SOMC Honored at OHA Leadership Meeting

Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently honored at the Ohio Hospital Association’s (OHA) Leadership Luncheon, held June 16. During the meeting, several awards for health and safety programs were presented to various Ohio hospitals and individuals.

SOMC was given an award by State Representative John Patrick Carney for winning the 2010 “Hospitals for Healthier Ohioan” grant from the OHA Foundation for Healthy Communities. SOMC was one of five hospitals in the state to be awarded $21,612 of the $100,000 grant.

OHA has helped Ohio hospitals promote health and wellness since 1994. The criteria to apply for the grant consisted of an application stating the programs SOMC offers to engage the local community in long-term efforts to reduce obesity.

“We are very honored to receive this grant,” Regina Tipton, wellness specialist at SOMC, said. “We will use the funds to implement SOMC’s health and wellness education program called LEAP (Lifestyle, Eating, Activity and Planning).”

Since its inception, the foundation, an arm of the Ohio Hospital Association, has awarded nearly $1.6 million in grants to 129 Ohio hospital community health improvement projects.

SOMC to Host Knit for Hope

Knitters and crocheters of all skill-levels are invited to an evening of fun, food and to support a good cause as part of the Knit for Hope group at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 29 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio.

Patterns for lap quilts, throws, shawls, hats and caps will be available, though attendees are asked to bring their own needles and yarn (of any color). Finished products will be donated to breast cancer patients of the SOMC Cancer Center.

For more information, please call the Volunteer Office at (740) 356-8234.

Differences between an Urgent Care Center and an Emergency Department

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently converted the SOMC Health Care Center to an Urgent Care Center in Portsmouth. This conversion will offer patients a resource for immediate non-emergent medical care.

“The biggest difference between an urgent care and an emergency department (ED) is the type of medical complaints that can be treated,” Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, director of Emergency, Pediatrics and Outpatient Services at SOMC, said.

Critical conditions such as cardiac arrest, heart attacks, trauma, motor vehicle accidents, mental illness, asthma and COPD (breathing problems) can be treated at an emergency department. Patients with severe injuries, accidental injuries, abdominal pain or chest pain should come to the SOMC Emergency Department, located on SOMC’s main campus.

“Less acute injuries and illnesses should seek medical attention at one of our urgent care locations,” Dilts added. “The Urgent Care Centers in both Portsmouth and Wheelersburg will be able to treat minor medical complaints, including minor lacerations (cuts), urinary tract or kidney infections, earaches, migraine headaches, vomiting, rashes, sprains, strains, sports injuries, flu symptoms and fever.”

Dilts went on to explain that the second major difference between urgent care centers and emergency departments is the co-pay and higher deductibles offered by insurance plans.

For example, if a patient has a fever and cough but their family physician’s office is already closed, they can go to the Urgent Care Center. Their co-pay might be $25 for an urgent care visit versus $100 for an emergency department visit (rates based on the average private insurance plan).

“This example is good, however if that same person was also experiencing chest pain, they would need to seek medical attention at the SOMC Emergency Department,” she said. “Despite the higher co-pay, chest pain qualifies as an emergency need.”

If patients seek medical attention at the Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth location and need more acute care, they will be transferred via ambulance to the main campus emergency department.

SOMC offers an emergency department and two Urgent Care Centers. The emergency department is located on the SOMC main campus, 1805 27th St., Portsmouth and is open 24 hours.

The Urgent Care Center-Wheelersburg is located at 8770 Ohio River Rd. in Wheelersburg and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Saturday. The Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth is located at 1248 Kinneys Lane (SOMC’s south campus) in Portsmouth and is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Saturday.

For more information about these and other services available at SOMC, call (740) 356-5000 or visit us on the web at

Children Gain Education, Support through SOMC Diabetes Camp

Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were able to make new friends and learn ways to manage their disease during the SOMC Hot Shots Diabetes Camp held June 9 at the Friends Community Center. The event featured many hands-on and aerobic activities including the creation of a “We Want a Cure” poster, pictured with participants above. The sign was made using 2,190 neon band aids to represent the number of blood glucose checks one child will endure in a year.

Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were recently invited to spend the day playing games, making friends and learning ways to manage their disease during a Hot Shots Diabetes Camp held at Southern Ohio Medical Center June 9.

Twenty participants between the ages of six and 13 attended the daylong event, which featured many activities including educational arts and crafts, cooking and carbohydrate counting, and physical exercise through Zumba, swimming and basketball.

“We wanted to host a program that would not only give children the chance to have fun learning about diabetes, but also meet others their age who share in the same day-to-day struggles and triumphs,” Ashley Salyers, clinical educator and counselor of the Hot Shots Camp, said.

SOMC Dietician and Hot Shots Counselor Kim McCray explained that many children with diabetes are often the only ones in their families or schools diagnosed with the disease, causing them to feel alone or different.

“Being diagnosed with diabetes at such a young age can be challenging because you don’t always have someone to turn to who understands exactly what you’re going through,” she said. “Hot Shots Camp showed participants that there are others in their shoes who can provide a special kind of support.”

Nine-year-old Morgan Rawlins agreed with McCray, saying her favorite part of the day was meeting new people who were just like her.

“Before coming to camp, I didn’t know any one else my age who had diabetes. Now I have twenty new friends and know I’m not alone. It makes me feel better,” she said.

As a type 1 diabetic herself, McCray said she could relate to the issues discussed during the camp and was glad to see so many children coming away with positive attitudes.

“This event was so successful that we’ve already had requests to hold a reunion later in the summer. We’re always looking for new ways to provide entertaining, meaningful education for our community so I can’t wait to see what we can come up with.”

For more information about the diabetes education offered at Southern Ohio Medical Center, please contact Ashley Salyers at 356-2720.

SOMC Pink Warriors Hosted a Zumbathon


The Southern Ohio Medical Center Pink Warriors, a Scioto County Relay For Life team, recently hosted a Zumbathon fundraiser at the SOMC Cancer Center June 11. More than 80 people attended the event, raising approximately $800 for the American Cancer Society. Shown above are attendees participating in the high-energy exercise and dance routines of Zumba®.

SOMC Offers CPAP Education Clinic

According to the National Institute of Health, sleep apnea affects more than twelve million Americans. SOMC’s Sleep Diagnostic Center offers a CPAP education clinic to provide sleep apnea patients with the ability to manage their disease process and to increase CPAP therapy compliance.

“Medicare’s guidelines require documentation of compliance within three months of treatment initiation for the patient to continue CPAP therapy,” Michelle Lyons, supervisor of Sleep Disorders at Southern Ohio Medical Center, said. “Therefore, it is important to help patients better understand their machines and the therapy itself so that they will feel more comfortable with the process and be more likely to utilize the treatment.”

A physician order is required for patients to begin the 12-month process. It does not have to be the physician who ordered the patient’s sleep study. Participants will meet with a Respiratory Therapist at one month, three months, six months and 12 month intervals after treatment begins. Compliance checks will be performed, documented and a follow-up summary will be forwarded to the referring physician.

“Patients often feel overwhelmed when they get their CPAP equipment,” Lyons said. “Our goal is to be a resource and to provide education for anyone with sleep apnea, hopefully resulting in increased compliance and reducing their anxiety about the therapy.”

There are several long-term health consequences of untreated sleep apnea such as high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, memory problems, headaches, weight gain and in some cases, diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea can result in sleepiness during the day that may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle accidents.

The educational clinic is open to any patient currently on treatment with mask fitting or toleration issues as well as newly diagnosed and those who have just begun treatment for sleep apnea.

For more information, please contact Michelle Lyons at the SOMC Sleep Diagnostic Center by calling (740) 356-8822.

SOMC Opens Urgent Care Center in Portsmouth, June 20

Southern Ohio Medical Center has announced that the Health Care Center located at 1248 Kinneys Lane (SOMC’s south campus) in Portsmouth will convert to an Urgent Care Center beginning June 20, 2010.

“We recognize the community’s need for a more centralized Urgent Care Center,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, said. “By evolving the Health Care Center into an urgent care facility, this will provide a new option for non-emergent care for the people in our area.”

“The Health Care Center has functioned as a very successful freestanding emergency department since 1998, though many people thought it was already an Urgent Care Center,” Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer at SOMC, said. “With the recent expansion of our Main Campus Emergency Department, there no longer is a need for two emergency facilities in Portsmouth and the growing need for urgent care is more prevalent.”

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, director of nursing for Emergency, Pediatrics and Outpatient Services at SOMC, explained that like the Urgent Care Center in Wheelersburg, the Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth will provide non-emergency treatment for minor medical complaints, including minor lacerations, urinary tract infections, earaches, migraine headaches, sprains, and fever. The center also will offer care to patients whose primary care physician is not available.

“Many local organizations are adopting insurance plans with much higher deductibles and co-pays for Emergency Department visits, whereas the cost of a visit to the Urgent Care Center is comparably less,” Dilts Skaggs said. “The decision to provide a second, more centralized urgent care center will be a cost savings opportunity for our local patients.”

The hours of operation will remain the same (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Saturday). Outpatient services, testing, (including lab and x-ray) as well as the Ambulatory Infusion Clinic will continue to be available at the Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth location from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Saturday.

“We truly feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization and our community,” Arnett added. “We hope the community will work with us as we grow and continue to provide the excellent quality care for our patients and their families.”

To better meet the needs of the community, SOMC also offers an Urgent Care Center in Wheelersburg, located at 8770 Ohio River Rd. for the treatment of minor medical complaints. This facility has been open for 12 years and the hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Saturday. For more information please call, (740) 574-9090.

In addition to the opening of the Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth, SOMC has also started an Athletic Training Outreach Program. Student athletes who participate in the program will have priority access to a Saturday morning Sports Injury Clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. located inside the Urgent Care Center-Portsmouth building. For more information please call, (740) 356-7438.

SOMC Celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day

Southern Ohio Medical Center celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day with a 1950s themed party at the SOMC Friends Community Center, held June 6. More than 300 cancer survivors and their families attended. Life Ambulance provided the food and Doc Roc and the Remedies provided entertainment. The Minford High School cheerleaders volunteered their time to serve food and encouraged the participants to dance.

National Cancer Survivors Day is held annually in hundreds of communities throughout the world on the first Sunday in June. It is a symbolic and celebratory event to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.

Shown above at the SOMC National Cancer Survivors Day celebration is cancer survivor, Tom Beck of Portsmouth (center) and his sister, Regina Keller (left) and his mother, Vivian Beck (right).

SOMC Names New Manager of Volunteer Services

Jenny Lavender has been named manager of Volunteer Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Lavender, a native of Portsmouth, joined SOMC in 2008 where she served as the Friends Center Coordinator. She previously worked as the Publicity and Program Coordinator at the Portsmouth Public Library for 16 years. In Lavender’s new role she will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of the SOMC Volunteer program.

She currently resides in Lucasville with her family.