CGD Center for MS Recognized as an Affiliated MS Comprehensive Care Center by National MS Society

CGD Center is one of first in nation to meet new criteria for patient-centered care by multiple health care providers covering a range of needs.

Aaron E. Miller, MD

 – December 31, 2009 /Press Release/  –– 

The Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis  is one of the first MS Centers in the nation to be recommended as an Affiliated Center for Comprehensive Care (ACCC) by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).  Recognizing that a Center for Comprehensive Care must be patient-centered and capable of addressing all the needs of persons with MS, the NMSS recently completed a two-year process in which it established stringent criteria that a center must meet in order to demonstrate its capability to deliver comprehensive care.  

This patient-focused effort was initiated by Dr. Aaron Miller, Medical Director of the CGD Center, in his role as Chairman of the National Clinical Advisory Board  (NCAB) of the NMSS and achieved approval by several other committees of the NMSS, including the Executive Committee of the NCAB, of which Dr. Fred Lublin, Director of the CGDCMS, is also a member.  Achieving the status of an ACCC requires that the Center be directed by a board certified physician (usually a neurologist) with demonstrated expertise in the care of people with MS.  In addition, the criteria recognize the critical presence in the Center of nurses with experience and expertise in MS.  At the CGD Center, nurse practitioners Aliza Ben-Zacharia and Jennifer Decker Reardon, both certified by the International Organization of MS Nurses and with years of experience in MS nursing, readily satisfied that requirement. 

Among the other criteria were the provision that an ACCC be capable of addressing the psychosocial needs of persons with MS and their families.  In addition to the role of the nurse practitioners in addressing the problems people affected by MS face, the CGD Center has two licensed social workers, Tova Epstein and Donna Siegel, available to help.  Dr. Jennifer Finkel, a psychiatrist trained in MS at the CGD Center and who has remained on staff, is perhaps the only psychiatrist in the United States with this unique background.

Recognizing that persons with MS often need the attention of other types of health care providers, the NMSS also requires that an ACCC have identified providers in many other disciplines who have experience in MS.  While these services need not be available on site, the ACCC must have established relationships with providers in such other areas as physical medicine and rehabilitation, urology, ophthalmology (preferably neuro-ophthalmology), and pain, among many others.

An ACCC must also have a close working relationship with the local chapter of the NMSS and, in order for the recommendation process to proceed, the Chapter must first review the Center and endorse its qualifications.  The Chapter then submits the documents recommending affiliation to a national Clinic Affiliation Review Committee, which makes the final decision.

The CGD Center has had a long partnership with the New York City/Southern New York Chapter of the NMSS and continues to receive both financial and other support from the Chapter.  Upon learning of the designation of the CGD Center as an ACCC, Director Fred Lublin commented, “We are very proud to be among the first MS centers in the nation to be designated by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as an Affiliated Comprehensive Care Center.  Achievement of this status is recognition of the fact that, at the CGD Center we always aim to put the patient first and are continually striving to find still better ways to address the varied and complex needs of persons with MS and their families.  The speedy and smooth manner through which the CGD Center was approved is testimony to the close and valued relationship our Center has with the New York City/Southern New York Chapter of the NMSS.”