NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Is First Behavioral Health Hospital in the U.S. to Receive Formal Designation for Its Commitment to Patient-Centered Care

Planetree Designation Recognizes Hospital's Focus on Patient Comfort, Dignity, Empowerment and Well-Being

Dec 16, 2011


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Westchester Division has been formally named by Planetree Inc. as a "Planetree Designated Patient-Centered Hospital" in recognition of the Hospital's achievement and innovation in the delivery of patient-centered care.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester is the first behavioral health hospital in the nation to receive the designation, which was conferred on Nov. 2 at the Planetree Annual Conference in Nashville. Planetree is a nonprofit organization of more than 500 member hospitals and health care organizations that work to transform health care from the perspective of the patient by championing a model of care that focuses on personalizing, humanizing and demystifying health care for patients and their families.

"Patient-centered care is central to everything we do, and it is particularly important in a behavioral health setting. Creating an environment where patients feel respected and creatively engaged in their recovery promotes healing," says Dr. Philip J. Wilner, vice president and medical director of behavioral health at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. "We are very proud to be honored with this special designation and grateful to Planetree for their support."

Since becoming a Planetree member in 2003, NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester has enhanced its environment by offering a warmer, more inviting and comforting setting through a variety of enhancements:

  • In recent years, the main entrance has been renovated to include a welcome desk, a cozy seating area where one can enjoy soothing views offered through an elegant built-in fish tank, a chapel to provide a place for thoughts and prayer, a patient resource library and a small café.
  • Complementing the Hospital's bucolic 230-acre setting of beautifully tended grounds, winding roads and buildings designed by prominent architects are renovated courtyards and enhanced landscaping for the patient's enjoyment, as well as a labyrinth for meditation and reflection.
  • Patients have the opportunity to enjoy an array of cultural programs, including music and dance events, as well as contribute to a local in-house gallery designed to display patient artwork.
  • Patients are also nurtured with new menus of delicious and nutritious food options, and through their involvement in all aspects of food preparation and cooking groups.
  • Another valued offering is alternative and complementary medicine, such as aromatherapy, which can be used to improve the quality of sleep, and pet therapy with specially trained dogs who visit patients, young and old, to comfort and relax them.

"Along with Planetree's many benefits for patients, we are also committed to creating a culture that nurtures our staff. We want our employees to feel cared for and supported, because increased staff satisfaction is uplifting to everyone, especially as it positively impacts the patient experience," adds Linda Espinosa, R.N., M.S., vice president of patient care services at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division.

"The Planetree Designation is the only award that recognizes excellence in person-centeredness across the continuum of care," says Susan Frampton, president of Planetree Inc. "The designation signals to health care consumers that NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester 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."

All designation determinations are made by an independent committee of national health care experts and CEOs from previously designated Planetree hospitals. Designated hospitals are also nationally recognized by The Joint Commission, which has approved the designation program as one of the awards recognized on its Quality Check website in the special quality awards section.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.


Founded in 1978 by a patient in San Francisco, Planetree is today 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 health care settings throughout the United States, Canada 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 250 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.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division, opened in 1894, is one of the world's most advanced centers for psychiatric care. NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester serves children, adolescents, adults and the elderly with comprehensive outpatient, day treatment, partial hospitalization and inpatient services. In addition to clinical treatment, the Westchester Division is also a center for interdisciplinary medical research and education through its academic affiliate, Weill Cornell Medical College. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. For more information, visit

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Takla Boujaoude 212-821-0560