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Auto Body Shop Owner Michael Partysnski Has New Lease on Life

Michael P.Michael Partysnski is a man who works with his hands. As the owner of Michael’s Auto Body in Indian Orchard for over four decades, he is constantly on his feet and working to make damaged cars look good again. His challenge, though, started over a decade ago when he began experiencing symptoms associated with emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“I’ve been trying to quit smoking cigarettes for over 10 years," he says. "I tried everything to no avail, but I finally coughed so hard that it scared me, and my wife and daughter witnessed it.”

Michael’s primary care physician referred him to a local pulmonologist, who enrolled him in Baystate’s award-winning Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program.  

“When I got in this program and I learned the related science with it, the class, as well as the gym, I really got into it," says Partysnski. "My wife Donna said, ‘you are taking this serious,’ and I said, ‘I sure am,’ because I wanted that opportunity for a long time.”

Nationally Recognized Care

Baystate Medical Center’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program provides a comprehensive approach to managing chronic pulmonary diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and bronchiectasis.

The goal is to help patients become more independent and offer a better understanding of their disease and control of their symptoms. Partysnski is just one of many faces that reflect nationally recognized, award winning care at Baystate Medical Center. U.S. News & World Report has rated Baystate Medical Center as part of an elite group of 34 “high performing” hospitals in a new form of evaluation that rates hospitals on how well they perform.

The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program at Baystate Medical Center was the first program in Massachusetts to be certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) in 2002 and is one of only eight certified pulmonary rehab programs in Massachusetts.  

“It is important for patients, in consultation with their doctors, to be able to research a hospital and know the hospital has treated a sufficient number of patients like them,” says Ben Harder, chief of health analysis for U.S. News. “Our Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings give patients access to more information and help them make more-informed choices among the hospitals in their communities.”

Baystate is only one of three hospitals in New England to be rated as “high performing” in an analysis of 4,600 hospitals nationwide in the magazine’s new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings.  

“This latest honor from U.S. News & World Report, in addition to already placing in its Best Hospitals report, is further recognition of the world-class care available to patients at Baystate Medical Center. It is truly an honor and a testament to our clinicians and staff who strive to deliver safe, high-quality care for our patients every day,” says Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president for Quality and Population Health and chief quality officer for Baystate Health.

Baystate’s program is the only program in western Massachusetts to provide comprehensive outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation Phase 2 and Phase 3 programs for the community.

“It’s a fantastic program and I am very happy with it," says Partysnski. "We walked all summer and I keep increasing my weights on the treadmill. Basically I’m in good shape for my age and I just want to keep at it.” 

A New Lease on Life

Nearly two years later, Partysnski has advanced to phase three rehabilitation, and is feeling healthier. With guidance and support from his medical team, he exercises regularly and is able to more fully engage with his auto body shop. Using a protective respirator, he is back to painting, which has allowed him to avoid hiring a full time painter, and feels strong enough to get back to body work again, too.  

“I’ve been doing this for 43 years, but the last six, eight years, ten years, I’ve been feeling weaker and losing breath and this and that. Now I have a new lease on life; it's rejuvenating.”