SOMC Ranked Among Top 25 Percent of Home Health Providers in Nation

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been named to the 2007 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the most successful Medicare-certified home health care providers in the United States.

“SOMC has made a commitment to bringing medical care to those patients in the home with the level of quality that puts their care among the best anywhere,” SOMC Home Care Director Karen Thompson said.

“This annual review identifies the top 25 percent of agencies, ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement and financial performance.”

The 2007 HomeCare Elite also indicates those providers who are included in the Top 100 and Top 500 of providers nationwide. The data used for this analysis was compiled from publicly available information.

SOMC has maintained one of Ohio’s most well-established and experienced home care programs in the state. This is the second time SOMC Home Care has been named to the list.

“We applaud the success of all the providers named to the 2007 HomeCare Elite,” said Bill Bassett, Senior Director of Market Strategy at OCS, Inc. “Being noted as one of the top performers in the nation in this very competitive environment shows that SOMC is dedicated to quality and performance.”

The 2007 HomeCare Elite is the only performance recognition of its kind in the home health industry. The 2007 HomeCare Elite is brought to the industry by OCS, Inc., the leading provider of healthcare informatics and DecisionHealth, publisher of home care’s most respected independent newsletter Home Health Line. The entire list of the 2007 HomeCare Elite agencies can be viewed by visiting the OCS web site at

SOMC’s Barnett Certified Critical Care Nurse

Teresa Barnett, registered nurse of the Heart Care Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has received certification as a Critical Care Nurse (CCRN).

Barnett earned her associate’s degree in Nursing from Southern State Community College in Hillsboro. She began working at SOMC in 1999 and has served various roles at the hospital, including positions in the Intensive Care Unit and the Cath Lab.

Barnett has been a member of the Heart Care Unit since it opened in August 2007.

‘Little Shop’ Bringing Man-eating

Alien man-eating plants take center stage in Portsmouth Little Theatre’s upcoming production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a stage musical directed by Eric Armstrong with musical direction by Linda Tieman. The dark comedy tells the quirky story of Seymour Krelborn and his carnivorous plant and features popular songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

“This story is well-known and loved by a lot of people,” Armstrong said. “We’re very excited to be able to produce it in a community theatre setting, where everyone can affordably enjoy the performances up close, and get a chance to see some of our remarkable local talent in an fairly complex production that’s truly entertaining.”

The production features a dozen local performers, with Vincent Scarpinato starring as Seymour and Dani Gillstrap as his leading lady, Audrey. The pair are supported by actors Nicholas Erlenwein, Jacqueline Hines, John Kasper, Mason Parker, Chelsey Phillips, Micah Roberts, Hannah Shope and Clark Tieman.

The huge plant, Audrey II, is voiced by Michael Raies with puppeteering and mechanical performance by Noah Fannin. Radio personality Steve Hayes guest stars as a disc jockey promoting the plant on a local talk show. A crew of volunteers is also helping behind the scenes.

“We’re very lucky to have the support of so many people in producing this show,” Armstrong said. “We have sponsorship by Debbie Gambill Century 21 Empire Realty, Fifth Third Bank and Southern Ohio Medical Center, and help from other area businesses as well.”

The production is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. March 7,8, 14 and 15 and matinee performances at 2 p.m. March 8 and 15 at the theatre, 1117 Lawson St. Advanced tickets are $10 evenings ($12 at door) and $5 matinees ($7 at door). Tickets are available at Hatti Beasley’s and Market Street Cafe.

Wright Presents Quilt For Hospice Center

Kathy Wright (right) of Portsmouth recently presented Susan Goins, social worker at Southern Ohio Medical Center, with a handmade quilt she created for the SOMC Hospice Center. This is the second quilt that Wright has donated to the Hospice program. The quilt will be given to one of the center’s current patients. The 12-bed inpatient Hospice Center opened in early 2007, largely through the support of community donations, to provide care and services for the terminally ill and their loved ones. For more information about SOMC Hospice call (740) 353-2567.

Red Cross Thanks Community, Plans Fundraisers

While planning for three upcoming fundraisers for National Red Cross Month in March, the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is thanking the community partners who have been supportive of the chapter’s efforts.

At the same time, community members are acknowledging the critical work the chapter accomplishes, and reminding the public that sooner or later nearly everyone is touched by the Red Cross.

“We now know more than ever how necessary it is for the average person to have first aid and CPR training,” Mary Arnzen, the local chapter’s executive director, said.

“The recent emergency at Notre Dame Elementary reminds us of the vital role of first aid for an injured person before professional help arrives. First aid training can mean the difference between life or death.”

Since last July the chapter has trained more than 800 people in health and safety courses. Arnzen said the chapter hopes to offer different types of classes and continuing education credits for professionals.

“We also hope to expand the number of basic first aid and CPR classes,” Arnzen added. The chapter is using Scioto Area Foundation grant support for a pilot project teaching first aid to students in grades 9-12 at Portsmouth City, Portsmouth East and Notre Dame schools.

“If the project is successful we will apply again for support from the Scioto Foundation to include more schools in the county,” Arnzen said. “This training enables the student to have a three-year Red Cross certification in first aid which could be used for a future job requirement.”

In addition to first aid and other health and safety courses, the local chapter supports the community during both widespread and individual catastrophic events. Since last July the chapter has served 156 people in single- and multi-family fires, providing more than $31,000 in support services. The chapter has collected more than 2,000 units of blood for area emergency needs, and has served important roles in other community emergencies, such as the recent emergency at Notre Dame Elementary School, where Principal Kay Kern said the Red Cross provided important support.

“We thank the (local Red Cross) for their quick response to coordinating counseling and for providing food and drink to all parties concerned,” Kern said. “The Red Cross was there for us day and night. We could not have even thought about the services that were provided by the Red Cross. We really appreciate them!”

Arnzen said the chapter’s services would not be possible without the help of community supporters. Recently, Southern Ohio Medical Center President Randy Arnett presented a pledge of support to the chapter.

“It is great to have such helpful community partners like SOMC!” Arnzen said. “They provide monetary support, along with conducting blood drives, and then they offer volunteers to us.”

In March the chapter will hold three important fundraising events. A community rummage sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1 at the CAY Building, 2310 Sunrise Ave. The annual Celebrity Server night will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 4 at the Golden Corral restaurant in New Boston, with local law enforcement and area clergy participating. All server tips raised will benefit the local Red Cross.

The annual Red Cross Disaster Blaster will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, March 14 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. This major fundraiser for disaster services will include a grand prize trip to Las Vegas, plus cash prizes, karaoke and a chance at the “Suitcase Game,” a popular game show. Tickets are $50 per couple and available from the Chapter, 614 Glover St., or any Red Cross Board member. Call (740) 354-3293

SOMC’s Carter Named To OU Faculty

Dr. Terry Johnson, Assistant Dean for Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM), is proud to announce that Tom Carter, DO, a physician on the Emergency Department staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has been appointed Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at OUCOM.

Dr. Carter’s appointment is for the triennium 2008 to the beginning of 2011. He received his medical degree from OUCOM and was a graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in biology degree from Bowling Green State University. He was an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo, serving in the Level One Trauma Center (including Pediatric Level One Trauma and Acute Chest Pain Center) and served as a crew member of the Life Flight Critical Care Transport as a flight physician.

SOMC’s Johnson Named To OU Faculty

Dr. Terry Johnson, Assistant Dean for Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUCOM), is proud to announce that Jason L. Johnson, DO, a physician on staff in the Emergency Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has been appointed Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at OUCOM.

Dr. Jason Johnson’s appointment is for the triennium 2008 to the beginning of 2011. He began his emergency medicine career as a paramedic/EMS instructor and worked for more than 10 years in EMS. He received his medical degree from OUCOM with post-graduate training at the Northside Hospital and Heart Institute in St Petersburg, Florida (Internship) as well as Emergency Medicine Residency at the University of South Florida at Tampa General Hospital.

SOMC SSU Simulation Lab Welcomes Public

Adair Campbell (left), assistant professor of nursing at Shawnee State University, discusses one of two human simulators used for teaching purposes in the new SOMC SSU Simulation Laboratory located on the East Campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center. Nurse educators from SOMC and SSU hosted an open house for leaders in the medical and education communities Feb. 14, demonstrating the sophisticated mannequins’ capabilities to present the symptoms and conditions nurses will encounter in real health care situations. The hospital and university partnered to bring the advanced teaching approches in the new lab, the only one of its kind in the area.

SOMC Nurse: Get Screened, Don’t Ignore Your Health

As a nurse and director of Inpatient Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Valerie DeCamp always puts the patients first, taking care of their needs and stressing to them the importance of good health, proper health management and regular health screenings.

But last year DeCamp learned that sometimes it’s best to take your own advice before it’s too late.

“As a nurse, you tend to take better care of others than you do yourself,” she said. “I never took the time to stop and think that there could be something wrong with me, even when others noticed that there was.”

At age 48, DeCamp always assumed she was too young to develop a chronic illness. Though her family had a strong history of diabetes, stroke and other heart disease, they had always been older when they were diagnosed.

“I knew I hadn’t been feeling as normal as usual, but I was in denial. I have a high-stress job and figured it came with the territory,” she said. “Besides, I treat tons of patients all the time and I thought I would definitely know if something was wrong with me.”

But DeCamp was completely unaware of her declining health. In fact, it was almost a fluke that she realized she was sick at all.

“Last year I volunteered to help out at the SOMC Dance with Heart event, escorting people around the different screenings that were scheduled,” she said. “Toward the end of the evening I decided to go through a screening myself, just to see what I would find out.”

After completing a diabetes screening, DeCamp learned that her fasting glucose was 280 – more than 200 points above normal. She immediately knew that she was not okay and called the doctor to find out more.

“Once I met with my doctor, he started me on diabetes medication and within two days I began to feel better,” she said. “I really didn’t know how bad I had felt until I started feeling better.”

After a year of proper medication, exercise and healthier diet and life choices, DeCamp’s A1C is below six and her triglycerides are 34 – nearly ten times lower than they used to be. Best of all, she’s happier and healthier than she’s felt in years and takes every opportunity to encourage other nurses to take the advice they give to patients time and time again.

“Get tested, go to a screening, know your numbers. Don’t ignore your health,” she said. “I didn’t do the things we’re always telling our patients to do and it could have cost me my life. It’s a blessing to be healthy, so don’t take advantage of it. Sometimes you just have to put yourself first.”

Free health screenings will be open to the public during this year’s SOMC Sing with Heart event from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday Feb. 28 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Portsmouth. Screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and heart risk analysis will be available and attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy karaoke and music from local groups all evening long. Pre-registration is preferred, however walk-ins are welcome. To register or for more information, please call 740-356-7665.