YNHH named as one of the top 20 hospitals in the United States

us news honor rollYale New Haven Hospital continues to rank among the top U.S. hospitals with its placement on this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s national Honor Roll – among the top 20 hospitals in the nation. Of the nearly 5,000 hospitals surveyed in their annual “America’s Best Hospitals” list, YNHH ranks nationally in 12 of 16 specialties. 

“Yale New Haven Hospital’s selection to this year’s U.S. News Honor Roll recognizes the outstanding work our clinical teams are doing to provide the best possible care,” said Marna Borgstrom, CEO, Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Health. “This honor spotlights the very talented team of physicians, nurses and staff who provide the highest level of care to patients and families hand-in-hand with innovative research in an academic environment.” 

In each of the 12 specialties, YNHH gained greater national prominence over last year’s rankings. Psychiatry (#9) is now ranked in the nation’s Top 10 while Geriatrics and Pulmonology are both ranked at #16. Ear, Nose and Throat (#19), Kidney Disorders (#20), Diabetes and Endocrinology (#24), Urology (#30), Neurology and Neurosurgery (#38), Gynecology (#39), Gastroenterology and Cancer (#45 each) and Heart and Heart Surgery (#48). 

“We are very pleased and honored to be named to the U.S. News & World Report ’America’s Best Hospitals’ honor roll,” said Thomas Balcezak, MD, chief medical officer for YNHHS. “This recognition reflects what all of us already know at Yale New Haven Hospital – we provide outstanding safe care to our patients. This designation is a reflection of the on-going commitment each and every one of us have to those we serve.” 

According to U.S. News & World Report, hard numbers support the rankings in most specialties – death rates, patient safety, procedure volume and other objective data. The entire national listing is available online at U.S. News & World Report.

A sure shot to prevent shingles

Louise had been complaining for a few days of pain and itching on the right side of her face. When an irritating rash and blisters broke out, the 70-year-old feared the worst and immediately scheduled an appointment to see her primary care physician, who confirmed her suspicion: shingles.

What is shingles? Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a common infection of the nerves. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk, and the likelihood of developing shingles increases with age. After a person has had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in certain nerves for many years. 

Shingles triggers a painful rash or small blisters. It can appear anywhere on the body, but typically on only one side of the face or body. Burning or shooting pain and tingling or itching are early signs of infection. Each person may experience symptoms differently. 

Early symptoms may include:

  • Rash, which typically appears 1 to 5 days after symptoms begin. The rash initially looks like small, red spots that turn into blisters. Blisters typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clear up within 2 to 4 weeks 
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling ill
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Headache

Louise’s doctor prescribed a medication used to treat viral infections. She also suggested that Louise take an over-the-counter pain reliever and apply calamine lotion to the rash to soothe the itching. A month later, the symptoms were gone, but Louise’s doctor made one more strong recommendation: Get the new FDA-approved vaccine called Shingrix, which is extremely effective at preventing shingles and the long-term nerve pain experienced by so many.

Recommended guidelines by the Center for Disease Control are simple: If you are 50 or older, ask your doctor or care provider for the Shingrix vaccine. The CDC also recommends that people get the vaccine even if they’ve already had shingles, because you can get the disease more than once. Shingrix is recommended over the previous shingles vaccine, Zostavax, since it is much more effective and provides lifelong immunity.

Shingrix consists of two injected doses, two to six months apart. Your primary care provider may have the vaccine, but keep in mind that many pharmacies carry it and the vaccine doesn’t require a prescription. Either way, call your health insurance provider ahead of time to see if your policy will pay for Shingrix. Most insurance plans do.

After receiving the vaccine, some people may experience side effects such as redness, swelling or rash at the injection site. Other temporary side effects may include tiredness, muscle pain, headache, low-grade fever, stomach pain or nausea. Here are some other facts about shingles: 

  • Nearly 1 in 3 Americans will develop shingles. 
  • About 1 in 10 people who get shingles develop nerve pain that lasts for months, years or even a lifetime after the rash goes away.
  • Shingles may lead to blindness, pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death.

Talk to your doctor about whether the Shingrix vaccine is right for you. If you need a referral for a primary care physician near you, call 888-700-6543 or use the Find a Doctor feature on our website.

The Keto Diet: Good for you, or a dangerous fad?

With a growing list of celebrity endorsers and a legion of devotees the ketogenic (keto for short) diet has become one of the most popular weight loss methods today, but medical experts are increasingly concerned about the impact this diet has on people’s overall health.

The diet takes its name from the word ketosis, which is the state the human body goes into when it burns fat. As the body burns fat it produces ketones, organic compounds, which muscles and other tissues use for fuel. The keto diet attempts to supercharge this process by restricting the amount of carbohydrates a person consumes so that the body turns to its fat stores for fuel. 

High-profile testimonials from celebrities like Al Roker, Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian add momentum to the diet’s rise in popularity. However medical experts warn that while initial results may seem impressive, dieters’ overall health may suffer in the long run.

The problem that medical experts see with the diet is its restrictive nature. Following a keto diet involves heavy restrictions on carbohydrates in the sugars, starches and fiber found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. The result is dieters consume disproportionate amounts of protein and fat and the body doesn’t get enough fiber. 

The keto diet is very similar to a popular diet from several years ago called the Atkins diet. Fad diets have come and gone for decades, but expert medical advice for losing weight has remained incredibly consistent. Physicians and dietitians continue to insist that a balanced diet of fresh foods, portion control and reasonable exercise is the key to healthy weight loss.

Eating a healthy diet is essential for people of every age. But as you age, doing so is especially important. To see how much you know about good nutrition, take this Senior Nutrition Quiz

The importance of Medicare annual wellness visits 

Medicare covers an annual wellness visit to review your current condition, prevent new medical problems and provide advice to help you stay as healthy as possible. Yale New Haven Health encourages all Medicare beneficiaries to have an annual wellness visit yearly. 

Your visit will include the following:

  • Screening and risk assessment 
  • Recommended testing, such as mammograms and colonoscopies
  • Discussion about your medical problems and treatments
  • Screening for signs of memory loss or dementia
  • Reviewing your height, weight and blood pressure

The annual wellness visit addresses many of the same topics as an annual physical exam, and covers additional areas like the health-risk assessment. The annual wellness visit does not include a physical exam or lab work. There may be additional costs for more testing of new or chronic medical conditions.

Traditional Medicare covers the annual wellness visit but not the annual physical exam. Medicare Advantage plans cover both. Many patients choose to have their annual wellness exam combined with a follow-up visit (at the standard copay) for a more comprehensive visit. Ask your primary care physician or care team member which schedule of visits is right for you.

Many companies now offer these services outside of your primary care office. It may seem convenient to use a mobile unit or walk-in center to assess your wellness, but your primary care office has the best understanding of your health.  Schedule time with your primary care office to review your wellness goals and create a health plan that meets your needs. 

For more information on your specific preventive benefits, refer to your Medicare Advantage plan or visit the Medicare website.

Free blood pressure screenings

More than half of all Americans over 60 have high blood pressure — and many more are at risk of developing it, according to statistics from the American Heart Association. YNHH offers free blood pressure screenings at many community sites. Call 203-789-3275 for a list of locations and times or for more information.

Are you at risk? Read more about high blood pressure in our health library.

Free courtyard concerts celebrate summer 

The Yale New Haven Hospital Auxiliary will sponsor “Notes at Noon,” a summer music concert series, on the following Fridays from noon - 1 pm: 

  • Aug. 2: Sambeleza, Brazilian bossa nova jazz 
  • Aug. 16: Todd Lewis Kramer, Americana, folk singer, songwriter and guitarist  

The concerts will be held in Hunter Courtyard, located at the corner of York and Cedar streets in New Haven (weather permitting). Attendance is free. For details, contact the YNHH Auxiliary at 203-688-5717 or auxiliary@ynhh.org

Hit the trail with YNHH doctors

Walk and chat with local doctors as part of Yale New Haven Health’s Get Healthy Walk ‘N Talk with a Doc. Walks are each Saturday in August from 9 - 10:30 am at the Farmington Canal Greenway Trail in New Haven. Walks begin at the entrance on the corner of Shelton Avenue and Starr Street and last approximately one hour. Parking is available at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, 280 Starr St., New Haven Please arrive by 8:45 am on each walk day. For more information, email Andy Orefice or call 203-688-5671. To learn more about Get Healthy CT, a coalition dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles by removing the barriers to healthy eating and physical activity, visit the Get Healthy CT website.

Referrals for physicians and surgeons

YNHH provides free information about and referrals to more than 2,600 affiliated physicians 24 hours a day. Call 888-700-6543 or visit our Find a Doctor feature on the hospital website for information on physician specialties, office hours and locations as well as insurance plans accepted. YNHH physicians represent more than 70 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, including internal medicine/family practice, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Need blood work? We’re in your neighborhood

When your physician orders blood work or you need to schedule a blood test, Yale New Haven Health makes it easy with blood draw stations conveniently located in your community. No appointment is necessary and all major insurance plans are accepted.

Please note: A requisition form is required. Our blood draw stations honor requisitions from other labs.

Find a location that's convenient on this list of blood draw locations on our website.

MyChart: Your medical and health information in one place

There is a lot of talk about electronic medical records – and why you should be able to see them. Put away the paper files because Yale New Haven Health patients can see portions of their EMR online. It’s called MyChart. Your medical information is safe, secure and available 24/7. MyChart includes your medical history, most laboratory and test results, appointment information, medications, allergies, immunizations and other health information.

With MyChart you can schedule appointments with your doctor, request or renew prescriptions, see your billing and insurance information and send and receive secure, confidential email messages with your doctor’s office. Ask your healthcare provider for a MyChart brochure or your MyChart Activation Code, and then go to the MyChart website and select “Sign Up Now.”

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Make a lasting impact at YNHH

Help support the mission of Yale New Haven Hospital with a donation! Your contributions support vital programs, services and facilities within the hospital and help keep Yale New Haven at the forefront of innovative treatment. When you make a gift to YNHH, you are part of the advanced medicine and compassionate commitment that touch so many lives in our community.

Billing questions?

Yale New Haven Hospital offers financial counseling to patients and families. Spanish-speaking counselors are available. Additionally, evening sessions are scheduled once a month — the next two are Monday, Aug. 19 and Monday, Sept. 16 from 5 - 7 pm. To make an appointment with a financial counselor, call 203-688-2046.