Northern Westchester Hospital Awarded Designation as a Patient-Centered Hospital with Distinction by Planetree Organization

Northern Westchester Hospital Planetree Designated Patient-Centered Hospital with Distinction.

Joel Seligman, President and CEO of  Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH), is pleased to announce that NWH has again been formally designated by Planetree, Inc. as a “Planetree Designated® Patient-Centered Hospital with Distinction.” This designation recognizes Northern Westchester Hospital’s achievement and innovation in the delivery of patient-centered care, defined as an approach to healthcare in which providers partner with patients and families to identify and satisfy the full range of patient needs and preferences.

Nine years ago, NWH was among the first organizations nationwide to achieve the designation, which is awarded for a three year term. It has since, been re-designated three times with Distinction. Today, the hospital is one of only 80 organizations worldwide to receive the Patient-Centered Hospital Designation since the program’s launch in 2007, and one of only nine organizations to be “Designated with Distinction,” and that means NWH is not only a nationally recognized leader in patient-centered care, but that NWH is also a teaching hospital for this approach to care. NWH welcomes hospitals from around the world to share best practices and has assisted numerous hospitals in replicating patient-centered care programs in their facilities. “This recognition is a direct result of Northern Westchester Hospital’s sustained excellence in patient-centered care,” said Maria Hale, Vice President, Office of Patient Advocacy and Patient Centered Services, Northern Westchester Hospital.

“The Planetree Designation is the only award that recognizes excellence in person-centered care across the continuum of care,” said Susan Frampton, President of Planetree, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to transform healthcare from the perspective of the patient for almost 40 years. “The designation signals to healthcare consumers that Northern Westchester Hospital is a hospital where providers partner with patients and families, and where patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being are prioritized with providing top-quality clinical care.”

The criteria that a hospital must satisfy to achieve designation reflect what patients, family members and healthcare professionals in hundreds of focus groups held across the country say matters most to them during a healthcare experience. This qualitative data aligns with the growing evidence-base for patient-centered care, and establishes the Planetree Designation as a concrete framework for defining and measuring excellence in patient-centeredness.

Northern Westchester Hospital is committed to creating innovative programs and services that are fundamentally attentive to the needs of patients and their families, and their feedback is used to design and implement these programs. “I am incredibly proud of our staff who strive to meet all of our patients’ needs – mind, body, and spirit – each day,” said Mr. Seligman. “High-quality patient-centered care is the cornerstone of the care we deliver at Northern Westchester Hospital, and we practice patient-centered care not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is inextricably tied to optimal clinical outcomes for our patients.”

More than 60 specific criteria address components of a patient-centered healthcare experience, including patient-provider interactions, access to information, family involvement, the physical environment, food and nutrition, spirituality, arts and entertainment, and integrative therapies. In addition, the criteria focus on how the hospital is supporting its staff, opportunities for staff, patients and families to have a voice in the way care is delivered, and the ways that the hospital is reaching beyond its walls to care for its community.

Guided by these core components of a patient-centered culture, over the past 14 years, NWH has implemented a substantial number of initiatives and practices designed to enhance both the patient and staff experience. 

To become a Planetree Designated® Patient-Centered Hospital, Northern Westchester Hospital had to demonstrate that it has successfully implemented programs that meet the spirit and intent of the designation criteria. As part of the re-designation process — which included a site visit by representatives from Planetree — Northern Westchester Hospital was asked to demonstrate that specific patient-centered practices and policies have been sustained over time, including non-restrictive visiting hours and an open medical chart policy, widespread staff involvement in the implementation of patient-centered care, and incorporation of the patient and family perspective in hospital planning efforts. In addition, the site visit team validated that the hospital’s physical environment is a healing one engaging all of the human senses.  The process also included a review of the hospital’s performance on publicly reported patient satisfaction and quality of care measures.

“A strength of the designation program has been the integration of qualitative and quantitative measures,” explained Frampton. “Hospitals in the U.S. awarded designation are held accountable for exceeding benchmarks for both quality and patient satisfaction.”

All designation determinations are made by an independent committee of international healthcare experts and CEOs from previously designated hospitals. 

About Northern Westchester Hospital
Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH), a proud member of Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System), provides quality, patient-centered care that is close to home through a unique combination of medical expertise, leading-edge technology, and a commitment to humanity. Over 650 highly-skilled physicians, state-of-the-art technology and professional staff of caregivers are all in place to ensure that you and your family receive treatment in a caring, respectful and nurturing environment. NWH has established extensive internal quality measurements that surpass the standards defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) National Hospital Quality Measures. Our high quality standards help to ensure that the treatment you receive at NWH is among the best in the nation. For more information, please visit and connect with us on Facebook.

About Planetree
Founded in 1978 by a patient in San Francisco, today Planetree is an internationally recognized leader in the growing movement to transform the health care experience by considering health care facilities, processes and protocols from the perspective of the patient. In diverse healthcare settings throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Europe, Planetree is demonstrating that patient-centered care is not only an empowering philosophy, but a viable, vital, and cost-effective model of care. Today, the Planetree membership network is a global community of more than 700 acute care hospitals, continuing care facilities, outpatient clinics, and consumer health libraries.  The Planetree model is implemented in a variety of settings, ranging from 25-bed critical access hospitals to large urban medical centers with more than 2,000 beds.

Gretchen Mullin 
[email protected]