Celebration of healthcare excellence set

Clarice Nichols, Interfaith Partnership For The Homeless volunteer and outreach coordinator, shares a moment with one of Interfaith’s guests. (Photo submitted)

AMSTERDAM — Longtime Amsterdam pediatrician Dr. Kurt Konieczny, and Interfaith Partnership For The Homeless, will be honored by the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare at the 21st annual Celebration of Healthcare Excellence, set for Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn, Johnstown.

Along with recognition for community members and organizations, the event serves as the foundation’s annual meeting and is the setting for St. Mary’s Healthcare to honor employees who have won the organization’s Values In Practice monthly award throughout the year. Two special VIP of the Year awards will be given to Yahaira Myers, registered nurse, as clinical VIP of the Year; and to Jose Serrano, for support VIP of the Year.

The Excellence in Healthcare Awards were established in 1996 as a community expression of appreciation for bringing healthcare of compassion and excellence to the people of Fulton and Montgomery counties. The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of the honorees.

Dr. Koniezny will be honored with the Medical Professional of the Year award.

After graduation from St. Louis University Medical School, and his residency in Hanover, N.H., Dr. Konieczny began his practice in Amsterdam in 1977 and was committed to care for children and families until his retirement in 2015. His office was located in a converted garage behind his home. He was well known for being available to his patients at any time of the day or night. His commitment to children was expressed, from his perspective, that he was charged with “standing between patients and the diseases that could hurt them.”

Interfaith Partnership For The Homeless will be honored with the Non-Profit Organization of the Year award for its 33-year commitment to the homeless and vulnerable members of the community, and as a recognition of its role in the creation of Danielle’s House in Amsterdam. Danielle’s House was begun in 2010 as an emergency shelter by St. Mary’s Healthcare and several other community and city agencies.

In 2011, IPH assumed ownership and operation of Danielle’s House as part of its extensive shelter system, based largely in Albany. Danielle’s House is the only homeless shelter in Fulton and Montgomery counties. IPH’s mission is to address the needs of the homeless and low-income community by providing a continuum of services to encourage self-sufficiency, empowerment and stability.

The organization is led by Janine Robitaille, executive director.

Myers, of St. Mary’s Healthcare’s Wilkinson Residential Health Care Facility will be named Clinical VIP of the Year.

Myers, a member of the nursing administration team, was chosen because of her commitment to the organization, as well as her drive to continuously improve her skills and share knowledge with colleagues. She was called “a role model to others,” who is willing to teach fellow associates, “so they too, can perform at their greatest capacity.”

Serrano, a member of the housekeeping department, is the support VIP of the Year. Serrano is usually assigned to the emergency department during the night shift.

“Not only is he kind and courteous to all staff and families, the standard of work he produces is amazing,” according to his nomination paperwork, “We are an organization that is successful based on all parts of our pieces working together. Our ED is considerably better for the wonderful work Jose does.”

Additional monthly St. Mary’s VIP winners to be recognized include Christine Muscatello — patient registration — gastroenterology (December 2015); Christy Eggleston — admissions coordinator — Wilkinson; Ann Menge — coder — health information management; Catherine Canale — RN — endoscopy; Chris Dulysz — cook — dietary; Dardi Handy — transport aide — imaging; Megan McMillion — phlebotomist — laboratory; Faith Stark — specialist — Birthplace; Cindy Adamkoski — cook — dietary; Michele Brownell — phlebotomist — laboratory; Julie Crouse — support analysis — financial services; Julita Ortiz — CNA — Wilkinson; Miriam Nieves — housekeeping — RAO OPP; Brian Dobson — RN — William Hall; Ashley Duross — RN — Cancer Care; Tonya Peabody — LPN OB-GYN; Reynaldo Higgins — phlebotomist — laboratory; Michelle Wetsky — LPN — cancer care; Kathy Smith — patient registration — behavioral health; Joyce Marcellino — RN — inpatient behavioral health; Brittany Pearl — social worker — Wilkinson; and Lesley Montenaro — data/case manager — cancer services.

According to the news release, the community is invited to attend the Celebration of Healthcare Excellence. The event will be held Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn, Route 30A in Johnstown, beginning with cocktails at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person.

Reservations may be made online at www.smha.org/the-foundation/excellence-awards. Or, contact the Foundation of St. Mary’s Healthcare at 841-7478.