CNNH Profiled in Philadelphia Inquirer

Reprinted courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer…

How about treating yourself to a shopping spree after getting good news at your annual physical?

That opportunity has arrived, as more mall spaces are being used as medical offices and health centers to resuscitate struggling suburban malls.

Examples in the Philadelphia area include Main Line Health Center at Exton Square Mall, Suburban Health Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall, and the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH) at Voorhees Town Center.

Retail and real estate experts say the trend is on the rise, especially among malls looking to fill space vacated by traditional retailers with new tenants to generate rental income and increase traffic.


Steve Downey, 47, a cancer survivor from West Chester, is used to getting his blood work done at Main Line Health Center at Exton Square Mall in Chester County every four months. Downey said he followed his physician when he and the center moved to the mall two years ago.

“It’s close to work,” said Downey, who works in health-care IT in Malvern. “It never really felt awkward since there is a separate entrance. You really don’t have to go through the mall.”

Garrick Brown, vice president for retail research of the Americas for Cushman & Wakefield, said the number of health-care providers – including urgent-care centers – using retail space was way up overall.

He cited Denver-based DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. – one of the country’s largest kidney-care companies – opening between 100 and 150 locations annually. Most are in quasi-retail or actual retail spaces inside community or neighborhood centers.


“But movement into malls is a new trend – one that no doubt will grow,” Brown said. “The big question is if we may start to see entire health-care campuses moving into struggling malls. This has not happened in large numbers yet, but we do see this as a likely trend ahead.”

At ailing Class B and C malls, the conversion of vacated retail space to medical offices has already started.

“Adaptive reuse is the name of the game when we are talking about survival for many of the hardest-hit shopping centers in the United States,” Brown said.

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) owns both Plymouth Meeting Mall and Exton Square Mall, and negotiated the leases for Suburban Health Center and Main Line Health Center.

“This was an opportunity we recognized a few years ago, and while we are selective in its deployment, we know there are synergies between health care and retail, where customers require convenience, access, and comfort,” said PREIT CEO Joe Coradino. “For retail centers, adding health-care uses can offer a convenient new amenity for existing customers in an environment where we are looking to deliver unique offerings, and also bring new customers to our door that are pressed for time and looking to pack some errands in.”


Real estate experts say there are benefits for both parties.

“Health-care providers are looking for quick ramp-up space, thanks to the extra demand on their systems they have seen since the implementation of Obamacare,” Brown said. “Urgent-care and triage centers particularly need a lot of space, and retail space fits the bill for many of them.”

It did for Main Line Health Center when it moved into a 32,000-square-foot space at Exton Square Mall in 2014.

“The vast majority of our existing patients followed us to the new location at the mall,” said Main Line Health spokeswoman Mary Kate Coghlan. Among the perks: complimentary valet patient parking, ample parking dedicated to patients of the health center, extended hours on nights and weekends, and a one-stop registration hub for all appointments and testing.

Voorhees Office Exterior

Malls are typically close to population centers and located on public transit lines, which make them attractive to health providers, said Andrew Maguire, a real estate partner at McCausland Keen & Buckman in Devon, who negotiates leases for a variety of retail landlords and health-care tenants nationally.

“Malls of all shapes and sizes, traditional ‘high end’ or mediocre, are faced with fixed costs of operations and reductions of mall tenant retailers, forcing a view to nontraditional tenants,” said Keith Jelinek, managing director at Berkeley Research Group L.L.C., a strategic consultant in Century City, Calif. “Big hospitals and big malls are moving toward a neighborhood style to coexist.”

Retail experts say it comes down to convenience – having it all under one roof.

“Having medical offices in malls is a good draw to increase foot traffic and create more opportunities for consumers to browse retail stores while in one location,” Jelinek said. “We will likely also see an increase in fitness and health facilities, entertainment, and beauty and skin-care solutions such as day spas” at these malls.

The 16,000-square-foot Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health that opened in May 2015 in Voorhees has been well-received, said Matan Mintz, who handles its administration and community affairs.

“Our experience over the last year has been very positive for both our patients and our staff,” Mintz said. “Our patients enjoy the convenience of food and shopping, while they wait for their child to finish an appointment. . . .

“The location of the mall also makes our office easily accessible by bus and train,” Mintz said. “Our health staff enjoys the convenience of our location for lunch breaks.”

The only drawback, said Mintz, was that “some first-time patients have a hard time understanding that we are inside a mall . . . so they may get lost trying to find us.”

There was no confusion for Kathy Dodds, 62, of Downingtown. She got her annual mammogram at Main Line Health Center at Exton Square last week.

“I like it,” the high school teacher said of the layout. She used to drive to Paoli for her health visits. “There’s plenty of parking and this is only five minutes away on Route 30.”

Neuro Film Festival 2016 AAN

From American Academy of Neurology Film Festival Website…

2016 Neuro Film Festival

We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Neuro Film Festival!

Sigurdur Johannesson for his moving documentary “Human Timebombs,” which looks into the life of Sunna Valdis, a nine-year-old girl in Reykjavik, Iceland, and other children from around the world with alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC), a rare neurological disorder caused by a mutation in the gene ATP1A3.

Katie Brandt for “Love is Out There: A Story of Love, Loss, and Resilience in the Face of Frontotemporal Dementia,” a very personal and touching account of the loss of her husband, Mike, to this vicious disease resulting in the hope of raising awareness about this rare disorder to help other families navigate the struggle of caring for a loved one with FTD.

Sixty-six video entries about a variety of neurologic conditions were submitted to the 2016 Neuro Film Festival. View all video entries.

The Neuro Film Festival is an online video contest that aims to raise awareness about the need for why more funding is needed for research into the prevention, treatment, and cure of brain disease.

Participants are encouraged to share their story about the impacts of brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, brain injury, ALS, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and others. These stories inspire others and educate people about the need for more brain disease research.

Presented by the American Academy of Neurology.

Neuro Film Festival Competition Rules and Guidelines

View the 2016 Neuro Film Festival Rules and Guidelines

List of Brain and Nervous System Diseases

The views expressed in the films are those of the entrants and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the American Academy of Neurology and its affiliated organizations.

Neuro Film Festival Press Releases

March 25, 2016

December 4, 2015

2015 Neuro Film Festival Winners

The Curse: The Bhutan Epilepsy Project by Farrah J. Mateen, MD, PhD, Cambridge, MA

Looks Like Laury Sounds Like Laury by Pamela Hogan, New York, NY

Changing the Face of Parkinson’sby Jennifer Cody, Richardson, TX

2014 Neuro Film Festival Winners

Dystonia Devin by Devin McClernan, Kenwood, CA

Life is a Journey by Douglas Browning, Kennewick, WA

My Hero an MSA Angel Story by Alix Sun, Sarasota, FL

2013 Neuro Film Festival Winners

Hope for HumaNS by Suzanne Gazda, San Antonio, TX

Epillepsy by Ingrid pfau, Bozeman, MT

Little Heroes by Paola Leone, Stratford, NJ

2012 Neuro Film Festival Winners

The Astronaut’s Secret by Zach Jankovic

Duchenne with a Future: The Power to Live by Patrick Moeschen

Multiple System Atrophy MSA by Paola Vermeer

2011 Neuro Film Festival Winners

Calling on Her by Amanda Voisard of Syracuse, NY

Often Awesome, The Series by Andy Coon of Greensboro, NC

Hope and a Clinical Trial to Halt MS by David Bexfield of Albuquerque, NM

2010 Neuro Film Festival Winners

Tracking Evan: Caring, By the Numbers by Peter von Elling of Falls Church, Virginia.

CJD, A Personal Story by Shenly Glenn of San Francisco, California.

Tracking Evan: Caring, By the Numbers by Peter von Elling of Falls Church, Virginia.

Keeping It Together When Faced With an Autism Diagnosis

As seen on Autism Spectrum News Summer 2016 Edition (page 25) >

Your child has been diagnosed with Autism… now what?
Many parents feel as though they are finally able to answer some of the questions they have had regarding their child, but still feel confused, overwhelmed, and frightened about what to do next. Parents are their child’s best advocate and have the right to be fully informed of what the appropriate next steps are.

Next steps can be confusing and overwhelming when presented with a variety of approaches that have been found useful in treating individuals with an autism diagnosis. Parents may be faced with various recommendations, such as ABA therapy, speech therapy, feeding specialists, neurologists, etc. However, being unfamiliar with these areas of treatment, where they are located, and who should provide each service, can be daunting to a family with a newly diagnosed child. It is common for families to be given a list (aka “the list”) of resources that they can independently reach out to. However, scheduling the appropriate evaluations can be time consuming, intimidating, and, sometimes, defeating. In addition to seeking out and understanding treatment, medical insurance is a key factor in this equation. This is a significant consideration when attempting to get treatment services for your child or family member.

Upon receiving “the list,” how does one go about identifying appropriate service providers who are ethical, effective, and within a reasonable proximity to their home? Often times, parents share they will “Google” treatment providers, seek out feedback from other parents, or use various online “medical” resources that can be found on the internet. We advise our families and families reading this article to reach out to resources, which can provide information that is both ethically sound and legally correct. In the state of New Jersey, for example, we often utilize the following parent advocacy groups SPAN (Statewide Parent Advocacy Network –, FACES 4 Autism (, a support network for families with autism, Autism New Jersey, and Autism Speaks. Each of these resources have clinicians, volunteers, and team members who are well versed in the diagnosis of Autism and who can assist in the process of attaining ethical and effective treatment.

Sometimes, having a diagnosis and knowing where to seek out ethical and effective treatment can bring relief. Along with relief, diagnosis coupled with where to attain treatment can bring awareness to matters that were questionable. A diagnosis can lead parents to an appropriate treatment plan. This treatment plan may begin as young birth through the 3 months and continue on through the school age years.
The act known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) was initially developed in 1975 to ensure free and appropriate education for children with disabilities and is federal law. The act was revised in 2006 to include Part B covering school-aged children through adults up to age 22 years. IDEA was revised a second time in 2011 to include Part C covering infants and toddlers through three years of age.

In short, IDEA, Part B provides parents with their rights as the parent of a child with special needs to be informed of and included in the evaluation of their child, academic placement of their child, and meetings regarding their child’s progress and development. Part B indicates parental consent is required in order for services to be offered, maintained, or stopped. IDEA, Part C states families of children with developmental disabilities are entitled to an evaluation to determine eligibility for an individualized family support plan (IFSP) as well as early intervention services that include a variety of developmental goals for their child including but not limited to communication, fine/gross motor, and self help. Additional information on IDEA may found at

Outside of IDEA families may require private services in the form of ABA therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy where insurance may or may not be utilized or the treatment may fall under the category of a “non-covered service”. Related services for individuals with an autism diagnosis are often conducted on a weekly basis. In turn from week to week families may be facing high co-pays, high deductibles, or costly self-pay fee schedules. Parents are often paying hundreds, even thousands of dollars, for services with providers whom they trust or to wait for appointments through their in-network provider, which may have providers that are not as experienced or have the rapport with the child. It is not uncommon for families to share with us they have experienced sleepless nights worrying about receiving appropriate and effective treatment and covering the cost of these therapies.

Families should contact their health insurance companies and speak with a representative knowledgeable about their particular plan, as well as the services the insurance offers for the specific diagnosis. Families are also encouraged to reach out to the billing department in the organization where their child is receiving treatment, as these individuals may have contacts within the designated insurance company who can efficiently assist with the process. Families can also independently contact board certified clinicians at the BACB (Behavior Analysis Certification Board) via the board ] website The site lists credentialed clinicians, their contact information, and their location. Families can search by clinician name, zip code, state, or country and inquire as to what costs for ABA therapy are, as well as, if they are covered by insurance.

Once a provider is located, families are encouraged to ask the clinician/team about his/her experience, as not all individuals credentialed in ABA or other related services have the same experience or specialties. Parents are encouraged to convey concerns to the therapist and be an active member of the child’s treatment team.

The writers of this article are Board Certified Behavior Analysts and would like to dedicate this section to helping parents know what to look for in order to create a successful ABA therapy environment. Parents please be sure the following are including in your child’s ABA therapy program:
• A positive rapport between your child, you, and their therapist.
• Time for “work” and time for “play.” Discrete trials should not make up the entire child’s programming. Children with autism require so much more, such as development of appropriate leisure skills, appropriately playing and interacting with family members, and successfully completing community outings.
• Observation of your child’s sessions with the therapist. This is an opportunity to see how your child interacts with the therapist and an opportunity for you to observe the therapist in order to generalize these skills across settings.
• Organized program goals, data collection to document goals, plans, behavior information, etc.
• Regular meetings (monthly, bi-monthly) with the therapist to review analyzed data and gain an understanding of what that data means for treatment and program implementation.

When a family is given a diagnosis of autism or other developmental delay, the individual(s) with the diagnosis often requires an abundance of care and attention.
This can leave little time to spend with other family members such as other children or significant others. Parents often wonder where they will find the time and patience for others. The ability to be flexible is a valuable skill. This means one parent must be prepared to leave an event while the other stays with the rest of the family, setting aside specific days and times to spend with other children in the family, setting aside time for yourself, designating time for you and your significant other, and being proactive to prevent maladaptive behavior from occurring.

Parents also shared having family and friends close by can be a great resource. One parent expressed, “If you’re lucky enough to have family close by, ask for help.” Having a family member come over might allow you to get your household in order, run errands, or even socialize with your spouse or friends. If other family members do not reside locally, ask a friend or neighbor. Accepting the help and not making additional work for yourself is also important. For instance, do not clean up your house just because you asked a neighbor to watch the children while you run to the food store; run to the food store because the house will still be standing when you return home.

Parents also expressed significant concern for their children with special needs for when their children become adults there is no longer a guardian to care for them. Some of the parents we spoke with in preparing for this article are parents of non-verbal children or parents of children with limited cognitive abilities. Parents expressed fears of their child being taken advantage of, getting hurt, or simply not having their day-to-day needs met properly in way that maintains their integrity. Preparation for the future was emphasized. Parents shared while it is “unsettling” and “scary” to think about, preparations such as guardianship and wills should be prepared even when the child is young. This is one way to assist in ensuring your child’s needs can be met to the best of your ability when you as the parent are no longer here to meet them.

This article has discussed quite a bit about therapies and services for individuals with Autism or other developmental disabilities. However, we also want to emphasize the importance of allowing time for yourself and your family outside of therapies. It is easy to get caught up in and focus solely on your child receiving as many therapeutic services as possible. Receiving appropriate and good quality services regularly is important. That said, it is important to maintain balance and understand quality of life for all family members is equally as important.

Celiberti, D., Buchanan, S., Bleecker, F., Kreiss, D., & Rosenfeld, D.(2004). The Road less traveled: Charting a Clear Course for Autism Treatment. Autism Basic Information. COSAC, New Jersey.

Fry William, B. & Lee Williams, R. (2011). Effective Programs for Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder: Applied Behavior Analysis Models. Routledge, NY.

Maurice, C., Green, G., & Fox, R.M. (2001). Making a Difference. Behavioral Intervention for Autism. Pro-Ed, Austin, Texas.