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Three Doctors Enhance Highland's Palliative Care Program with Certification

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dr. Mendelson

Three Highland Hospital physicians have achieved certification in Hospice & Palliative Medicine to assist with the hospital’s growing Palliative Care Program. Egan Allen, M.D., Joseph Nicholas, M.D., and Corey Romesser, M.D. received the certification that only about 4,200 doctors nationwide have obtained in this relatively new specialty.

Palliative care focuses on relief of pain, symptoms and stress during allstages of serious illness with the goal of helping people live more comfortably, and this type of care is in demand. With the expansion of Highland’s palliative care service in 2009, doctors anticipated about 160 consults annually. However, the program has seen nearly 60 percent more - about 250 patients a year.

Highland Hospital’s Director of Palliative Care Daniel Mendelson, M.D., says the addition of three qualified physicians is needed to support the increasing number of palliative patients and their families.

"We believe the need for palliative care services at Highland and across the country will continue to expand as the population ages, care complexity increases and as difficult choices become more common," said Dr. Mendelson. "Having more certified physicians will allow Highland to continue to be a community leader in palliative care."

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed palliative care combined with usual care for some terminal cancer patients led to better symptom control, less depression, and longer survival even though the patients actually received less aggressive overall care.  A new New York state law requires that all patients with a terminal illness receive information about palliative care because of its value for patients with serious illnesses.

Drs. Romesser, Nicholas and Allen join three other physicians, including Dr. Mendelson, as Highland’s core team for the palliative care service.

Dr. Nicholas has been with Highland for about six years. He is a hospitalist and an assistant professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Medicine. Originally from Syracuse, Dr. Nicholas lives in Pittsford.

Dr. Allen has been a Highland geriatric hospitalist since 2006.  He is also a senior instructor of clinical care at the URMC.  Dr. Allen comes from Madison, WI, but currently lives in Pittsford.

Dr. Romesser has been at Highland as a geriatric hospitalist and Medical Director of the Acute Care for Elders unit since 2007. Originally from Attica, Dr. Romesser currently lives in Churchville.

For more information about Highland’s Palliative Care Consultation Service, call (585) 341-0888.

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