New Emergency Residency Program Launched at SOMC

John S. Kasper, DO

John S. Kasper, DO, has been named the director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

“We’re developing a four-year internship/residency training program in Emergency Medicine,” he explains. “Graduates coming from various institutions will have an opportunity to observe and learn approaches to address acute or life-threatening emergencies.”

Following the initial “foundation” year of work in the Emergency Department at SOMC, participants will have a choice to commit to three additional years of training and experience or pursue studies elsewhere.

“This program complements the family practice program already in place at SOMC,” he says, adding that students are expected from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as other institutions in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Dr. Kasper is certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine. He has more than 28 years of experience in the practice of Emergency Medicine, recently serving at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Trauma Center in Dayton. He is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, and received his undergraduate degree and master of science degree from the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA. He completed his internship at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI. He began his residency training in orthopedic surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX, but ultimately changed his interest to Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Kasper has more than 30 years of US military service, attaining the rank of Brigadier General in the US Army Reserve. He recently retired with honors.

SOMC Cancer Services Receives Komen Grant

Beginning in April, Southern Ohio Medical Center will be able to offer more breast cancer services to uninsured and underserved women in Scioto, Pike and Lawrence counties, thanks to a grant received from the Columbus chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

“The grant is going to open a lot of doors for us and will really give us a chance to provide a unique service to the women of our area,” Heather Ashley, RN, BSN, OCN, clinical manager of Medical Oncology at SOMC, said. “We’ve never had something on this level happen to us and we’re all very excited about its possibilities.”

The $48,500 grant given to the SOMC Cancer Center will be used to start the Hands of Hope program. Hands of Hope will be geared toward educating community woman 40 years and older about the importance of early breast cancer detection and supplying those already diagnosed with added guidance and support.

“Women diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier stage have much higher survival rates,” Ashley said. “Unfortunately, not everyone in our community is financially able to go through the steps necessary to complete early detection, which is why the Hands of Hope program is so important.”

Hands for Hope will provide free mammograms and financial assistance for breast biopsy to uninsured women. Those currently affected by breast cancer will be provided with a special nurse contact, called a Breast Health Navigator, to bridge the gap between the physical aspects of breast cancer and the immediate needs throughout diagnosis, surgery and treatment. After breast surgery, patients will receive a visit from the Breast Health Navigator nurse for education regarding post-surgical care and the recovery process before leaving the hospital.

“We’re so glad to have the opportunity to partner with Komen Columbus,” Ashley said. “The program will be a great service to our community and we hope it will help the women of our area in winning the fight against cancer.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest and most progressive network of breast cancer survivors and activists. For the past 25 years, the foundation has contributed more than $1 billion in funding for basic, clinical and translational breast cancer research and innovative projects in the areas of breast cancer education, screening and treatment.

To learn more about Hands of Hope and its qualifications, call Heather Ashley at (740) 356-7594.

SOMC’s Skaggs At Conference

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA, of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently attended the Emergency Nurses Association Leadership Conference 2007 in Boston, Mass., Feb. 22-25.

More than 1,400 nursing leaders from across the country and around the world attended topics including education, professional development, personnel, quality, and safety, as related to emergency department operations.

Skaggs presented “Drug Dependency and Drug Testing – Lessons for Leaders” at this conference.

She has been the director of Nursing for Emergency and Outpatient Services for more than 10 years at SOMC.

Crawford Earns IDEAS Award

Mike Crawford (second from right) of Emergency Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently presented with the SOMC IDEAS (Ideas Developed by Employees At SOMC) award by Sheri Anderson of SOMC Safety Services. Crawford suggested additional lighting to assist pedestrians from the Red Parking garage to the Emergency Department. Scott Malone (left) and Ernie Curtis (right) worked on the installation of the lighting. SOMC’s IDEAS program rewards employees for presenting viable ideas that support the organization’s values of safety, service, quality, relationships and performance.

SOMC’s Rapid Response Team Featured In National Publication

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been acknowledged in a national publication for its success with a program that brings intensive care to patients outside the Intensive Care Unit.

Since September 2005, SOMC has deployed Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) to respond to calls from staff members concerned about patients outside ICU who show signs of failing health. The program was recently recognized for its outstanding work in the February issue of the Voluntary Hospital Associations’ national newsletter.

Christie Aeh, nurse manger of the ICU, says the RRT program at SOMC is similar to those in other area hospitals. However, SOMC’s outcomes are very unique, exceeding those of other hospitals in the state.

“It’s quite an honor to be held so highly among other hospitals,” Aeh said. “The program has worked so well for us and our patients and we hope to further improve upon its effectiveness far into the future.”

Each RRT consists of ICU nurses and a respiratory therapist on-call 24 hours. When a staff member becomes concerned about a patient’s condition due to changes such as rapid heart rate or lowered blood pressure, the RRT is called to intervene.

Upon arrival, the RRT receives a bedside report from the receiving unit and evaluates the patient. The team then collaborates with the department nurse and supervisor to determine the best treatment options for the patient.

SOMC’s program was created as part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “Save 100,000 Lives” campaign.

“Rapid Response Teams provide staff with the necessary resources to seek immediate help when handling patients who may be showing signs of deterioration, often determining the difference between life and death,” Mamie Snook, clinical nurse specialist for Heart and Vascular Services at SOMC, said. “Because of this, the RRT program has proven to be very beneficial to our hospital and patients.”

“In a nutshell, RRT brings the Intensive Care Unit to the bedside of any patient anywhere within the hospital,” Dr. Elie Saab, medical director of the ICU, said.

“The RRT is helpful because it provides nurses and other hospital staff with a group of clinicians who can be called at any time to give critical care expertise,” Amy Carter, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “Many times, nurses know when something isn’t quite right with their patients, and these teams allow us to act ahead of time before conditions can decline.”

SOMC also has been participating in the VHA’s database, which tracks the effectiveness of a hospital’s RRTs, and has been recommended as a mentor hospital for the RRT model.

Tower Crane Erected At SOMC Site

One of the largest construction cranes ever used in Scioto County arrived on 14 semi-tractor trailers at Southern Ohio Medical Center March 8. Mounted on a pad of 116 cubic yards of concrete, the crane stands 140 feet above the site of the new Emergency and Surgical departments’ expansion on the hospital’s south side.

With an arm-like “jib” with a reach of 196 feet, the crane will lift construction materials at the site during the coming months. Pictured, the cab of the crane is lifted by a temporary extended crane onto the tower.

SOMC’s 50,000-square-foot expansion of Emergency and Surgery is expected to be complete next year. Combined with the expansion in front of the hospital, the $100 million project is expected to employ about 500 construction personnel over the next three years and 200 permanent medical professional jobs.

Jacobs Receives Coronary Certification

Norman Jacobs, MD, MS

Norman Jacobs, MD, MS, diagnostic radiologist at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has earned Level 2 certification in Cardiovascular Computerized Tomography Angiography (CTA) from the Society of Cardiovascular Computer Tomography (SCCT).

Dr. Jacobs’ certification is part of SOMC’s ongoing commitment to bringing the latest effective diagnostic imaging procedures and technology to the community. The SCCT is a professional medical membership organization committed to the further development of cardiovascular computer tomography through education, training, accreditation, quality control, and research.

Level 2 certification reflects extensive training in administering and reviewing computerized imaging of the heart and surrounding vessels for diagnosis of medical conditions.

Dr. Jacobs received his medical degree from Temple University Medical School and completed his training at Duke University Medical Center and Georgetown University Medical Center. He has been in practice as a radiologist in the Portsmouth area for the past 20 years.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Li-fen L. Chang, MD

Li-fen L. Chang, MD, radiation oncologist at Southern Ohio Medical Center, reminds everyone that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“About 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum this year (out of 1.4 million total cancer diagnoses), ” she says. “The disease affects men and women equally. Often, there are no signs of colorectal cancer, but symptoms can include change in bowel movements, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss and fatigue.”

Risk factors for the disease include family history of colorectal cancer, a history of polyps in the colon, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

The American Cancer Society recommends both men and women over age 50 be screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of the disease, ask your doctor about earlier screening.

There are several screening tests for colorectal cancer. The best-known test is the colonoscopy. To perform this test, doctors insert a thin, flexible, lighted tube into the rectum to look for signs of cancer. If doctors see something unusual, they may remove some tissue and examine it under a microscope.

If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer it’s important to talk about your options with several doctors, including a radiation oncologist, a surgical oncologist and a medical oncologist, to find the treatment that’s best for you.

Surgery is the main treatment for early-stage colorectal cancer. If the disease has not spread, surgery alone may cure your cancer.

Radiation therapy is the careful use of radiation to treat cancer. Radiation therapy works within cancer cells by damaging their ability to multiply. Radiation may be given before surgery to shrink a tumor to make it easier to remove or after surgery to kill any cancer cells that may remain. For rectal cancer, doctors use radiation to keep the cancer from returning. This also helps prevent the need to remove the anus, thus preserving normal bowel function.

Chemotherapy is medicine designed to help kill cancer cells. It may be given before or after surgery and often with radiation.

Doctors at Southern Ohio Medical Center offer all three types of treatments. For an appointment call the SOMC Cancer Center at (740) 356-7490. Visit the Cancer Center online at www.somccancer.org.

To learn more about colorectal cancer and how to treat it, visit www.rtanswers.org or call the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology at (800) 962-7876 for a free brochure.

SOMC Again On State’s ‘Best Place To Work’ List

For the second consecutive year, Southern Ohio Medical Center has been named one of the “Best Places to Work in Ohio.”

“This confirms that our family atmosphere of caring for our patients as well as each other has made us a great place to work,” Vicki Noel, vice president of Human Resources at SOMC, said.

The awards are presented by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Society for Human Resource Management. Data was collected and ranked by the company ModernThink.

The distinction was given based on an evaluation of workplace camaraderie, fairness, credibility, pride and respect but most importantly the thoughts and opinions of the employees of SOMC. SOMC was evaluated against various organizations statewide including large corporations and other healthcare organizations.

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

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 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. Arnett said SOMC is always searching for methods of gathering information to make adjustments and improvements in work life.

“Listening to our employees is important. Based on feedback from various venues such as the employee opinion survey and distinctions such as this, we have made changes to our organization that will continue to make SOMC a great place to work and receive quality health care. We will continue to listen and learn from those who make the greatest impact on our organization – our SOMC team,” Noel said.

The official ranking of SOMC on the Best Employers in Ohio list will be revealed during an awards ceremony on April 24 in Columbus. SOMC was number three on the list in 2006.