Cortland Surgical Center’s Commitment to Putting Patients First

By Jenna Haines
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

This local otolaryngology ambulatory surgery clinic is dedicated to providing its patients with compassionate, state-of-the-art care at prices they can afford.

Staff at Cortland Surgical Center

Established in 2014, Cortland Surgical Center specializes in delivering quality surgical care for both adults and children who are experiencing ear, nose, throat, sinus or neck-related problems. The center bears The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and was selected as one of New York’s 50 best small businesses to work for in 2017.

Traci Woodworth, RN, with Marc Settineri, MD, anesthesiologist

Cortland Surgical Center’s Founder, Manoj Kumar, MD, functions as both the owner and practicing otolaryngologist. He is assisted by a skilled and experienced clinical and support staff, including Marc Settineri, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist with over 25 years of experience; Deborah Warner, NP, RNFA, the surgical first assist; three full-time and two part-time registered nurses who are certified in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced cardiac life support; two operating room technicians who are certified in surgical technology and have received continuing education in infection control; and one technician who is a certified registered central service technician.

“Our excellent team of providers is dedicated to working together to provide patients with exceptional care,” says Kristin Darnell, RN, BSN, Director of Nursing at Cortland Surgical Center. “We empower our patients by educating them and keeping an open line of communication throughout the surgical process. It is often noted by patients how well the staff works together and the comradery we have among the providers. It is definitely a team approach to caring for our patients.”

Dr. Settineri agrees.

“I joined the Cortland Surgical Center team in 2015, and it was an easy choice for me,” Dr. Settineri says. “I have the opportunity to work with an exceptional team of healthcare providers. We share a genuine chemistry with one another that is unique for a surgical center, and that positivity impacts the way we treat our patients.”

Cortland Surgical Center also works in tandem with CNY Medical Associates, a multispecialty group practice that provides ear, nose and throat (ENT), general surgery and pulmonary services. Conveniently located in the same building, Cortland Surgical Center and CNY Medical Associates’ partnership improves the continuum of care and streamlines the process for patients who would otherwise have to go back and forth between multiple medical offices.

“To this day, we have never used an agency to collect a foregone debt. We realize that, sometimes, patients do not pay because they simply have no means to do so, and that should never be a reason to deny care.”
— Manoj Kumar, MD, Founder of Cortland Surgical Center and otolaryngologist

Comprehensive Surgical Services

Featuring a modern surgical suite, a preoperative suite with multiple patient bays and a sizable post-anesthesia care unit, Cortland Surgical Center offers patients a comprehensive range of outpatient otolaryngology procedures, including minimally invasive ENT surgeries, endoscopic sinus surgeries, and head and neck cancer surgeries.

“As an otolaryngologist, my main responsibilities are protecting my patients’ well-being and providing comprehensive surgical care,” Dr. Kumar says. “I do routine ENT surgeries, such as ear tubes and tonsillectomies, and complex cases, such as thyroidectomies, parotidectomies and limited neck dissections. Over the past several years, we have also performed hundreds of endoscopic sinus surgeries and endolaryngeal surgeries, as well as microscopic ear surgeries, such as mastoidectomies and tympanoplasties. In sum, I would say we perform an average of 1,000 surgeries every year.”

To help ensure patient safety and improve surgical precision, surgeries at Cortland Surgical Center are performed with the use of advanced technological tools. The image-guided navigation system, for instance, is often used during sinus surgeries, such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery. It provides the surgeon with real-time images during the procedure, allowing the surgeon to see the instrument’s precise location inside the patient’s head.

The NIM 3.0, on the other hand, is a nerve-monitoring system that allows the surgeon to locate and identify nerves in order to avoid unnecessary nerve damage during the operation. It is often used during parotidectomies and thyroidectomies.

An Improved Patient Experience

In addition to using cutting-edge technology and regularly implementing changes to patient care based on the latest published studies on surgical methodology, Cortland Surgical Center focuses on providing patients with an individualized, stress-free experience.

“We show our patients that we genuinely care for them and work hard to ensure that they have a safe, successful surgery,” Darnell says. “We provide patients and their families with unlimited support before and after surgery. We have found that educating patients and their families about what to expect on the day of the surgery and afterward reduces a lot of anxiety. Family members are provided with snacks while they wait for their loved ones, and children are separated from their parents for the shortest time possible. We also tell jokes and have train whistles that kids can blow on their way into the operating room, which helps ease the fears of surgery and incites a lot of joy and laughter among the staff.”

As part of this demonstrated commitment to creating a relaxing environment for patients, Dr. Kumar and his team have also transformed the office itself into a peaceful oasis.

“Having to undergo any surgery can be a nerve-wracking experience, and patients are often confronted with unfriendly, white-washed hospital walls and a very business-as-usual attitude,” Dr. Kumar says. “We try to take that approach and stand it on its head. Our entire reception room, clinical beds and operating rooms are built to resemble a scene out of nature. Jungle vines line the walls, and white clouds hang overhead. Soft music plays as patients are taken back into the operating room, and children are given stuffed animals to play and cuddle with prior to their operation. Our staff is known to go the extra mile to make patients feel at home — to make patients feel like family.”

“We are dedicated to taking the extra time to attend to all aspects of patient care throughout the surgical process. We understand that each patient has individual needs and personal experiences, and that those factors play a role in the many aspects of healing.”
— Kristin Darnell, RN, BSN, Director of Nursing at Cortland Surgical Center

Woodworth with Deanne Neville, RN

The Value of Price Transparency

Putting patients first also means understanding patients’ financial needs. This is why Dr. Kumar is an advocate for price transparency and why all of the prices (including both the surgeon’s and anesthesiologist’s fees) for Cortland Surgical Center’s various procedures are publicly listed online.

In addition to highlighting the fact that Cortland Surgical Center is one of the least expensive surgery centers in the country for many procedures, such as thyroidectomies, being transparent with pricing allows patients to see exactly what they are paying for instead of forcing them to simultaneously shoulder the anxiety of both an upcoming procedure and the unknown financial impact of their operation.

“Pricing can often be a very taboo topic of discussion between clinical providers and patients,” Dr. Kumar says. “However, hospital bills can pile up quickly, and maybe the worst time to have to worry about expenses is when you are faced with a serious medical issue. We believe it is very important for every patient to know his or her rights and options when it comes to health care. Whether it is a serious operation or an elective procedure, our patients can easily see just how much the surgery might cost. We would never book a vacation or buy a TV without first thinking about the price, and we believe that same access to information and ability to choose ought to hold true for medical procedures. Often, knowing the price can help patients set a better course for their financial futures.”

“From door to discharge, there is always someone available to both the family and the patient. Whether it is a cup of hot coffee for a family member in the waiting room or an extra blanket for a patient in recovery, we really try to make everyone feel at home from start to finish.”
— Marc Settineri, MD, anesthesiologist at Cortland Surgical Center

For more information on Cortland Surgical Center, call 607-662-4521 or visit