2009


Ohio’s Safe Haven Law Revised

Ohio’s Safe Haven law has been revised and now permits parents who want to legally abandon a newborn to do so within 30 days of the birth.

The revision, which went into effect March 24, changes the maximum age of the child from 72 hours old to 30 days old, according to Mary Kate Dilts-Skaggs, director of nursing for emergency and outpatient services at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC). SOMC’s Emergency Department is a Safe Haven location.

The Safe Haven law provides protection for birth parents (mother or father) who voluntarily give up, abandon or desert an infant, provided the child is left with a medical worker in a hospital, a medical worker at a fire department or other emergency service organization or with a peace officer at a law enforcement agency.

A parent will not face prosecution for leaving the child at a Safe Haven location as long as the child has not been abused.

Ohio’s Safe Haven law was enacted in 2001 and aimed at reducing the number of infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe environments, Dilts-Skaggs said. Since it went into effect more than 50 newborns have been surrendered in Ohio.

New Technology Lets Cataract Patients See Better Without Glasses

Cataract patients who undergo corrective surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) now are able to select uniquely designed lenses that potentially can give them freedom from reading glasses and bifocals.

The AcrySof ReSTOR intraocular lens (IOL), developed by Alcon Laboratories, is a unique lens that represents a technology breakthrough in ophthalmology, according to Dr. Robert J. Knox, an SOMC ophthalmologist.

“This premium lens is available to any patient with the desire for optimum vision following cataract surgery,” he said. “It is designed to allow vision at all distances – up close, far away and everything in-between.” Knox said he and his patients have been very pleased with the results and many patients describe the “wow” factor the lenses have provided them.

A cataract is a condition in which the natural human lens become cloudy, resulting in blurred vision, Knox explained. Intraocular lenses are designed to replace cataracts and allow clear vision.

“With a traditional monofocal lens implant, the patient would be able to see at a distance but would still need glasses for close-up vision to read a newspaper or medicine bottle,” Knox said. “With the AcrySof ReSTOR bifocal lens, 80 percent of patients would be able to see at a distance and up close, completely independent of glasses for all daily activities.”

The lens was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2005 and first used by Knox in April 2008.

“The surgical procedure to implant the premium lens is no different from getting a conventional lens,” Knox said, “and is done on an outpatient basis.” As with any surgical procedure there are risks and side effects which may be outweighed by the potential benefits of restoring a patient’s vision, he added.

More information about cataract surgery and the AcrySof ReSTOR lenses is available from Knox. He may be reached at (740) 355-1161. His office is located at 1534 11th St., Portsmouth.

Cardiac Risk Screening Set For March 23 At Nile Township

Cardiac risk screening will be available March 23 from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Nile Township Community Center. Staff from the Community Health and Wellness Department of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) and the Shawnee State Mobile Health Unit will do the screenings.

Participants can have their total cholesterol, HDL (high density lipid) cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure checked. Appointments are not necessary. Anyone wishing to be tested should fast for two hours prior to the test.

A nurse practitioner will provide free breast health exams and health information will be provided.

For more information contact Sharon Carver, SOMC community health specialist, at (740) 356-2692.

Lose Weight, Get Healthy With Scioto Slimdown 2009

Scioto Slimdown 2009, a six-week long event designed to help community members get in shape and improve their health, will kick off April 8.

The focus of the event, sponsored by Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), the SOMC LIFE Center and the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, is to increase awareness of health and wellness in the community.

“Our goal is to instill the importance of fitness and nutrition to community members,” said Lisa Carver, administrator of the chamber of commerce. “We want to demonstrate proper nutrition improves health. We want to get everyone in the mind to improve their health.”

“It’s a great partnership to get health and wellness information out to the community,” said Regina Tipton, wellness specialist, who is working with the chamber to organize the Slimdown. “We have obesity, diabetes, heart disease here and just losing five or 10 pounds can greatly impact a person’s health and improve the quality of life. We want to make our community healthy.”

Anyone can organize a team of three to five people and participate in the Scioto Slimdown. Each team must have a designated captain and a name. The entry fee is $5 per person and includes a t-shirt. Registration forms must be turned in to the SOMC LIFE Center, 1208 18th St., by March 25. The forms also may be faxed to (740) 356-6102 by that date.

Carver said she got the idea for the Slimdown after visiting SOMC.

“While I was waiting to have some blood work done, I picked up a copy of the Weekly Beat (SOMC’s employee newsletter) and saw the article about the SOMC Meltdown (the employee weight-loss challenge),” she said. “I thought that was pretty cool and I wanted to do something like that with the chamber.”

Carver’s next step was to contact hospital personnel to see if they would help her manage an event. She eventually ended up talking to Gary Coovert, LIFE Center director.

It was Coovert’s idea to go countywide with the Slimdown, she said. He also put Carver in touch with Tipton, who agreed take care of registration, weigh-ins and do a weekly tip sheet about nutrition and exercise for the dieters.

“It’s great we can take a program that we modeled for our employees and use it for the community,” Tipton said. “This (the Scioto Slimdown) will give people the means to start a lifelong relationship with exercise and nutrition.”

As an added benefit of the program, participants in Scioto Slimdown will be able to purchase a membership at the LIFE Center for the duration of the competition for $40.

“That’s quite a savings and we hope people will take advantage of it,” Carver said.

“People should take advantage of it,” Tipton added. “If their goal is to lose weight, use this to get jump started.”

Initial weigh-ins will take place April 1–7 at the LIFE Center. All team members must be present at the initial weigh-in and the registration fee is due at that time. The teams with the greatest total weight loss and the highest percentage weight loss will receive prizes. The Slimdown ends on May 20.

More information is available from Tipton at (740) 356-7510.

Arthritis Management Classes Begin March 19 At SOMC

A series of arthritis management classes will begin March 19 at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC).

The classes, sponsored by SOMC and the Arthritis Foundation, will offer information about different types of arthritis, pain management, exercise, medications and effective communication.

Classes begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Gibson Building on SOMC’s East Campus, 2201 25th St. Sessions are scheduled for March 19, 24, 26 and 31 and April 7. The course is free and limited to 20 people. Each participant will receive a copy of the arthritis self-help book. Refreshments will be served.

Anyone interested in attending the classes should contact Sharon Carver, SOMC community health specialist, at (740) 356-2692.

Breast Cancer Support Group to meet

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Support Group will meet on March 18 at 1 p.m. at the SOMC Cancer Center, located on Kinneys Lane in Portsmouth

Wendi Waugh, director of Cancer Services at SOMC and Kim Richendollar, breast/lung navigator, will provide information on the new High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy treatment for early state breast and skin cancer. They will also discuss the latest screening program being offered at the Cancer Center, Lungs for Life.

A box lunch will be provided. Please RSVP at 354-2902 or 352-6702 no later than March 13.

Scioto Cancer Coalition Wins State Award

Sharon Carver, center, community health specialist at SOMC, accepts the Ohio Partners for Cancer Control (OPCC) Model Program Award. Presenting the award are Don McClure, left, and Jeff Lycan, right. McClure is co-chair of OPCC and CEO of the American Cancer Society, Ohio Division. Lycan is co-chair of OPCC and president of the Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Scioto County’s Fight Cancer…Save Lives Coalition has won the Ohio Partners for Cancer Control (OPCC) Model Program Award for its 2008 “Take A Health Break” project.

The project focused on female employees at Wal-Mart’s New Boston store, providing them with information about cancer prevention including nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation. Workers also were supplied with educational materials about community health programs and affordable breast cancer screening services for low-income and underinsured residents.

The educational sessions were conducted on-site at the store between May and August 2007. Participants were asked to complete a health assessment at the beginning of the project.

A comprehensive approach to cancer education has proven to be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer as well as improve overall health, according to a spokesman for the OPCC, which selects the model program winners.

The Scioto program was one of six statewide recognized by OPCC. Model programs were selected based on their efforts in eight key areas: planning and systemic change, primary prevention, early detection, data and surveillance, treatment and care, research and clinical trials, palliation and quality of life and survivorship.

OPCC is a statewide coalition of cancer-related organizations.

SOMC named to Best in Ohio list for fourth year in a row

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Ohio State Council and Best Companies Group recently announced that Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) has again been selected as one of the Best Employers in Ohio. SOMC has been named a Best Employer in Ohio for the past four years.

“We are very proud of the family atmosphere here at SOMC. It resonates in our relationships with one another and with our patients,” said Vicki Noel, Vice President of Human Resources at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The distinction is given based on an evaluation of various workplace attributes including hiring processes, celebrating in the workplace, caring among team members and communication. A majority of the process is weighted by the thoughts and opinions of the employees of SOMC. SOMC was evaluated against various organizations across the state including large corporations and other healthcare organizations.

“This is quite an honor for our organization,” said Randy Arnett, President and CEO of Southern Ohio Medical Center. “It only further proves that SOMC houses some of the best employees in the nation.”

Arnett said the distinction will not only emanate pride to our community through employees, but will also help with recruitment and retention.

“People want to be a part of something great. This distinction, as well as our Magnet Designation, VPP Star Status and our FORTUNE Best Places to Work distinction will be a way to show those seeking employment, that SOMC is the place to be,” he said.

In the next few weeks, SOMC will receive a feedback report and the ranking of the organization based on data accumulated from the evaluation process. The list will be revealed in a special publication produced by Journal Publications Inc., which will be distributed statewide in April 2009.

Coterie Guild’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt Set For April 6

The Coterie Guild will have its annual Easter Egg hunt April 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Friends Community Center. The event is a benefit for children’s health services at SOMC.

Admission is $2 per person. There is no charge for children age one year or younger.

Planned activities include games, crafts, a bake sale and drawings for gift baskets. The Easter bunny will be on hand for photos. Tickets for children’s activities are 25 cents each and pictures with the Easter bunny are $3 and include a frame. Chances on the gift baskets are $2 each or three for $5 and will be available at the event. Winners do not need to be present.

The Coterie Guild is part of the Friends of SOMC. For additional information about the Easter egg hunt, contact the SOMC Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234. The Friends Center is located at 1202 18th St., Portsmouth.