SOMC Leading the Way in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery

Dr. Henry Childers with Maxine Ruby, a recent recipient of the minimally invasive procedure.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is leading the way in minimally invasive procedures and currently is the only organization in the region performing these procedures in heart surgery.

“Minimally invasive heart surgery allows the patient to undergo a heart procedure without the extensive opening necessary to get to the areas that need repair. It also allows the patient a much faster recovery time,” said Henry Childers, M.D., Cardiothoracic Surgeon in the SOMC Heart and Vascular Unit.

Minimally invasive heart surgery is performed through a small incision, no more than four inches, made in the patient’s chest cavity in order to conduct the procedure. By using this procedure, no bone or muscle is cut and the patient incurs a smaller incision area, which reduces pain and scaring. This process also reduces the risk of infection, causes less bleeding, pain and trauma to the chest cavity and decreases the length of stay in the hospital.

“We have been able to get patients back on their feet in as little as 24-hours after their surgery. Recovery time is also drastically reduced from the average recovery time of traditional heart surgery of up to eight weeks due to the fact that we do not have to cut bone. With this procedure, recovery time is as little as two weeks,” Childers explained.

“I feel 100% better,” said Maxine Ruby, a recent recipient of the minimally invasive procedure. “I have a lot more energy. I can do my housework and can watch my grandson play ball. I couldn’t do that before the surgery.”

Childers explained that heart valve surgeries, including valve repairs and valve replacements are the most common types of minimally invasive procedures, however the process can also be used for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, epicardial lead placement and atrial fibrillation.

“We are continually staying ahead of the pack on techniques and technology at SOMC. This procedure eliminates the cutting of muscles and bone which lessons the amount of time patients are in the operating room and reduces the amount of time needed for recovery,” he said.

Ruby said her recovery time was extremely fast. “I had my surgery on Tuesday and was home by Saturday. I was up and moving around and already felt great. I’m now in rehab and walking on the treadmill.”

Childers specialized in minimally invasive procedures during training at Cornell Medical Center in New York and at the University of Pennsylvania. He has continued to perfect this technique over the years, leading the way in the region. For more information on this procedure contact SOMC’s Heart and Vascular Associates at 356-8772.

Cook With Heart focuses on healthy eating habits

Lisa Carmichael, medical technician at Southern Ohio Medical Center, preps a community member for a glucose reading at last year’s heart event, Sing with Heart. This year’s event, Cook with Heart, will take place at the SOMC Friends Community Center, on Feb. 24, from 2 to 7 p.m. and will provide free health screenings on various healthy-heart indicators including cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and heart risk analysis.

Southern Ohio Medical Center will host its fourth annual heart awareness program, “Cook with Heart,” from 2 to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Portsmouth.

“Each year we try to incorporate a heart-healthy theme to our community awareness program so we can focus not only on taking care of the heart, but also on creating an overall healthy lifestyle,” Amy Fraulini, director of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services, said.

This year’s event will feature cooking demonstrations of various recipes that promote healthy eating. Demonstrations will begin at 4 p.m. with free samples to be offered by SOMC Dietary Services.

“In order to have a healthy heart, you have to have a healthy lifestyle. Part of that lifestyle is learning how to prepare quick and easy meals that are good for you and maintain great taste,” Fraulini said.

While learning healthy cooking tips, participants also will be able to take part in free health screenings which will begin at 2 p.m. and include total cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and a heart risk analysis. Pre-registration is required.

For more information about Cook with Heart, or to schedule your free heath screening, please call 740-356-7665.

Scarpinato Elected Cancer Liaison Physician by CoC, SOMC

Vincent M. Scarpinato, MD, senior medical director of the Surgery Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has been elected to serve as Cancer Liaison Physician for the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the SOMC Cancer Committee.

During his three-year term as liaison, Dr. Scarpinato will bridge the gaps between the two committees, the American Cancer Society and the community, helping to identify and report the needs of the local area and improve the quality of care offered to the cancer patients of SOMC.

“Cancer Liaison Physicians are responsible for providing the leadership and direction to establish, maintain, and support their facility’s cancer program, consistent with the criteria set by the Commission on Cancer,” Wendi Waugh, director of Cancer Services at SOMC, said. “Dr. Scarpinato has been an exceptional link between the community and our hospital and I know he will continue to improve our efforts while serving in this role.”

In October 2008, the CoC granted SOMC Cancer Services with a three-year accreditation for its outstanding achievement and compliance with the commission’s standards. Out of the eight potential areas of commendation, SOMC Cancer Services received seven.

“Being accredited by such an outstanding and prestigious organization was a huge achievement for our Cancer Center and I am excited to increase our interaction with the CoC through this position,” Dr. Scarpinato said. “It’s both a pleasure and an honor to be chosen by these groups to serve our community and I look forward to working with them during the next three years.”

Board-certified in General Surgery, Dr. Scarpinato received his medical degree from New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY. He previously served as program director of the Department of Surgery as well as chief of Surgical Education at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center. He has been part of the surgical staff of SOMC for the last two years and has been practicing general and breast surgery for 17 years.

SOMC named to Best Places to Work For list two years in a row

Officials at FORTUNE magazine have announced that Southern Ohio Medical Center is listed 68th as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in the United States. This honor has been given to SOMC two years in a row.

“This confirms that our family atmosphere of caring for our patients as well as each other has made us a great place to work,” said Vicki Noel, Vice President of Human Resources at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The distinction is given based on an evaluation of various workplace attributes including hiring processes, celebrating in the workplace, caring among team members and communication. A majority of the process is weighted by the thoughts and opinions of the employees of SOMC. SOMC was evaluated against various organizations across the United States including large corporations and other healthcare organizations.

A driving factor for the companies on this year’s list is that they excel at creating jobs. Of the 100 companies on the 2009 list, 73 are currently hiring.

In his FORTUNE.com blog, Managing Editor Andy Serwer writes, “No matter what happens with the economy, the demand for talent will remain. Great companies know that super-motivated, happy, world-class employees are an incredible competitive advantage.”

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

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, as well as our Magnet Designation, VPP Star Status and also serving as the Best Employer in the state of Ohio 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. 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. We will continue to listen and learn from those who make the greatest impact on our organization – our SOMC team,” Noel said.

FORTUNE is a global leader in business journalism with a worldwide circulation of more than 1 million and a readership of nearly 5 million, with major franchises including the FORTUNE 500 and the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For. FORTUNE Live Media extends the brand’s mission into live settings, hosting a wide range of annual conferences, including the FORTUNE Global Forum. FORTUNE magazine’s online home is CNNMoney.com, the most visited and utilized business destination website.

Anticoagulation Clinic part of Heart and Vascular process

The Anticoagulation Clinic is located on Oakland Avenue on the South Campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Patients who have had heart valve replacements, had complicated surgeries, blood clots, or heart beat irregularities may be asked to take Coumadin to help slow the blood clotting process. These medications, known as anticoagulants, are used to prevent major complications, such as vessel or valve obstruction, or strokes. In order to properly administer and monitor patients using these medications, Southern Ohio Medical Center houses a specialized department called the SOMC Anticoagulation Clinic.

“Our facility is always dedicated to nationally recognized best practices and having an anticoagulation clinic, on-site. Providing this service along with our other heart and vascular areas is best practice,” said Rory Phillips, RPh, Director of Pharmacy at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

SOMC’s Anticoagulation Clinic opened its doors in 2002 in order to bring state of the art treatment methods to patients in our area. Now, part of the overall heart and vascular process, Phillips said SOMC services encompass all aspects of total heart and vascular care.

“Our pharmacists have more than 45 years of combined experience in caring for Coumadin patients in the outpatient setting. Five hospital pharmacists rotate through the clinic, most of which are Doctor of Pharmacy graduates, but all have national certification in anticoagulation” he explained.

Phillips said the clinic results exceed national patient safety and quality standards with a proven track record that has been shared across the United States at other healthcare organizations and national conferences.

“We have exceeded the Joint Commissions quality standards and patient satisfaction expectations in our clinic and have shared our practices to help other organizations make improvements. Like with everything we do at Southern Ohio Medical Center, we set the bar high so that we are continually focused on providing the highest quality care,” he shared.

SOMC’s Anticoagulation Clinic is located on Oakland Avenue on the South Campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center and cares for more than 825 patients currently. For more information on anticoagulation and other related services, contact the clinic at 356-7539.

SOMC Outpatient Rehab Centers Donate Gifts for Children

Staff members of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center recently donated 25 gift bags full of toys, clothing and games to the children of the Southern Ohio Sexual Assault Treatment Center. A cash collection to purchase gifts was held at the Lucasville, Portsmouth and Wheelersburg outpatient locations and toys were also donated by the Smiles for Sean foundation at Northwest High School. The Southern Ohio Sexual Assault Treatment Center provides medical and legal care, support and compassion to those who have experienced sexual assault, and also provides prevention education to all members of the community.

Pictured at the donation with Patty Pettigrew, service coordinator of the Southern Ohio Sexual Assault Treatment Center, are SOMC Outpatient Rehabilitation members (l to r) Pam Higgins, Pam Knittle, Denise Caulley and Brett Lacy.

H&R Block and SOMC Reward Last Baby of the Year

H&R Block, in partnership with Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently rewarded Stephanie Lewis of Portsmouth (pictured above with son, Hunter) for giving birth to the last baby of 2008. As part of the reward, Lewis received a gift basket, free tax advice and will qualify for a dependency exemption and credits on her 2008 tax return. Those parents of babies born after midnight Jan. 1 will have to wait until they file their taxes for 2009 to receive the same tax break. Lewis’ son, Hunter, was born at 9:05 p.m. Dec. 31 at SOMC.

SOMC to Celebrate the Growth of a Dream during Annual MLK Event

Community members are invited to celebrate the growth of a dream during this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. event at Southern Ohio Medical Center. The celebration will take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19 at the Friends Community Center, 1202 18th St., Portsmouth.

Dr. Amory Novoselac, medical oncologist of the SOMC Cancer Center, will be the guest speaker and artistic groups from the community and the hospital will provide entertainment. Special educational poster displays, cultural desserts from around the world and refreshments will be available at the end of the event.

For more information about the celebration, please contact Deanne Malone 356-8597.

Southern Ohio Medical Center Receives American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR® ACTION Registry®-GWTGTM Silver Performance Achievement Award

Southern Ohio Medical Center has received the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry–GWTG Silver Performance Achievement Award for 2008 – one of only 93 hospitals nationwide to do so. The award recognizes SOMC’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, and signifies that SOMC has reached an aggressive goal of treating coronary artery disease patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

To receive the ACTION Registry–GWTG Silver Performance Achievement Award, SOMC consistently followed the treatment guidelines in ACTION Registry–GWTG for 12 consecutive months. These include aggressive use of medications like cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and anticoagulants in the hospital.

“The American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association commend SOMC for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Christopher Cannon, MD, ACTION Registry–GWTG Steering Committee Chairperson and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Physician in the Cardiovascular Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute and secondary prevention guideline-recommended therapy is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of heart attack patients,” added Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, Get With The GuidelinesSM Steering Committee Chairperson and Director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center.

“The time is right for SOMC to be focused on improving the quality of cardiovascular care by implementing ACTION Registry–GWTG. The number of acute myocardial infarction patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing incidence of heart disease and a large aging population,” said Paul Rase, nurse manager of the Heart Care Unit at SOMC.

Created by the merger of the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry® and the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-CAD program, ACTION Registry–GWTG combines the best of both programs into a single, unified national registry. The new registry joins the robust data collection and quality reporting features of the ACTION Registry with the collaborative models, unique tools, and quality improvement techniques of the GWTG-CAD program. With the collective strengths of these two programs, ACTION Registry–GWTG empowers health care provider teams to consistently treat heart attack patient according to the most current, science-based guidelines; and establishes a national standard for understanding and improving the quality, safety, and outcomes of care provided for patients with coronary artery disease, specifically high-risk STEMI and NSTEMI patients.