SOMC Lichtenstein and Wound Healing Center Honored

Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein (left) received the Medical Director of the Year award from the National Healing Corporation. Scott Covington, National Healing Corporate Medical Director, presented the award.

Sonja Lichtenstein, M.D. has been named Medical Director of the Year for her work at the Southern Ohio Medical Center Wound Healing Center by National Healing Corporation, an industry leader accounting for approximately 30 percent of the nation’s managed and outsourced wound healing centers.

Dr. Lichtenstein is responsible for reviewing patient care and results, evaluating new clinical products and providing oversight and guidance on policies and procedures.

National Healing Corporate Medical Director Scott Covington, M.D., F.A.C.S. C.H.W.S. bestowed the award saying, “Sonja has recently achieved her hyperbaric board certification from the American Board of Preventative Medicine. She’s been instrumental in recruiting a talented and diverse group of panel physicians and played a big role in the center’s ability to expand.”

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wound Healing Center was also honored with National Healing’s Front Runner Award for maximizing its resources to meet the growing needs of the community. Neva Moore, director of the Wound Healing Center, was acknowledged as one of four national finalists for the Program Director of the Year Award. Moore is responsible for all aspects of SOMC’s Wound Healing Center operations including, ensuring quality patient care, recruiting and hiring, compliance with federal and state guidelines, budgeting and fiscal policies and marketing and sales.

The honors were bestowed during a three-day clinical symposium in Orlando, Fla., attended by 450 wound healing physicians and clinicians from around the country who participated in briefings on new treatment options that may bring additional advances in the care of chronic wounds.

“Chronic wounds affect more than 6.5 million people across the nation and yet, according to a study, most medical students receive less than six hours of wound care education during their formal education,” said Dr. Lichtenstein. “It is an honor to work with the panel physicians and clinicians at the SOMC Wound Healing Center who have committed themselves to becoming specialists in this area.”

For more information about the SOMC Wound Healing Center, please call 740-356-8775 or visit

SOMC Honors Nurses On Certified Nurses Day

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently honored its 162 board certified nurses on Certified Nurses Day, March 19. Certified Nurses Day is a national day of recognition for certified nurses and celebrates the achievements of Margretta Madden Styles, the “Mother of Nurse Credentialing.”

“We are very proud of all of our nurses at SOMC,” Valerie DeCamp, director of nursing for Inpatient Services and Accreditation, said. “On behalf of the organization, it is my pleasure to express the gratitude we feel for the proficiency and leadership our nurses demonstrate when they achieve and maintain national board certification in their nursing specialty.”

Certification, as defined by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS), is the formal recognition of the specialized knowledge, skills and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by a nursing specialty to promote optimal health results.

“As a result of nurses acquiring additional certifications, it creates an environment of professionalism and specialized competency,” Karen Walburn, manager of Employment, said. “This special day gives us an opportunity to recognize and encourage nurses to pursue this important step in their careers.”

“We realize that it takes personal dedication and persistence to achieve and maintain certification,” DeCamp added. “We value their commitment to nursing excellence.”

SOMC Offers Stroke Support Group, March 23

The Rehab Care Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center offers a monthly support group for patients and family members suffering from a stroke.

The Moving Forward After Stroke Support Group will meet from 4 to 5 p.m. March 23 in the Rehab Care Unit Conference Room, located on the SOMC Main Campus, 1805 27th Street, Portsmouth.

Dan Rase will be the key speaker for the event and will present education on muscle recovery after a stroke. Pre-registration is not required and the meeting is open to the community.

The SOMC Rehab Care Unit is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and recently earned Stroke Specialty accreditation by CARF reviewers.

For more information, please call Belinda Carter, program director of the SOMC Rehab Care Unit, at 740-356-8629.

SOMC to Offer Heart Support Program, March 22

The Heart and Vascular Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have formed a local chapter of the Mended Hearts program and will meet from 5 to 7 p.m., March 22 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St. in Portsmouth. The Mended Hearts, Inc. is a national nonprofit support organization that includes heart patients, spouses, healthcare professionals and others interested in helping patients with the emotional recovery from heart disease. With 280 community-based chapters nationwide, Mended Hearts has 24,000 members, making it the largest heart-related patient support group. “Members assist cardiac patients with an extensive accredited visitors program, support groups, health information workshops, social and special events and other volunteer activities,” Keri Imm, nurse manager of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at SOMC, said. “Mended Hearts has been offering hope and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers for 50 years and the outreach and support is a proven benefit to the community.” Imm adds that while heart patient-to-patient visits are the core of the Mended Hearts’ program, volunteers do not have to be a patient. Caregivers, family members of patients, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals and anyone else interested are invited to participate. For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 740-356-7663.

SOMC Names New Plant Operations Director

Justin Clark

Justin Clark, MBA, has been named Director of Plant Operations at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Clark has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Business Administration, with honors, from Ohio University in Athens. He previously worked as a Business Development Coordinator and Power Operations Shift Supervisor at USEC. In his previous roles, he was influential in the development of a new compliance program for the Department of Energy’s high-voltage switchyard operations as well as a program to increase the maintenance and operational efficiencies in the Power and Utilities group at USEC. In his new role, Clark will be responsible overseeing the daily operations for the facilities, grounds, gardens and maintenance departments. Clark has volunteered for five years with the baseball coaching staff at Wheelersburg High School. He also serves as a founding member of the Revolution Church Leadership Team in Portsmouth. He currently resides in Portsmouth, Ohio.

SOMC Earns PRC’s Top Performer and 5-Star Awards

Multiple departments at Southern Ohio Medical Center were recently named winners of the 2011 National Excellence in Healthcare Awards, presented by Professional Research Consultants (PRC), the firm that conducts the hospital’s patient satisfaction surveys.

The SOMC Hospice Center will receive the PRC Top Performer Award and the 5-Star Award for Overall Quality of Care, while the SOMC Cath Lab will receive the 5-Star Award for Overall Quality of Care. “This is truly an honor and shows that our customers recognize and value the excellent care and work that we are providing within our organization,” Claudia Burchett, vice president of SOMC Patient Services, said. “These distinctions identify our ability to be an excellent place to work, practice medicine and treat patients and we’re very grateful for the recognition.” The Top Performer Award is PRC’s highest honor, given annually to healthcare facilities, providers, outpatient service lines and inpatient units that score in the 100th percentile of the PRC national client database. The 5-Star Excellence Award is given annually to health care facilities whose inpatient units score in the top 10 percent of the client database. All awards are based on the percentage of patients who rated SOMC “excellent” for the overall quality of care they received in 2010 and will be presented during the PRC National Excellence in Healthcare Award Luncheon May 3 in Omaha, Neb.

SOMC Research Highlighted at National Conference

ENA Conference

Two nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Emergency Department were recently selected to present their research efforts at the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Leadership Conference held Feb. 16 to 20 in Portland, Ore. Sherry Young, RN, BSN, CEN, EMT-P, CICP (left) and Julie Hiles, RN, BSN, Assistant Nurse Manager of SOMC Emergency and Pediatrics presented their research, titled “Hemolysis of Blood Specimens: Increasing time in the Emergency Department.” The results have been used to change policies and procedures in the SOMC Emergency Department. More than 1,200 emergency nurses from across the United States and internationally gathered at the conference to discuss trends and topics related to the emergency nursing profession including safety, staffing, triage and leadership skills. “It was a privilege to present our research poster at the conference,” Hiles said. “Research is an integral part of our Magnet status at SOMC and the results give us opportunities to improve the excellent care we provide to our patients and their families.”

Sleepy? You’re Not Alone And SOMC Is Here To Help

Do you suffer from chronic snoring? Do you doze off at work, while on the phone or even while driving?
You just might be suffering from a disorder called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels- if left untreated it can lead to hypertension, heart disease, mood and memory problems and the list goes on.
During National Sleep Awareness Week, March 7-13, the National Sleep Foundation and Southern Ohio Medical Center hope to educate the community on the importance of sleep. Jill Carr of West Portsmouth was falling asleep in the middle of conversations, she could hardly make it to work because of exhaustion and her tongue would stick to the roof of her mouth every morning.
One day a coworker asked why she yawned so much and after further discussion, they suggested a sleep study. “I called my doctor and scheduled a sleep study at the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center,” Carr said. “I was so nervous and thought how can I sleep all night knowing that someone is watching me but surprisingly the staff made me feel so comfortable and now I use a CPAP machine to help me breath at night. It’s made a world of difference.” Robin Polley of Vanceburg shared a different experience. She would stay awake until 4 a.m. without sleeping.
Dr. Sarah Porter of the SOMC Vanceburg Family Practice and Specialty Associates arranged for Polley to have a sleep study. “I was really scared but the respiratory therapist made me feel better by talking to me about church and my hobbies,” Polley said. “They even let my husband stay at the sleep center so he wouldn’t have to drive back to Vanceburg in the snow. It was convenient and they treated us wonderfully.” Sleep apnea is more common than you think. Nearly 1 in every 15 Americans has some form of sleep apnea but most cases are undiagnosed. According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, roughly 38,000 annual cardiovascular deaths are in some way related to sleep apnea. Robert Kinker of Portsmouth woke up gasping for air and knew that his difficulty breathing and exhaustion was something he couldn’t control and needed to seek medical attention.
Dr. Martin arranged Kinker a sleep test at the SOMC Sleep Center. “Christina at the Sleep Center put me at ease before my test started. She explained that they would evaluate my breathing and stages of my sleep,” Kinker said. “I didn’t even get to the second stage because my oxygen levels dropped to a very dangerous and low 70 in the first hour of my sleep. I went home after my test and had a CPAP machine at my house by 2 p.m. that afternoon.” Kinker emotionally added, “The SOMC Sleep Center saved my life. I can talk all day about how excellent my experience was and how much better I feel now that I use my machine at night but I could have died in my sleep and they saved my life. You can’t put a price on that and I really, really appreciate it.” If you suffer from drowsiness, lack of sleep, exhaustion, snoring, mood swings or lack of concentration, you might be a candidate for a sleep study. Ask your family physician if you need a sleep study referral. For more information, please call the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center at 740-356-8822.

Cancer Patients Invited to Look Good…Feel Better Program at SOMC

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the American Cancer Society (ACS) are helping to make female cancer patients feel more confident about their appearance through the Look Good…Feel Better counseling program-a national public service created by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the National Cosmetology Association and the ACS to help patients who have recently completed or are currently undergoing cancer treatment. The program meets the second Tuesday of every month, with the next session taking place at 5 p.m. March 8 at the SOMC Cancer Center, 1121 Kinneys Lane in Portsmouth. During the two-hour, hands-on workshop, attendees will participate in skin-care and make-up application lessons, proper nail-care techniques and will learn how to wear and create headscarves and turbans to mask hair loss. Each patient will be given their own make-up kit and will also have the opportunity to try on and learn more about receiving wigs through the ACS wig-bank. Participation is free but registration is required. To register or for more information, please call 740-356-7606 or 1-888-227-6446.