A Healthy Collaboration

The Cayuga Wellness Center was the product of a collaboration between Cayuga Medical Center and a pair of local developers, Tim and Terry Ciaschi. Hospital administrators were already exploring ways to improve the overall health and well-being of community residents when the Ciaschis approached Cayuga Medical Center with their concept of creating a medically based fitness center.

“The timing was coincidental but perfect,” says John Rudd, president and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center and the Cayuga Health System. “Together we looked at how we could integrate services in one comprehensive facility that included physical therapy, health and fitness, sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, and massage therapy.”

As the hospital and the Ciaschis pursued the creation of a medically based fitness center, the hospital began work on a health and wellness program to help people make lifestyle changes and improve their health through stress management, proper nutrition, weight loss, exercise, and tobacco cessation.

The resulting program became the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, which would over time complement and integrate well with the services planned for Island Health & Fitness.

Networking provides added value

When the 65,000-square-foot complex first opened, the programs at Cayuga Wellness Center operated independently, focusing on their own specialties while they evolved. The programs have since integrated their services to create a more holistic approach. A physical therapy patient can easily transition into an exercise class at Island Health & Fitness and receive weight-loss counseling at the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living (CCHL). An athlete being treated for an injury at Cayuga Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance can conveniently schedule a medical massage at Rasa Spa to help with the healing process and be referred for evaluation and treatment by a board-certified physical therapist. Networking reaps clear benefits for everyone, as the data show that nearly 18,500 people used services at the center last year.

“I think it’s a significant accomplishment that the various entities in the building are collaborating so successfully now that we have a strong foundation,” says Rachel Hogancamp, managing partner at Rasa Spa. “Most spas function quite independently. The possibilities for partnerships in the Cayuga Wellness Center are a big part of what makes this location so appealing. I’m very excited about what’s to come.”

“It’s true,” agrees Christine Cummings, general manager of Island Health & Fitness. “People coming to our center can take advantage of one-stop shopping for all of their fitness and wellness needs. Our clients enter a continuum of care and support because our professional teams are communicating with one another.”

As the five entities have grown over the past decade, it has become easier to o‹er integrated programs at the Cayuga Wellness Center. The physical therapy program, for example, has more than doubled in size, with 13 therapists now o‹ffering such specialties as aquatic therapy, women’s health, strength and conditioning, spine care, hand therapy, and manual therapy. “We have enough people with the right specializations and experience here to help drive the collaborative nature of the center,” says physical therapy director Brian Lee, PT, OCS, CSCS. An additional eight physical therapists, two physical therapy assistants, two speech therapists, and an occupational therapist staff‹ the Brentwood therapy offi“ce, providing rehabilitation for orthopedic and neurologic conditions.

The Cayuga Wellness Center is all about collaboration and teamwork. “Our collective goal at Cayuga Wellness Center is to keep people healthy,” says Dr. Andrew Getzin, clinical director at Cayuga Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance. “Look at the things you need to be healthy: you need to eat right, get su“fficient sleep, and exercise. Those are the three most important things, and we can help you with them here.”

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