SOMC Receives Support From AEP For Improvements

Marty Walsh, economic development manager of American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio, (left) and Terry Lloyd, customer services account manager of AEP Ohio (right), present Craig Gilliland, administrative director of financial support and facilities at Southern Ohio Medical Center, with a check for $100,000. The funding is part of the AEP Ohio Economic Development Rate Stabilization Plan (RSP) grant program.

The program provides financial assistance to new and existing industries for expansion projects that create new jobs, retain existing jobs and generate new investment within the AEP Ohio service territory.

The grant will be used toward the SOMC expansion project, which is set to bring an additional 200 jobs to the area within the next three years. The $100 million expansion includes a four-story patient care addition, new emergency and surgery space, lobby and entrance, and a heart care unit in preparation for open heart surgery.

Carpenter, Jordan Appointed In SOMC Workforce Development

Linda Carpenter has been named Director of Workforce Development, formerly Staff Development, at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Vicki Noel, vice president of Human Resources and Organizational Development, announced. Carpenter has joined SOMC’s leadership team from Nashville, Tenn., where she served as a training manager for the Gaylord Opryland Resort. She received her master’s degree in Educational Administration/Adult Continuing Education from Michigan State University.

Shawn Jordan has been named Workforce Development Manager, Noel announced. Jordan has been an employee of SOMC for the past 10 years as a Marketing Communications Specialist in the Community Relations Department. She received her bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism and Theater from Morehead State University and her graduate certificate in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University. She is currently pursing her master’s of science in Healthcare Administration.

Noel said the change in the department’s name to Workforce Development, which was official Aug. 27, is consistent with a switch in the industry to a broader scope of educational support for the entire organization in addition to the traditional clinical staff development.

SOMC Surgery Uses New Procedure To Destroy Tumors

SOMC Surgeons Dr. Thomas Khoury and Dr. Richard Rooney prepare to use a special radiofrequency probe to destroy a tumor in a patient’s liver.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the region using a new procedure to destroy cancerous tumors in soft tissue without surgically removing them.

“In many cases this procedure can be done with smaller incisions and less risk to the patient,” SOMC general and vascular surgeon Thomas L. Khoury, SOMC’s cancer physician liaison, says. “Using image-guided technology, a special probe on a wire delivers localized high-frequency electric current, heating and destroying the tumor with less damage to surrounding tissue.”

Known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the approach results in safely destroying the tissue, which then shrinks and is replaced with scar tissue.

“Depending on the patient and conditions, the procedure can be performed in conventional surgery or in an image-guided approach,” Dr. Khoury says. “This is less traumatic to the patient in some cases than surgically removing the tumor, which requires larger incisions, longer recovery, greater discomfort and more risk of infection.”

The most common areas of treatment include the liver, lung, kidney, adrenal gland, and in some cases bone. While the technology does not replace conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it can be used in conjunction with those approaches to address soft tissue cancers, Dr. Khoury says.

SOMC Surgical Services uses the Boston Scientific system. Once the tumor has been ablated, the patient will be scanned at one month and every three months afterward to monitor for any recurrence.

SOMC Launches New Medication Process

Southern Ohio Medical Center has launched a new process for giving medication to patients during their hospital stay.

The nurse will use a hand-held scanner to scan her/his ID badge, the patient’s hospital ID bracelet and the code printed on the patient’s medication packet prior to giving the medication.

“This helps assure that the right medicine is reaching the right patient the right way,” Julie Irwin, nurse manager of SOMC’s Three North-A unit, explains. Her unit was the first to “go live” with the process Aug. 21. Other nursing units throughout the hospital will adopt the process over the coming months.

The process is called Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), using an Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR). SOMC is participating in a national safety initiative and this proven best practice for safety and error prevention helps protect the patient’s “Five Rights” (right patient, medication, dose, time and route).

Coinciding with the deployment of BCMA is pharmacy unit dose packaging, a process in which the SOMC pharmacy individually packages and codes each dose of a patient’s medications, which are then stored in a secure containment system near the patient’s room.

SOMC Security Officers Receive Certification

SOMC Security Officers

Officers of Security Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have increased their ability to provide top-quality safety and security to employees, patients and visitors of the hospital.

Four of the department’s newest officers recently received certification from the International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) after passing the organization’s health and safety certification exam in June.

“This marks the first time all eligible officers of our department have been IAHSS-certified since I started working here in 2006,” Joe McKinnon, manager of Security Services at SOMC, said. “This certification means that our Security officers have demonstrated their commitment to meeting nationally recognized standards of professionalism and competency.”

The IAHSS is a nationwide organization dedicated to advancing excellence in healthcare security and safety through education, credentialing, growth and influence. Through the IAHSS’s basic, advanced, supervisory and health and safety certification exams, officers are given the opportunity to learn industry-wide best-practice standards of performance.

McKinnon says the health and safety exam is extremely challenging and demands a high level of competence to pass successfully. Officers must study a 304-page manual consisting of healthcare security topics, such as fundamental security skills, protective measures, customer service and emergency management. Once ready, they must then take a written exam and pass with a score of 75 percent or more to achieve certification.

“Certification through IAHSS exams is important because it strengthens our staff’s ability to perform and provide an enhanced quality of services at SOMC,” McKinnon said. “This is a great achievement and will help in providing our team with improved knowledge and uniform, industry-recognized education of hospital security for the future.”

Banalagay, Variath Relocate Office

Southern Ohio Nephrology, Inc., with the practice of Ernesto Banalagay, MD, and Reena Samuel Variath, MD, has moved to new offices at Suite 301, Medical Office Building K, the Braunlin Building, 1711 27th St., on the Main Campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. For more information call (740) 354-5393.

Dr. Banalagay has been in practice in the Portsmouth area since 1998. He received his medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Northeastern Pennsylvania Internal Medicine, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is board-certified in Nephrology, Internal Medicine and Clinical Hypertension.

Dr. Samuel Variath has been in practice in the Portsmouth area since 1998. She received her medical degree at T.D. Medical College and training at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Lenox Hill Hospital. She is also a clinical professor of Internal Medicine at the Ohio College of Osteopathic Medicine as a member of the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education. She is board-certified in Nephrology, Internal Medicine and Clinical Hypertension.

SOMC Supports Green Schools’ Lab Project

As part of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s “Make A Difference” grant program, SOMC has awarded Green Local Schools a $20,000 commitment to assist with a new science and video laboratory.

The school system is in the process of renovating a vacant building into a hands-on science and video laboratory for students in grades 3-6 as well as for some high school student projects. The lab is expected to open during the coming school year.

“The SOMC grant will be a huge infusion of money for this project,” Superintendent Ronald Lindsey said. “I envision this facility to constantly grow and be updated over time, and this is a very important first step.”

Green was one of 13 applicants for SOMC’s first Make A Difference Grants. SOMC announced earlier this year that three $20,000 grants would be awarded to local schools whose projects best met the criteria.

“The grants are awarded based on the project’s impact to students and community, support of SOMC values, likelihood of success and sustainability,” SOMC President Randy Arnett explained. “Ultimately we asked how the program will make a difference and improve the long-term health of the community.”

Lindsey said that all too often science takes a back seat to other subjects, especially in elementary education. “This will be a hands-on environment, a facility that will allow students to really do experiments instead of just reading about them in a book or listening to a lecture.”

“Green’s science and video lab project is an excellent example of a relevant project that will impact our future health professionals,” Arnett said. “Green Local Schools has demonstrated their commitment to this project and we’re excited to be able to help them achieve it.”

SOMC also awarded grants to Greenup County Schools and Washington-Nile Schools.

“This was our first year for the SOMC Make A Difference Grant and my only regret is that we aren’t able to award every applicant a grant, as the proposed programs in the applications all had merit and heart,” Arnett said.

Separate news releases on the other two grants will also be distributed to area media detailing the other recipients’ projects.

SOMC Welcomes Area Medical Students

Southern Ohio Medical Center held a luncheon July 20 honoring area residents who have been accepted into medical schools. Each was presented a medical dictionary and welcomed by Dr. Aaron Adams, director of Medical Education at SOMC, Dr. Terry Johnson, program director of SOMC’s Family Practice Residency, and Dr. John Kasper, program director of Emergency Medicine Residency at SOMC. Shown at the luncheon are (front, l-r): T.J. Stidham (going to The Ohio State University), Courtney McGinnis and Debra Lewis (Ohio University), Mikell Rase (University of Cincinnati); back (l-r): Dr. Johnson, Jessica James, Jerod Walker, Jacinda Shaw and Derek Adams (all Ohio University), Dr. Kasper, and Ashish Patel (St. Mathews).

SOMC Presents Grant To Washington Nile Schools

Southern Ohio Medical Center has awarded a $20,000 grant to Washington Nile Schools for development of three fitness trails to help promote physical fitness in the community.

“We’re very excited to have the support of SOMC for this project,” Washington Nile Superintendent Patricia L. Ciraso said. “These trails will be a benefit to our whole community.” The project includes the construction of fitness trails at the Earl Thomas Conley Park, Washington Township Community Center and the Nile Township Community Center.

“This project is sustainable over a long period of time and provides something that can be shared by students, community members in the township and the entire county,” SOMC President Randy Arnett said. “It also includes key partnerships that make it a benefit to many in the area, and promotes physical fitness to help reduce the risks associated with our biggest health threats.”

The award was part of SOMC’s Make A Difference program, which included three grants to area schools who best demonstrated that their projects would meet the criteria of making an impact on students and the community, supporting SOMC’s values, the likelihood of success and sustainability.

The trails will be located at the park and the Nile Township Community Center, both located on US 52, and the Washington Township Community Center on SS Davis Lane, Ciraso explained. The trails are expected to be completed in September.

Other recipients of the SOMC Make A Difference Grant program included Green Local Schools and Greenup County Schools. Separate news releases on the other two grants will also be distributed to area media detailing the other recipients’ projects.