returning them to the activities they love most,” said Storie. 

Ms. Storie will be eligible to pursue further education leading to comprehensive certification in Pelvic PT (CAPP-Pelvic) following one to two years of clinical application. She and Jen McDonald, PT, DPT, MS, a Canton Potsdam Hospital Physical Therapist, are both certified in Pelvic Health Level 1.

Women in the Gouverneur area interested in learning more may contact Valerie Storie at (315) 535-9316. The service is also available at Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Cheel Medical Campus in Potsdam, NY. For Potsdam information, interested women should call (315) 261-5460.

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Patients whose practitioners suspect they may have heart murmurs, damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack, hypertension, or other diseases and conditions affecting the normal function of the heart’s chambers and valves now have the option of getting a cardiac echocardiogram at Gouverneur Hospital. 

The hospital has launched its first new service, cardiac echocardiography (commonly known as cardiac echo and also known as cardiac ultrasound). Cardiac echo is a technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed two-dimensional or three-dimensional images of the heart’s chambers and valves as the heart pumps blood to all the regions of the body and exchanges gasses in the lungs and tissues. 

“It works sort of like a fish-finder,” said Maxine Hill, cardiac ultrasound technician. “The images can be captured in motion or still, so they show the full range of activity the heart undergoes as it expands and contracts, or as the heart’s valves open and close,” she said. “The test is painless, non-invasive, and is usually used in conjunction with a range of other information to make an accurate diagnosis,” she added.

The service will operate in the cardiopulmonary area of the hospital’s east wing and is by appointment. Patients need a referral from their primary care practitioner. 

According to the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, cardiac echo can identify those at risk for a heart attack. Early detection of conditions or diseases that might lead to heart failure is key to reducing deaths, invasive surgeries, and costs associated with travel, lost work days, or long stays in intensive care.

“We worked with Canton-Potsdam Hospital to cross-train an ultrasonography technologist in cardiac echo because we knew the community needed this service,” said Dennis Maid, RT, Director of Respiratory Therapy at CPH. “The trained technologist performs the examination, and then the images are ‘read’ by a heart specialist—a cardiologist,” he/she added. “If follow-up is needed, we can help the patient identify options.”

“We listened to practitioners in our area and analyzed health data to determine the need for this new service,” said Marlinda LaValley, Gouverneur Hospital CEO. “Having services that can reduce costs to the overall health system as well as to the individual, and keeping people closer to home for care, are two of our major goals in launching new services,” she said.

“Space, staff, and equipment resources will be devoted to services based on community needs, and of course the service must be one that can operate at a high level of quality,” she said. “All those factors enter into our decision-making.”

To learn more about cardiac echo at Gouverneur Hospital or to schedule an appointment, interested individuals should contact their primary care practitioner or call 315-535-9263 or 9257.

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Gouverneur Hospital Begins Operations January 1, 2014


New Organization Will Ensure Quality Healthcare for St. Lawrence County for the Long-term

St. Lawrence County has begun the New Year with a new, high-quality, financially sustainable hospital and comprehensive healthcare system focused on providing community-based services, from primary care and wellness to emergency and acute hospital care, in a more well-coordinated and collaborative way.

New York State Supreme Court Justice David Demarest authorized the newly created Gouverneur Hospital, a local not-for-profit organization governed by a board of community volunteers, to purchase substantially all of the assets of the financially troubled E.J. Noble Hospital and the Kinney Nursing Home. His Honor Justice Demarest made the ruling Friday, December 20, 2013.

Gouverneur Hospital completed the purchase of those assets on December 31, 2013, and began operating on January 1, 2014. Gouverneur Hospital has posted job openings equivalent to the number employed by E.J. Noble Hospital at the end of December.

Gouverneur Hospital will operate as part of a two-hospital healthcare system known as St. Lawrence Health System, which also includes Canton-Potsdam Hospital. 

David B. Acker, who serves as both president and CEO of St. Lawrence Health System and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, made the following statement:

“The healthcare system in St. Lawrence County just became a whole lot healthier. Months of hard work and determination by people across the County and in Albany will soon be rewarded with the creation of a new, financially sustainable hospital and comprehensive healthcare system that will benefit our entire region for many years to come by continually rethinking and improving the way care is delivered to people of all ages. 

“The achievement of this historic milestone would not have happened without the hard work, dedication and perseverance of the talented and dedicated employees of E.J. Noble Hospital and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, our local and state elected officials, the New York State Department of Health, and the entire Gouverneur community. 

“Through the creation of Gouverneur hospital and its joining with Canton-Potsdam Hospital under one parent organization, we are leading the way in delivering essential health care services — from primary care and wellness to emergency and acute hospital care — in a smarter, more quality-focused and more coordinated way. Our collaborative efforts will allow us to provide a more effective continuum of care throughout a person’s life, enable us to attract and retain high-quality medical professionals, and provide economies of scale that will help make this system financially sustainable and affordable.

“It is especially important that our system is based in and focused on the geographic center of St. Lawrence County and our college communities. Not only are we ideally positioned and suited to address the healthcare needs of area students, faculty and staff, we will continue to foster collaborative partnerships in research and learning opportunities that have far-reaching benefits to the health and economies of our region.

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LaValley Tapped to Lead Gouverneur Hospital


Marlinda L. LaValley has been named as the inaugural CEO of Gouverneur Hospital. Ms. LaValley served as vice president of Administrative Services for Canton-Potsdam Hospital with broad oversight of a variety of administrative areas, including Corporate Compliance and Risk Management, Counseling and Rehabilitation, Corporate Communications, Medical Staff Office, and Physician Recruitment. During her career she has directed Quality Improvement, Utilization Review, Patient Relations, Infection Control, and Human Resources, among other areas. She has twice been named by the Hospital’s Board of Directors as interim President and CEO, once in 1986 for and eight-month period and more recently in 2006 for eleven months. She was named interim CEO of the former E. J. Noble Hospital of Gouverneur in February of 2013.

Ms. LaValley has been a Canton-Potsdam Hospital Corporate Officer for over 30 years, and a Community Nursing Home of Potsdam (dba Potsdam Nursing Home) Corporate Officer from its acquisition in 1984 until its closure in 2003. She served as Assistant Secretary to the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Corporation. 

Ms. LaValley has actively pursued continuing education and coursework in compliance, risk management, labor law, service excellence, and other aspects of healthcare management through the Clarkson School of Business, Health Care Compliance Association, Society for Human Resources Management, American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, and others. Ms. LaValley serves on the Board of Directors of Hospice and Palliative Care of the St. Lawrence Valley, the St. Lawrence Health Initiative, and the Northern Area Health Education Center (NAHEC) Regional Advisory Board. Since earning her AAS from Clinton Community College, Ms. LaValley has served with Canton-Potsdam Hospital for over 35 years in steadily progressive areas of responsibility..

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