Passion for Patient Care Revolutionizes Vascular Access

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First of its type in US, St. Joseph’s Vascular Access Team utilizes ultrasound guided IV technology, drastically improving accuracy and ease of “needle sticks”


Recognized as 2016 NJBIZ Healthcare Hero

St. Joseph’s Health is the Winner of the 2016 NJBIZ Healthcare Hero Award, Innovation/Organization Category, for its trendsetting Vascular Access Program. The first-of-its-kind sterile ultrasound-guided program in the United States, the Vascular Access Program increases the accuracy and ease of “needle sticks,” drastically enhancing the patient and provider experience in procedures from blood draws and peripheral IVs, to arterial lines and PICC lines.

The 10th annual NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes awards program honors individuals and organizations that are making a significant impact on the quality of health care in New Jersey. Finalists were recognized and category winners announced during the NJBIZ Healthcare Heroes Awards breakfast and ceremony held on June 21, 2016.

A Certified Registered Nurse of Infusion Therapy, Board Certified in Vascular Access, Matthew Ostroff approached clinical leadership at St. Joseph’s with this technology, illustrating how it can have success throughout the system, ranging from emergency department services to surgery to pediatrics and beyond.

“Once we saw an opportunity to change how we treat patients with this process, we moved quickly,” said Judy Padula, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer, St. Joseph’s Health. “Cost savings, time savings, heightened quality of patient care…we knew that we wanted St. Joseph’s to be at the forefront of this technology, and we had phenomenal talent spearheading it.” St. Joseph’s is the first hospital in the country to have a vascular access team placing sterile ultrasound guided peripheral IVs.

In medical terms, the overall goal of the Vascular Access Program is “vessel preservation,” which can prove invaluable in the short- and long-term care of patients needing multiple/ongoing treatments. From circulation issues in a geriatric patient, an obese patient, a newborn, or a patient receiving bloodwork every week, there are many reasons patients may have difficulty with vascular access. With ultra-sound guided vessel location, nurses, doctors and technicians significantly increase their ability to locate a vessel and access it on the first try, even with difficult-access patients, and prevents the need for more invasive types of catheters such as midlines, PICC lines and central lines.

“Anyone who ever sat through nurses making multiple IV needle sticks understands the value of ultrasound-guided vascular access, but this goes much deeper than an annoying hour trying to draw a few vials of blood or an arm that is bruised for a day or two,” said Vascular Access Coordinator Matthew ­­­­­­Ostroff. “In fact, we recently helped a 2-year-old pediatric oncology patient who was transferred to us from another local hospital because they were unable to successfully grant IV access after 8 attempts. It was after 10 p.m. when I got the call and we were able to place a line in just one stick.”

“Every time we eliminate a stick, our team celebrates a little bit,” said ­­­­Judy Padula. “Not because we ourselves succeeded, but because we can see the relief in the patient’s eyes… we can see their pain cease. That first stick, so to speak, sets the tone for the rest of a patient’s hospital stay. Plus, it means we freed up nursing staff so they can get on with their core jobs and attend to more patients.”

Time-savings is another huge value of the Vascular Access Program. In this case time is measured on many levels, from the minutes and possibly hours it may take to gain vascular access in a difficult patient, to the days that access may require. “In the past, procedures and tests on patients who have vascular access difficulties were dependent on the availability of access,” Ostroff explained. “Our bedside capability eliminates delays and allows more time for immediate care of the patient.”

No More Tears: After 16 Years, Ultrasound Guided IV Technology Changes the Game

Sixteen-year-old Ziaira Dollar has been receiving IV treatments on a regular basis since infancy, the repetitive needle sticks making vascular access increasingly more difficult. For the teen, it wasn’t unusual for inserting a needle to take upward of 20 minutes, require countless sticks and bring tears from the sheer frustration and pain. That all changed when she met Matt and his Vascular Access Team, and had her first one-stick, five-minutes-or-less experience.

“It was heartbreaking to watch her go through the process of being stuck multiple times just to gain access,” said Mary Cadet, Ziaira Dollar’s guardian. “Now, thanks to Matt and the ultrasound-guided technology, it is beyond soothing as a parent to know that your child won’t be going through additional pain and that the job is going to get done with one stick.”

From the very first time Ziaira met Matt she was in awe, and considers the technology a game changer in her young life. “He can actually look at the screen, see how deep my veins go, and know exactly where to put the needle,” said Ziaira. “If kids knew what Matt can do they’d all ask for him.”

Ostroff explains that, in a case like Ziaira’s, frequent IVs cause the veins to get tired and “used up,” making them more difficult to locate. Moreover, because of Ziaira’s condition, it’s imperative to preserve large veins in case of emergency.

“Mapping out exactly where to find smaller vascular access is crucial with a patient like Ziaira,” said Ostroff. “We’re the catalyst that gets patients to their treatment and now that we have the technology for success in just one stick, we can get them there even faster. The medical service and emotional relief we provide patients like Ziaira and her mother are exactly why we do this. It’s why I come in on a Sundayand why I encourage patients to call me if they’re coming in. For difficult-access patients, it’s worth going the extra mile to bring the relief faster and with less pain than they are used to.”


Now that’s Community Spirit

Mike Starrs  Resized 01Michael Starrs was to be presented with the highest award bestowed upon a volunteer by the Boys and Girls Club of America, the “Man and Youth Award” and the “Service to Youth Award” for 30 years of service at the Northwest New Jersey Chapter’s 18th Annual Dinner Dance held recently. Unfortunately, just days before the big event, Mr. Starrs, fondly known by many as “Coach,” was admitted to St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center in his hometown of Wayne, NJ. His special evening was rapidly approaching and Coach simply wasn’t feeling well enough to receive this special honor in person.

Fortunately, the staff at St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center, a division of St. Joseph’s Health, is committed to caring for each patient – mind, body and spirit. St. Joseph’s employees, from Nursing and Information Technology to Public Relations, worked together to connect Mr. Starrs to the event being held in his honor at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park – more than 6 miles from Mr. Starrs’ bed at St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center.

As the awards segment of the program began, David Unger, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Boys and Girls Club of Wayne, announced that Honoree Coach Mike Starrs was unable to attend the event. As he addressed the audience, suddenly a video image of Coach popped up on the large screen behind Mr. Unger.

“You didn’t think I would actually miss the biggest party of the year, did you?” asked Coach, enthusiastically praising St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center staff for making his presence via video-teleconferencing the perfect connection from his hospital bed to the awards ceremony.Mike Starrs Resized 02

Justin Shakil, Boys and Girls Club Alumnus and radio sports broadcaster for SiriusXM Satellite Radio and WCBS Newsradio 880, presented Mr. Starrs with the award, but not without words that moved everyone. Besides Mr. Starrs’ dedication to the Boys and Girls Club, Mr. Shakil reminisced about the first time he ever met Mike Starrs, a man he described as “the type of person who made you want to work hard.”Assemblyman Scott Rumana presented a Joint Legislative Resolution to Coach Michael Starrs on behalf of Senator O’Toole, Assemblyman Russo and himself.

Wayne resident, Mr. Starrs, commitment to developing youth began almost 40 years ago when he started coaching Youth Football in the Packanack Lake community of Wayne. As the local Boys and Girls Club grew, Coach joined the team. Every year, since 1978, Mr. Starrs volunteered his time for various levels of football squads, primarily at the Pee Wee level, and also served as football commissioner. In 1987, he was honored as the NJ Area Council State Volunteer of the Year. Mr. Starrs was one of the coaches selected as the USA Football Youth Coach of the year in 2006. In addition, he was elected to the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey Hall of Fame. Mr. Starrs has volunteered his time as a member of the Board of Directors since 1986, serving in many capacities – president, vice president, as well as chairing the marketing and program committees.

Coach Mike Starrs is devoted to enriching the community through the activities of the Boys and Girls Club.

St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center staff understands Coach’s commitment. With passion for St. Joseph’s “patients first” approach to service excellence and with dedication to the Healthcare System’s Mission and Values, St. Joseph’s staff truly enriched Michael Starrs’ healing process by fulfilling his wish to accept his award “in person” at the 18th Annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest New Jersey Dinner Dance held in his honor.

Community spirit is thriving in Wayne!

March 15, 2016


Rededication of the St. Joseph's Healthcare and Rehab Center Chapel

Chapel Rededication

St. Joseph's Healthcare and Rehab Center (SJHRC), formally St. Joseph's Nursing Home, a division of St. Joseph's Health, recently honored the rededication of its Chapel, a special place for residents, visitors, family and staff to pray, celebrate and find comfort in times of need. The Rededication took place in the newly renovated chapel and was attended by Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, residents, employees and executive staff. Speakers and special guests (pictured below left to right) included Fr. Martin Rooney, Director, Mission Services, SJH; Deborah Quinn-Martone, Administrator, SJHRC; Sr. Rosemary Moynihan, SC, General Superior, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth; Sr. Elizabeth Noonan, SC, Volunteer and Former Chaplain, SJHRC; Sr. Anita William O’Neill, SC, Former Chaplain, SJHRC; Sr. Patricia Mennor, SC, Vice President, Mission, SJH; Sr. Kathleen Quigley, SC, Chaplain, SJHRC; Sr. Marilyn Thie, SC, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, SJH; Kevin Slavin, President and CEO, SJH; and Sr. Jane Frances Brady, SC, Former President, SJH.

SJHRC Chapel Rededication


St. Joseph's MCRU Counteracts the Threats & Emergencies of the Modern World

MCRU Image for WebHealthcare System introduces the next evolution of its mass care response service – providing one of New Jersey’s most unique emergency response units for potential mass-casualty situations

After five successful years serving the City of Paterson as well as Passaic County with in-the-field disaster and emergency medical care, St. Joseph’s Health’s Mass Care Response Unit (MCRU) is again evolving to help address needs and save lives in a new age of mass-casualty situations. What started as a means of responding to large scale events in the aftermath of 9-11, quickly grew to supporting emergency services agencies in all aspects of field operations. Such was the case with the Paterson Fire Department where on-site treatment of fire victims as well as firefighters and rescue teams has evolved into a mobile emergency care “treatment facility” - available anywhere, in any weather, and at any time. The MCRU is specifically designed to handle the situations the world sees today, from potential terrorist attacks in sporting arenas that hold tens of thousands to natural emergencies like Superstorm Sandy. 

“No doubt, 9-11 was a game changer in how we all think about and prepare for disasters,” said Bob Bertollo, Program Manager for Emergency Response Operations at St. Joseph’s Health. “Each time we hear about incidents in the news, it hits a little closer to home and everyone starts thinking with even greater conviction that ‘we could be next’. Therefore, we re-focused the mission of our Mass Care Response Unit driven by this same thought… if our community is next, we are better prepared to help maximize the number of lives saved and help all emergency services on the front line.”

St. Joseph’s Health’s MCRU is equipped to provide care onsite in a variety of roles - ranging from support of stabilization and transfer for large numbers of victims at an emergency event site to sustaining extended on-scene medical care operations. This multi-role capability allows for improved treatment, increased response personnel safety, and greater utilization of ambulance services to transport patients. The MCRU brings together St. Joseph’s best paramedics, physicians, respiratory therapists and nurses to provide care in the field for large numbers of people. It is equipped with:

  • Life support emergency medical supplies
  • Cardiac monitors/defibrillators
  • Field emergency response/triage kits
  • A mass oxygen administration system
  • Medical monitoring/on-scene rehabilitation
  • All-weather command/treatment shelters
  • Scene lighting and 30,000-watt on-board electrical power generator

The St. Joseph’s MCRU team brings the over 40,000 pound vehicle’s capabilities to bear - setting up care stations in the field to treat injuries, stabilize victims and provide “preventative healthcare,” for responders. With potential applications including mass-casualty situations, the MCRU unit and its crew are equipped to provide quality care quickly and for as many people as possible; for example, the on-board oxygen system allows administration for up to forty patients at one time.

“We’ve all seen footage of the Paris attacks, Boston Marathon bombing, and more,” continued Bertollo. “There is panic, chaos and massive crowds. Traditional deployment procedures for emergency medical services are often inadequate during large scale events. We act as a clinical force multiplier. Prepared to fulfill a multitude of roles, the MCRU can greatly extend the effectiveness of all on-scene emergency medical care. Simply put, that results in greater safety and more lives saved.”

“As a part of asset building for readiness activities, the government provided each county with a MCRU,” said James Pruden, MD, Emergency Services Physician, St. Joseph’s University Medical Center and Director, Emergency Preparedness, St. Joseph’s Health. “Many vehicles are sitting in warehouses waiting for the ‘big event’ but Bob found a way to connect the MCRU to the needs of the community, from local firefighters to serving youth with health-based and educational programming.”

The St. Joseph’s MCRU will, of course, continue its presence beyond the realm of mass-casualty situations. This means responding to high-volume community events and evolving emergency events.

Foundations, Achievements and Growth

From its inception, the St. Joseph’s Health’s MCRU mission grew from a realization that not only were victims suffering during a crisis, but so were the emergency crews working to provide emergency medical care, rescue services, firefighting, and law enforcement response. The team at St. Joseph’s developed a working relationship with the City of Paterson Fire Department to better define what type of in-the-field care was needed for the firefighting crews as well as the victims.

One of the most important benefits of this service is what it can do for rescue personnel. These responders are just as vulnerable to injury and fatigue as the people they work tirelessly to save, and this immediately became clear in discussions with the Paterson Fire Department.

“As an example, recently it was negative three degrees and a fire broke out in Paterson” said Dr. Pruden, “You mix those temperatures with water and you could have a real problem. The St. Joseph’s MCRU is crucial in harsh and foreboding situations such as this, providing rehabilitation services to the fire fighters out on the job.”

In terms of rescue crew health and safety, the MCRU is prepared to provide medical monitoring, rehydration services and work recovery which promotes the body’s vital signs returning more quickly back to safe levels - especially in extreme cold or heat. It didn’t take long before the unit began to prove itself with the Paterson Fire Department in multi-alarm fire situations and now it is branching out to assist rescue crews in other crisis and potential mass-casualty situations.

The St. Joseph’s MCRU has an impressive track record of service including nationally televised football games, local charity runs, bike-a-thons and other community events - like the Passaic County Fair, and the 9-11 Memorial Tunnel-Towers Run. The MCRU has also been on the scene during numerous emergency situations ranging from flood rescue to large-scale power outages. St. Joseph’s plans to continue to build on this history of achievements while evolving for the modern world.

“Fulfilling the Mass Care Response Unit mission depends on our ability to build on every experience… on taking lessons from the past, observing the changes happening around us, and staying one step ahead for the future,” said Bertollo. “Our role has grown far beyond the walls of the hospital itself. As the world has changed, our provision of care truly knows no boundaries. We will be wherever care is needed.”

March 11, 2016


Health Update: Zika


What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus). The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease (Zika) are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.

Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. The mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.

Zika virus is not currently found in the continental United States, but cases have been reported in returning travelers. Outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and most recently in the Americas. Because the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, it is likely that outbreaks will continue to spread.

Where is Zika virus found?

Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.

Does CDC know how many Zika cases were confirmed worldwide before the 2007 outbreak on Yap Islands in the Federated States of Micronesia?

Before 2007, at least 14 cases of human Zika virus disease had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Zika virus has probably occurred in many locations. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases probably were not identified.

What should I do if I have Zika?

Treat the symptoms:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.

Protect others: During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people. To help prevent others from getting sick, prevent mosquito bites during the first week of illness by strictly following steps to prevent mosquito bites.

See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes) during a trip or within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider where you traveled.

The above information was taken from on 2/10/16. For additional information please visit

February 16, 2016


Enhancing Community Connections

Community ConnectionsSt. Joseph’s Health (SJH) employees recognize that the various communities we serve are part of our extended family. We take pride in being good neighbors.

To meet the health needs of our community, St. Joseph’s has formed partnerships with community organizations such as schools, churches and government agencies to provide an extensive range of health care initiatives via community outreach programs. The hospital also provides various after-discharge services such as ambulatory care sites, clinic services, support groups and classes, case management services, hospices, homebound program and spiritual counseling.Community Connections 01

St. Joseph’s is continuously sponsoring, hosting and providing outreach programs at our medical facilities and in neighboring communities. Here, we name only a few events: Wayne Day, Health Partners Breast Cancer Awareness Walk, BergenFest, Paterson Press Community 5K, Paterson’s Dominican Day Parade, Over the Edge Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey fundraising event, Paterson Rotary Gift of Life program.Community Connections 03

St. Joseph’s Health’s continued community support is evident in the 2015 – 2016 Make a Difference Project. In December, SJH President and CEO Kevin Slavin invited the Management Team, comprised of Executive Leadership and Directors, to make a positive difference in someone’s life. The overall project was extremely successful in expanding community connections.


To learn more about our community connectedness, view the most current SJH Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) reports available via the links below. Community Connections 02


2017 - 2019 St. Joseph’s University Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment - Implementation Strategy

2017 - 2019 St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment - Implementation Strategy

2016 St. Joseph's University Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment Report - Executive Summary

2016 St. Joseph’s University Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment - Summary Report

2016 St. Joseph’s University Medical Center Community Health Needs - Strategy Evaluation

2016 St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment Report - Executive Summary

2016 St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment - Summary Report

2016 St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center Community Health Needs - Strategy Evaluation

Prior Reports:

2013 St. Joseph's Health Community Health Needs Assessment

2014 St. Joseph's University Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment

2014 St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment





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