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Montefiore in the News

July 14, 2015

Medical Providers Create Individualized Treatment Plans and Long-Term Care Transition Recommendations to Help Improve Management of Debilitating Conditions Like Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Sclerosis

NEW YORK (July 14, 2015) – Montefiore Health System today announced that a multidisciplinary physician team has launched Function, a collaborative care group to serve children and adults with chronic disabilities of the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal or urological systems. The new group will provide consultations to ease complications associated with conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy.

Patients seen at Function will first discuss their medical history and complex medical needs with specialists from neurosurgery, urology, orthopedic surgery, rehabilitation medicine and genetic counseling. The specialists will then collaborate to develop an individualized treatment plan for patients and their families, in addition to providing education about the disability and its treatment options. The team will work with primary care providers to implement long and short-term plans to help patients live their lives to the fullest. 

“Patients with debilitating chronic conditions frequently experience complications that interfere with their daily function. Accessing the services or medical expertise needed to manage these complications can be difficult,” said Rick Abbott, M.D., Professor, Departments of Clinical Neurosurgery and Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who leads the Function team at Montefiore. “Function includes a dedicated team of multidisciplinary experts who can help provide optimal assessments and seamless management of chronic disabilities through integrated care at Montefiore.”

Chronic disabilities, both congenital and due to injury, affect a large number of children and adults. In the United States 800,000 people experience a stroke every year, multiple sclerosis affects 400,000 people, injuries to the nervous system impact more than 200,000, and cerebral palsy occurs in three out of every 1,000 live births. Finding comprehensive care close to home can be a challenge so patients with these conditions tend to move from one health care provider to another as they age, seeking effective relief for their disabilities. Function will be a constant presence for patients and will help ensure consistent communication between primary care providers and specialists, while eliminating the need for patients to make multiple office visits to see various specialists.

Each patient’s treatment plan will be designed to improve function and overall quality of life. A variety of treatment options and therapies will be considered by the team, including orthotics and assistive devices, BOTOX and alcohol injections, nerve surgeries for muscle tightness (spasticity), joint reconstruction,  pumps for direct delivery of medications to the spinal cord, physical and occupational therapy, and oral medications.

“In many cases patients with disabilities are treated separately by several specialists with little or no coordination. The specialists at Function have extensive experience with the myriad of treatments available to manage chronic disabilities in all age groups. They work together to provide coordinated interventions to help their patients lead full, meaningful lives as contributing members of their communities,” said Dr. Abbott.

The Function team is located at Montefiore’s Hutchinson Campus at Hutchinson Metro Center. For more information visit – or call Kerry Maleska, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, at 1-844-GET-FUNCTION (1-844-438-3862) or 1-718-920-7707.


About Montefiore Health System
Montefiore is a premier academic health system and the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Combining nationally-recognized clinical excellence with a population health perspective that focuses on the comprehensive needs of the communities it serves, Montefiore delivers coordinated, compassionate, science-driven care where, when and how patients need it most. Montefiore consists of eight hospitals and an extended care facility with a total of 2,747 beds, a School of Nursing, and state-of-the-art primary and specialty care provided through a network of more than 150 locations across the region, including the largest school health program in the nation and a home health program.  The Children's Hospital at Montefiore is consistently named in U.S. News' "America's Best Children's Hospitals."  Montefiore's partnership with Einstein advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. The health system derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community, and continues to be on the frontlines of developing innovative approaches to care.  For more information please visit Follow us on Twitter; like us on Facebook; view us on YouTube.