Press Release

St. Francis Orthopedic Surgeon Performs Long Island’s First Total Knee Replacements in Free-Standing Ambulatory Center

July 10th, 2018

Their highly active jobs and lots heavy lifting took their toll on their knees. So when Kathleen Longo, a retired police officer, and Joseph DiGirolamo, a warehouse worker, found out they could have total knee replacement surgery and walk out the very same day, their immediate response was “sign me up.”

East Hills, NY, July 3, 2018 – Orthopedic Surgeon Michael Kang, M.D., has completed the first two total knee replacement procedures at the new, state-of-the-art East Hills Surgery Center. The 15,000-square-foot, multi-specialty ambulatory surgery center (ASC) opened last November in partnership with St. Francis Hospital/Catholic Health Services of Long Island and Regent Surgical Health. It was designed specifically to accommodate complex cases and procedures including total joint replacement and spine disorders. The two procedures are believed to be Long Island’s first total knee replacements performed in a free-standing ASC.

“We’re the first in our area to perform this surgery in a setting that’s separate from the hospital,” Dr. Kang said. “It’s a growing trend across the country fueled by two things: the mandate of value-based care that calls for improved outcomes at reduced cost, and the fact that many patients within the Baby Boomer population are more active and more fit than previous generations as they begin to develop arthritis, making outpatient total joint replacement a good option.”

Dr. Kang said the tri-state New York area has been relatively conservative about embracing the trend, but new facilities like East Hills are facilitating its progress. About 500,000 total knee replacement procedures are conducted nationwide each year right now, he said, with that number expected to grow to as many as 3 million by 2030.

“Our partners at East Hills Surgery Center and St. Francis Hospital are dedicated to enhancing the quality of care, while increasing convenience and lowering costs,” said Robert Ryan, Chief Operating Officer at Regent Surgical Health. “This is an exciting milestone for the East Hills center because it’s exactly what this center was built to do.”

“The move of appropriate cases to outpatient surgery centers is playing a more significant role in the healthcare model of the future,” said Ruth E. Hennessey, EVP & Chief Administrative Officer of St. Francis Hospital. “This is an example of our commitment to stay ahead of trends in healthcare, bringing lower costs, and better outcomes to patients.”

East Hills Administrator Debra Hagendorn started the wheels in motion for total joint replacement at the new center, coordinating across all involved parties to ensure equipment, protocol and processes were in place for success before, during and after the surgeries. “We made it happen in a short period of time because everyone involved wanted to be able to provide patients with the benefits of coming to an outpatient facility -- as opposed to a hospital where they’d have a longer stay and exposure to sick people. For healthy patients, it’s a wonderful option for them to have the ability to go home right after surgery,” she said.

“The process for launching a total joint program requires collaboration across multiple disciplines and a dedicated group of physicians, says Stephanie Martin, Regent’s Vice President of Operations. She says approximately half of Regent centers across the country have implemented total joint programs, using a systematic, proprietary approach. Implemented at East Hills, the program provides a comprehensive pathway to address all phases of patient care.

Regent works closely with the steering committee made up of: surgeons, center leadership, and anesthesia; facilitates purchasing and support vendors to guide the process of developing protocols, implementing processes, and reviewing the details for a seamless and positive patient experience. The programs provide quality outcomes designed to return patients to the active lifestyle they desire without an inpatient stay.

“The success of our first two procedures was truly due to a team effort by the entire staff, from admissions through pre-op, anesthesia, operating room, recovery, and administration,” said Hagendorn. “It was all about the patient, about making them confident from the moment they walked in the door that they had made the right choice. And afterward, the feedback from them was they were so happy -- both patients are doing great. I really am very proud that we were able to accomplish this.”

Contact: Rosemary Gomez, 516-563-7965,


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