Hoke Joins Khoury Practice

Mandy Hoke, MS, PA-C, has been welcomed to the staff of Southern Ohio Surgical Associates and the practice of Thomas L. Khoury, MD, a physician on staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

A certified physician’s assistant, Hoke graduated from Alderson-Broaddus College, Philippi, W.Va. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and grew up in California. She resides in the Portsmouth area.

Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. A certified PA has met the defined course of study and has undergone testing by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

Hoke can be reached at Southern Ohio Surgical Associates, 353-8661.

SOMC Rehab Technology Helping People Walk

Rehabilitation patients suffering from balance, posture, neurological and muscular problems will be able to receive quicker, safer and more efficient training through the use of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s new Lite Gait system in the Acute Rehab Unit.

“The new Lite Gait system helps patients who have lost the ability to use their lower extremities regain a normal gait pattern, strength and endurance in a supported environment, ” Belinda Diles, program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “We are the first hospital in South Central Ohio to have this new equipment and our patients have already started seeing ambulatory improvements from its use.”

The Lite Gait system works by harnessing a patient over a treadmill or the ground, allowing them to practice walking in a secure, upright position. This helps in protecting unstable patients from falling and also allows therapists to use both of their hands when observing gait patterns.

“In the past, patients with severe debilitating conditions would require the assistance of two or three staff members to support their weight,” Diles said. “But the new system completely supports any patient weighing up to 500 pounds, allowing therapists to concentrate more on correcting the patient’s problem.”

The system can be custom-tailored to meet the needs and ability level of every patient. When used in conjunction with a treadmill, the system allows patients to work at their own pace, gradually increasing speed and decreasing support as their walking improves.

“This equipment will allow us to better serve a variety of patients including those affected by stroke, brain and spinal cord injuries, major multiple trauma and various neuropathies,” Dr. Jeffery Williams, medical director of Acute Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “By providing patients with this level of treatment, it solidifies our position as the tri-state area leader in Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation.”

LIFE Center in Portsmouth Launching Turbo Kick Classes

The SOMC LIFE Center will showcase a new cardio kickboxing program at 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Oct. 2.

Called Turbo Kick, the class combines shadow boxing, kickboxing, sports drills, dancing, yoga and simple dance moves in a party atmosphere. Turbo Kick is an interval-based class that allows participants of any fitness level to participate and custom tailor their workout.

Taught in more than 2,000 facilities worldwide, the popular format is committed to constant evolution and emphasis on the “fun factor.” The class is recommended for everyone from beginners to the most advanced. For more information call the LIFE Center in Portsmouth at (740) 356-7650.

SOMC Rehab Reaches Out To Community

The Inpatient Rehab unit of Southern Ohio Medical Center is taking service beyond the doors of the hospital and into the community.

“For the past two years, we’ve been actively supporting and participating in a variety of service projects throughout our local area,” Belinda Diles, program director of Inpatient Rehab at SOMC, said. “We started helping as a way to achieve personal performance goals, but that quickly evolved into something much larger and more important.”

Staff members annually participate in, and donate toward, various local projects. Over the past year, the unit has been involved in 11 charitable programs including coat drives for homeless shelters, food pantries, filling Christmas wish lists for under-privileged children and walking in the annual SOMC Hike for Hospice.

Every year, each Inpatient Rehab staff member chooses a local project that is related to his or her individual interests, such as education or youth involvement, Diles explained. The department then participates in the program on a group level.

“We always pick projects that make a difference in the lives of our community members and allow all of us to participate in some way or another,” Michelle Lumpkins, occupational therapist at SOMC, said. “We try to choose things that we know will directly impact others while giving us a chance to step outside of our everyday job duties.”

The most recent program the department participated in was a “Back to School” project, created to help area students. Staff members chose 14 students from surrounding local schools and gave them each a backpack filled with all the school supplies they would need for the new school year.

“Everyday we’re given the opportunity to help patients inside our hospital, but it’s also important that we venture into our community to try to help everyone else,” Lumpkins said. “We do everything we can to give to others and hopefully we’ll be able to continue devoting our time and help to the community for years to come.”

SOMC Receives Support From AEP For Improvements

Marty Walsh, economic development manager of American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio, (left) and Terry Lloyd, customer services account manager of AEP Ohio (right), present Craig Gilliland, administrative director of financial support and facilities at Southern Ohio Medical Center, with a check for $100,000. The funding is part of the AEP Ohio Economic Development Rate Stabilization Plan (RSP) grant program.

The program provides financial assistance to new and existing industries for expansion projects that create new jobs, retain existing jobs and generate new investment within the AEP Ohio service territory.

The grant will be used toward the SOMC expansion project, which is set to bring an additional 200 jobs to the area within the next three years. The $100 million expansion includes a four-story patient care addition, new emergency and surgery space, lobby and entrance, and a heart care unit in preparation for open heart surgery.

Carpenter, Jordan Appointed In SOMC Workforce Development

Linda Carpenter has been named Director of Workforce Development, formerly Staff Development, at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Vicki Noel, vice president of Human Resources and Organizational Development, announced. Carpenter has joined SOMC’s leadership team from Nashville, Tenn., where she served as a training manager for the Gaylord Opryland Resort. She received her master’s degree in Educational Administration/Adult Continuing Education from Michigan State University.

Shawn Jordan has been named Workforce Development Manager, Noel announced. Jordan has been an employee of SOMC for the past 10 years as a Marketing Communications Specialist in the Community Relations Department. She received her bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism and Theater from Morehead State University and her graduate certificate in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University. She is currently pursing her master’s of science in Healthcare Administration.

Noel said the change in the department’s name to Workforce Development, which was official Aug. 27, is consistent with a switch in the industry to a broader scope of educational support for the entire organization in addition to the traditional clinical staff development.

SOMC Surgery Uses New Procedure To Destroy Tumors

SOMC Surgeons Dr. Thomas Khoury and Dr. Richard Rooney prepare to use a special radiofrequency probe to destroy a tumor in a patient’s liver.

Southern Ohio Medical Center is among the first hospitals in the region using a new procedure to destroy cancerous tumors in soft tissue without surgically removing them.

“In many cases this procedure can be done with smaller incisions and less risk to the patient,” SOMC general and vascular surgeon Thomas L. Khoury, SOMC’s cancer physician liaison, says. “Using image-guided technology, a special probe on a wire delivers localized high-frequency electric current, heating and destroying the tumor with less damage to surrounding tissue.”

Known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), the approach results in safely destroying the tissue, which then shrinks and is replaced with scar tissue.

“Depending on the patient and conditions, the procedure can be performed in conventional surgery or in an image-guided approach,” Dr. Khoury says. “This is less traumatic to the patient in some cases than surgically removing the tumor, which requires larger incisions, longer recovery, greater discomfort and more risk of infection.”

The most common areas of treatment include the liver, lung, kidney, adrenal gland, and in some cases bone. While the technology does not replace conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it can be used in conjunction with those approaches to address soft tissue cancers, Dr. Khoury says.

SOMC Surgical Services uses the Boston Scientific system. Once the tumor has been ablated, the patient will be scanned at one month and every three months afterward to monitor for any recurrence.

SOMC Launches New Medication Process

Southern Ohio Medical Center has launched a new process for giving medication to patients during their hospital stay.

The nurse will use a hand-held scanner to scan her/his ID badge, the patient’s hospital ID bracelet and the code printed on the patient’s medication packet prior to giving the medication.

“This helps assure that the right medicine is reaching the right patient the right way,” Julie Irwin, nurse manager of SOMC’s Three North-A unit, explains. Her unit was the first to “go live” with the process Aug. 21. Other nursing units throughout the hospital will adopt the process over the coming months.

The process is called Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA), using an Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR). SOMC is participating in a national safety initiative and this proven best practice for safety and error prevention helps protect the patient’s “Five Rights” (right patient, medication, dose, time and route).

Coinciding with the deployment of BCMA is pharmacy unit dose packaging, a process in which the SOMC pharmacy individually packages and codes each dose of a patient’s medications, which are then stored in a secure containment system near the patient’s room.

SOMC Security Officers Receive Certification

SOMC Security Officers

Officers of Security Services at Southern Ohio Medical Center have increased their ability to provide top-quality safety and security to employees, patients and visitors of the hospital.

Four of the department’s newest officers recently received certification from the International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) after passing the organization’s health and safety certification exam in June.

“This marks the first time all eligible officers of our department have been IAHSS-certified since I started working here in 2006,” Joe McKinnon, manager of Security Services at SOMC, said. “This certification means that our Security officers have demonstrated their commitment to meeting nationally recognized standards of professionalism and competency.”

The IAHSS is a nationwide organization dedicated to advancing excellence in healthcare security and safety through education, credentialing, growth and influence. Through the IAHSS’s basic, advanced, supervisory and health and safety certification exams, officers are given the opportunity to learn industry-wide best-practice standards of performance.

McKinnon says the health and safety exam is extremely challenging and demands a high level of competence to pass successfully. Officers must study a 304-page manual consisting of healthcare security topics, such as fundamental security skills, protective measures, customer service and emergency management. Once ready, they must then take a written exam and pass with a score of 75 percent or more to achieve certification.

“Certification through IAHSS exams is important because it strengthens our staff’s ability to perform and provide an enhanced quality of services at SOMC,” McKinnon said. “This is a great achievement and will help in providing our team with improved knowledge and uniform, industry-recognized education of hospital security for the future.”