Making Excellence Accessible at Auburn Community Hospital

By Katy Mena-Berkley

Monday, August 23, 2021

By investing in sophisticated technologies and talented clinicians, Auburn Community Hospital has created an advanced and compassionate healthcare center for people living in the Finger Lakes region.

Entrance to OB/GYN Offices and Women’s Health Center

A treasure is nestled in the heart of Auburn — an acute care facility where medical professionals serve roughly 80,000 friends and neighbors throughout the Finger Lakes region. Over the past several years, Auburn Community Hospital has built a comprehensive suite of services that provides a dependable and robust spectrum of care for numerous conditions.

“Auburn is a very close-knit community, and the patients here — even though they are part of a rural area — expect and deserve high-quality care,” says Paul Fu, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Auburn Community Hospital and Auburn Memorial Medical Services, PC. “The community has options and can drive to Syracuse or Rochester, but they would like to stay in this area if they can.”

To meet this need, Auburn Community Hospital has worked to build on existing resources while keeping the future in mind. By closely examining service lines, responding to physician needs and recruiting exemplary support staff, Auburn Community Hospital is delivering value-based healthcare solutions with maximized efficiency and high standards of quality.

“We measure and track the care we provide and constantly compare ourselves to national benchmarks,” Dr. Fu says. “That is the kind of excellence our patients deserve.”

“It is so important to us as a hospital and outpatient center to look for providers who are the best of the best.”
— Paul Fu, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Auburn Community Hospital and Auburn Memorial Medical Services, PC

Specialized OB/GYN Services

In an ongoing effort to offer a full range of advanced services to patients, Auburn Community Hospital is paying particular attention to growing a handful of key specialties that are in high demand, including OB/GYN and orthopedics.

“Preventive health care is a critical part of well-rounded care in the community,” says Amy MacDonald, MD, OB/GYN, Auburn Medical Center. “The whole purpose is to identify concerns and address them before they have a chance to become problematic.”

A team of four physicians and three midwives at the Women’s Health Center at Auburn Community Hospital provides a multitude of services including breast care, family planning, prenatal care, labor and delivery, and assistance with managing menopause. Clinicians are also trained to perform minimally invasive and vaginal gynecologic surgical procedures to manage conditions such as abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, pelvic pain and stress urinary incontinence.

Patients who visit the Women’s Health Center receive their care in newly updated examination rooms from clinicians who use the latest technological equipment, including in-office ultrasound and the MyoSure Tissue Removal System, a minimally invasive hysteroscopic tool that allows physicians to resect abnormal tissue, fibroids and polyps.

“With MyoSure, you can examine the uterus and abnormal tissue without incision because everything is done vaginally,” Dr. MacDonald says. “Using this tool, we can get a really targeted biopsy, which is especially helpful if we are concerned about uterine cancer or addressing polyps. In the past, the only other option in these situations would have been to make an abdominal incision similar to a cesarean section. This saves a lot of recovery time for many women.”

Amy MacDonald, MD, is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. MacDonald joined Auburn Obstetrics & Gynecology in May of 2020 after practicing in Rochester, N.Y. at ParkWest Women’s Health, a practice affiliated with Strong Memorial Hospital. Dr. MacDonald is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical School.

(L/R) Scott Berlucchi, President & CEO, Tammy Sunderlin, Chief Nursing Officer, Tanya Paul, MD, OB/GYN, Past President Medical Executive Committee, Stephen Graziano, MD, Division Chief of Upstate Cancer Center, Adult Hematology/Oncology, John Riccio, MD, Chief Medical Officer, David Duggan MD, Upstate Cancer Center, Adult Hematology/Oncology


Investing in Orthopedics

The orthopedics program at Auburn Community Hospital has experienced a similar renaissance. Under the leadership of Brian D. Tallerico, DO, Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Auburn Community Hospital and Auburn Orthopaedic Specialists, the team has placed a keen focus on quality and accessibility to care.

“I was living and practicing in Wyoming when the opportunity to practice in Auburn and be closer to family presented itself,” Dr. Tallerico says. “Auburn Community Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Scott A. Berlucchi, FACHE, NHA gave me what I needed to successfully lead this program and the rest is history. We hit the ground running and have not let our foot off the gas since then.”

To improve the patient experience and attract skilled and talented physicians to the orthopedic team, Auburn Community Hospital invested in the Mako robotic technology from Stryker to perform robot-assisted hip and knee replacement.

“With Mako, our surgeons still perform the surgery, but by getting CT scans of each patient’s anatomy, we can perfect the implant position and increase our accuracy with our bony resections, so our implants go in with more accuracy,” Dr. Tallerico says. “This leads to better joint longevity, better function, less pain, more rapid recovery and better outcomes. After offering this state-of-the-art technology for six months, our results have noticeably improved.”

The orthopedics team is also using the SX-One MicroKnife to streamline surgical performance and enhance patient outcomes. Hand surgeon Cathy Teixeria, MD, uses the minimally invasive technology with ultrasound guidance for precision carpal tunnel release. Recovery is rapid, and most patients are able to resume use of their hand and wrist within a few days with less pain and fewer or no postoperative therapy sessions.

Collaborating to Enhance Outcomes

Auburn Orthopaedic Specialists’ fellowship-trained physicians have an average of 25 years of professional experience. Their expertise is complemented by an equally seasoned orthopedic physician assistant, Steve Kieb, PA.

“We recruited Steve about a year and a half ago when we started getting really busy,” Dr. Tallerico says. “He has 24 years of orthopedic experience and has been very involved in building an orthopedic center of excellence. That partnership mindset, in combination with our supportive administrative team, cutting-edge technology and fellowship-trained clinicians and surgeons, make the highest quality of care available right here in Auburn and the Finger Lakes region. We’re a quality organization from top to bottom.”

Brian D. Tallerico, MD, DO, Chief of Orthopaedic Services

(L/R) Nursing Student, Tanya Paul, MD, Amy MacDonald, MD, Loren Van Riper, MD, Emily Pilato (MyoSure Rep)

Crystal Spurgeon, RN (Background), Denise Lawton, RN (Foreground) – Upstate Cancer Center at Auburn Community Hospital

Contemporary Cancer Care Close to Home

The partnership between Auburn Community Hospital and Upstate Cancer Center has been in the making for decades. Today, the relationship has come to fruition with the state-of-the-art Cancer Center at Auburn Community Hospital.

“The initiative began 30 years ago with our nephrologists at Upstate offering patient care at Auburn,” says David Duggan, MD, MACP, Professor of Medicine at Upstate Medical University. “Now there are several groups of physicians from Upstate that come to Auburn to provide support for a wide spectrum of cancers, intensive care, critical care and infectious disease consultation. We try to do as much as we can here in Auburn. It has been a real partnership that has helped a lot of patients get good care closer to home.”

The Comfort of Convenience

Today, patients facing cancer can count on receiving comprehensive care from highly trained clinicians with expertise in cancer care. Plus, patients do not have to travel into the city far for treatment infusions, follow-up appointments and consultations with cancer specialists who are actively involved in the latest clinical research. Should additional resources be necessary, Upstate is a phone call away.

“We are able to provide very contemporary care here at Auburn Community Hospital,” Dr. Duggan, a hematologist oncologist, says. “People feel a strong attachment to the hospital and want to get care here. Our ability to help so they do not have to travel provides a sense of security and comfort.”