SOMC announces new “Lung Navigator”

For lung cancer patients, early detection can make a world of difference – and achieving it can be as easy as calling 740-356-LUNG.

Calling 740-356-LUNG will put patients in touch with the “lung navigator” at Southern Ohio Medical Center. The lung navigator can help qualifying patients receive lung cancer screenings, which are covered by commercial insurance plans.

“Lung cancer screenings can save lives,” Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC Cancer Center, said.  “It’s our job to make sure they’re available to the people who need them. The SOMC lung navigator does just that.”

In order to qualify for a lung screening, a patient must meet certain criteria. These include:

•   Being 55-77 years of age;

•   Having a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (One pack-year means you smoke one pack a day for one year);

•   Being a current smoker or one who has quit smoking within the last fifteen years;

•   Having no diagnostic CT Thorax Scan in the past 18 months;

•   Having no history of lung cancer;

•   Having no signs or symptoms of lung cancer

“There’s nothing easy about receiving a cancer diagnosis, but we are here to help you through it,” Waugh said.

For more information, or to find out if you qualify for a screening, contact the SOMC Lung Navigator at 740-356-LUNG (5864).

There is no such thing as a healthy tan

Spring and summer is the perfect to work on getting an attractive, healthy tan. The only problem is that the very idea of a “healthy tan” is a myth – any tan is a sign of damaged skin. When you tan, that’s actually your body trying to prevent additional damage to your skin cells’ DNA.

The idea that tan is beautiful is a historically recent development. It wasn’t until the 1920s, in fact, that tanned skin was popularized as a fashion statement. Unfortunately, it’s a statement that can come at a tremendous cost – just ask any of the more than 2 million people who are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.

There are a few things you can do to protect your skin.

First, avoid tanning beds. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people who use tanning beds have a 59% increased risk of developing melanoma.

Next, start regularly using sunscreen. Regardless of skin color, you should apply at least SPF 30 sunscreen any time you’re going to be in the sun. Make sure it’s water-resistant if you plan on getting into the pool. Ideally, you would apply SPF 15 sunscreen even if you weren’t going to be spending time in the sun. You should also use sunglasses that block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays. This will decrease your odds of developing cancer around the eyes.

If – despite your best efforts – you still receive sunburn, you should take an aspirin or ibuprofen, drink extra water and apply moisturizer. If the sunburn is severe, you should see a doctor.

SOMC named America’s fifth best place to work in healthcare

Great Places to Work and FORTUNE Magazine has named Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) America’s fifth best place to work in healthcare. This latest distinction is in addition to SOMC being named one of the best places to work and one of the country’s best places for millenials to work.

“We work hard to create an environment where people can enjoy coming to work and take pride in their jobs,” Vicki Noel, SOMC vice president of human resources, said. “We believe this not only makes SOMC a better place to work, but it makes us better at what we do.”

The “Best Places to Work In Healthcare” list is part of a series of rankings by Great Place to Work and FORTUNE based entirely on employee surveys from published Great Place to Work Reviews. To view the complete 2015 list, please visit

“It means a lot to us to see our organization recognized in this way,” Director of Human Resources Ken Applegate said. “We work hard to be a good employer for our community, and this achievement is the culmination of those efforts.”

SOMC has also been recognized as one of the best healthcare facilities to work for by Modern Healthcare Magazine, as an OSHA VPP Star organization, and as an ANCC Magnet facility, which is one of the country’s highest nursing honors.

The complete list of best places to work in healthcare can be found at For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC Earns National Recognition for Patient-Centered Care

Southern Ohio Medical Center has received Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This three-year recognition has been given to the SOMC Family Practices in Lucasville, Minford, Portsmouth, Sciotoville, Vanceburg, West Union and Wheelersburg, as well as SOMC Pediatric Associates.

“We are so pleased to receive this recognition,” Elizabeth Schmidt, director of SOMC Physician Services, said. “A lot of hours, dedication, and leadership went into this process and it’s rewarding to see that our hard work has paid off. We’ve been offering this type of expanded care for quite some time and it’s nice to receive national recognition for the work that we’re doing.”

The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of primary care that combines teamwork and information technology to improve a patient’s experience and reduce costs. Recognition is given to healthcare systems that meet NCQA’s rigorous standards, addressing patient needs by using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships.

“Patient-centered medical homes foster ongoing partnerships between patients and medical care providers by creating a complete system of primary care,” Schmidt explained. “In a PCMH model, a provider ensures that all preventive, acute, and chronic healthcare needs are met by using a healthcare team to plan, coordinate, and manage aspects of a patient’s care. This team also supports the patient by teaching self-management skills and showing them how to obtain needed resources and services in the community.”

This continuum of care helps patients become better engaged in their own health behaviors and healthcare, which also helps them avoid costly complications and emergencies by focusing on prevention and managing chronic conditions.

“NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition raises the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology, and coordinated care focused on the patients,” NCQA President Margaret O’Kane said. “Recognition shows that SOMC has the tools, systems, and resources to provide its patients with the right care, at the right time.”

To learn more about NCQA PCMH Recognition, please visit For more information about SOMC, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC Waverly Urgent Care Named Top Performer by PRC

Waverly PRC PhotoWebFor the third year in a row, the SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center has earned the Top Performer Award from Professional Research Consultants, Inc.

Top Performer Awards are presented to each healthcare facility, healthcare provider, outpatient service line, or inpatient unit that ranks highest among all others within PRC’s national patient satisfaction database for the prior year.

The Waverly Urgent Care was presented with the award for achieving the highest overall quality of care survey results. They were also recognized with a 5-Star Award for scoring in the top 10 percent of PRC’s national client database for 2014.

“Our team is very proud to serve Pike County and the patients of this community,” Elvis Walters, nurse manager of the SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center, said. “We look forward to continuing our commitment to service and quality excellence.”

Pictured at the award presentation are employees of the SOMC Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center.

SOMC honors local pre-med students

Pre MedWebSouthern Ohio Medical Center recognized local students who have been accepted into medical school at its annual Pre-Med Dinner. Each student was presented with a Stedman’s Medical Dictionary.

Present at this year’s dinner were, from left to right, Will Angelos, Rebecca McKnight, Elijah Kelley, Logan Beckett, Mathew Saab, Sonja Porter, David Pettit and Evan Sommer.

SOMC receives Hospital Safety Score of “A”

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received a Hospital Safety Score of “A,” based on information obtained by The Leapfrog Group as well as publicly reported data.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the gold standard for comparing hospitals’ performance on national standards, and assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grades to more than 2,500 hospitals in the United States.

“We are thrilled to have earned an ‘A’ Hospital Safety Score,” Christy Aeh, director of Safety Services, said. “Safety is one of SOMC’s strategic values, and something we take very seriously. It is rewarding to see our efforts recognized by such a highly respected organization.”

In addition to earning a Hospital Safety Score of “A,” SOMC also received scores that surpassed state and national averages in 12 quality measures, including early elective deliveries, medication safety, central line infection rate and more.

“We hold ourselves to a very high standard in everything that we do,” Vice President of Safety and Support Services Ben Gill said. “It means a lot for our efforts to be recognized in this way.”

For more information about Southern Ohio Medical Center, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

Boilermakers Local 105 gives to SOMC Hospice

Boilermaker Hospice DonationWebSOMC Hospice recently received a $6,000 donation from Boilermakers Local #105. The funds were raised as part of the Boilermakers Local 105 Charity Golf Outing. Present at the donation were, from left to right, Sheila Riggs of SOMC Hospice, Director of SOMC Hospice Teresa Ruby, Boilermakers Local #105 Business Manager Scott Hammond and Chairman of the Golf Committee Joe Ledford.

The donation will benefit the patients and families of SOMC Hospice. For more information, visit or like SOMC on Facebook at

SOMC gives scholarship to Clay grad

Craig Gilliland, Camryn Whitley and Charles T. Leonard

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently provided a $1,000 scholarship to Camryn Whitley, a graduate of Clay High School who intends to study nursing. SOMC has provided scholarships through the Clay School Legacy Fund annually for five years now.

Pictured here, from left to right, are SOMC Director of Financial Services and Business Development Craig Gilliland, scholarship recipient Camryn Whitley and treasurer of the Clay Alumni Association Charles T. Leonard.