SOMC named in Hospital of Choice Awards


Southern Ohio Medical Center is now among the top healthcare organizations in the country as a Hospital of Choice. R. Vincent Parr, President of the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers, announced the winners of the Hospital of the Choice Award for the winter quarter.

“This is quite an honor. This shows that we are working hard for our patients in full circle – providing quality health care and maintaining top notch customer service,” said Valerie DeCamp, director of inpatient services at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

Each year AAHCP evaluates approximately 400 hospitals for consideration of this Award. One hundred hospitals each year are recognized for a period of one year and posted on the website The Hospital of Choice Award is designed to find America’s most customer-friendly hospitals based either on an extensive application process, or by a secret review of a facility’s public communication and staff interaction with customers.

The application process requires a review of six principal areas of consideration including Standards of Conduct, Performance Management and Improvement, Staff Development and Training, Systems of Communication, Good Citizenship, and Educational and Promotional Material available to consumers.

“We continually listen to our patients and visitors as well as our team members to ensure that we are providing the best in everything we do. This designation is very significant on showcasing our efforts toward world class customer service in our organization,” said Mary Kate Dilts-Skaggs, director of nursing, emergency & outpatient services at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

AAHCP recognized the first hospitals with the Hospital of Choice Award in 2002. For further information, please contact Sara Suliman, Choice Awards Coordinator, or Ken Carson, Choice Awards Manager, at (703) 655-1381, or by email at The list of this year’s winter quarter are listed below.

Aultman Hospital
Canton OH

Cabell Huntington Hospital
Huntington WV

Concord Hospital
Concord NH

Cooper Green Mercy Hospital
Birmingham AL

Effingham Hosital
Springfield GA

Florida Hospital Waterman
Tavares FL

Fremont-Rideout Health Group
Yuba City CA

Gundersen Lutheran
La Crosse WI

Little Company of Mary Hospital
Torrance CA

Medical City Dallas Hospital
Dallas TX

Memorial Hospital
York PA

The Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha NE

Northwest Florida Community Hospital
Chipley FL

Parrish Medical Center
Titusville FL

Pikeville Medical Center
Pikeville KY

River Falls Area Hospital
River Falls WI

Southern Ohio Medical Center
Portsmouth OH

Southwest Health Center
Platteville WI

St. Mary Medical Center
Langhorne PA

Swedish Medical Center
Englewood CO

Union Hospital Health Group
Terre Haute IN

University of Kansas Hospital
Kansas City KS

Western Maryland Health System
Cumberland MD

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
Yakima WA

SOMC Employee Receives MBA

Kara Miller, medical education coordinator for Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), has been awarded her master’s degree in business administration from Tiffin University.

Miller received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Shawnee State University and has been employed at SOMC since June 2007.

She also serves as SOMC’s administrator for the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE).

SOMC To Offer Scrapbooking Grief Support Group

Hospice of Southern Ohio Medical Center will offer a special scrapbooking grief support group during March.

The sessions will give participants an opportunity to remember their loved ones while talking about their feelings of grief and loss.

“Memories are a way of holding on to things you love and things you never want to lose,” said Susan Goins, social worker with SOMC Hospice. “Scrapbooking can lead to healing after the loss of a loved one because it gives us a visual memory of special moments with them.”

The group will meet once a week for three weeks, beginning March 3. Sessions will begin at 5 p.m. in the conference room of the Gibson building on SOMC’s East Campus.

The sessions are free and materials for scrapbooking will be provided. Participants should bring pictures, cards, letters or other items to include in their scrapbook pages.

Space for this special grief support group is limited. Anyone wishing to participate should call Goins at (740) 356-2676 or call Hospice at (740) 356-2651 by March 3.

Promise Guild donates flat screen television to Cancer Center

The Promise Guild, a guild of the Friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, donated a 42-inch, flat-screen television to the SOMC Cancer Center. The television was purchased through funds accumulated from various fundraising activities. From left, Promise Guild members, Anne Cardenas, Marilyn Mercer, Rose Havens, Joyce Payton and Sherill Day pose in front of the new television, located in the waiting area.

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 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, 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.