When treatment isn’t available at another healthcare institution, hospitals, referring physicians, and patients often turn to NYU Langone Health for highly specialized care, and they’re doing so in record numbers. In March 2022, 442 adult patients were transferred or admitted directly to 1 of our inpatient locations—a 45 percent increase in volume since the same month last year. By the end of 2022, some 4,800 patients are projected to make NYU Langone their go-to destination. About 60 percent of these transfers originated at nearby institutions that can’t provide appropriate care or don’t have the confidence of the patients. The remaining 40 percent are intra-facility transfers from within the health system.
The trend is attributed to ever-expanding clinical services in areas such as critical care, general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, advanced heart failure, neurology, and transplant surgery. Transfers are coordinated by the Comprehensive Transfer Center, established in 2018 to screen a growing number of requests. On call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week are dedicated medical directors who clinically evaluate requests for transfer and a team of nurses trained to handle any type of case that coordinates safe logistics.
The volume of transfers has surged as the NYU Langone Transplant Institute performs ever more surgeries and clinical evaluations. “Our outcomes for heart and kidney transplants are among the best in the country,” notes Bruce E. Gelb, MD, assistant professor of surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and one of the Comprehensive Transfer Center’s medical directors. “We’re also in demand because we frequently accept transplant candidates who have been declined by other centers but qualify under our own protocols.” Dr. Gelb partners with Jacklyn M. Hagedorn, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, for transfers. The medical directors confer with referring physicians and NYU Langone attending doctors to ensure that patients who qualify can be transported safely.
“NYU Langone has a reputation among its peers for being willing to go above and beyond what other hospitals might do for patients who require exceptional treatment,” says Lisa Kesting, senior director of the Comprehensive Transfer Center, “and that’s what makes people reach out to us.” Patients with a variety of medical conditions have been transferred from every inhabited continent, though most are from the tristate region and arrive by a private ambulance service contracted by NYU Langone. About 60 percent of transferred patients require specialized care or a complex procedure, but their condition is stable enough for arrival within 8 hours. Some 17 percent are deemed critical and are prioritized to arrive within 3 hours because they require an immediate intervention.
“NYU Langone has a reputation among its peers for being willing to go above and beyond what other hospitals might do for patients who require exceptional treatment, and that’s what makes people reach out to us.”—Lisa Kesting, Senior Director of the Comprehensive Transfer Center
When the Comprehensive Transfer Center was established, its leaders studied best practices from various industries, creating what is now a nationwide model. “What sets us apart is that we’re exceedingly metric driven,” says Fritz François, MD, executive vice president and vice dean, and chief of hospital operations. He cites NYU Langone’s attention to quality and safety as the foundation of its overall mortality rate, which is among the lowest in the country. “We’re consistent in our performance,” he says. “Other hospitals recognize this, and so do patients.”