Yearly Archives: 2011

SOMC Wins Press GaneyPosted on December 29, 2011

Through the hard work of its more than 2,300 employees, Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently named a 2011 Distinctive Workplace Award winner by Press Ganey Associates. Pictured (l to r) are SOMC employees: Jason Swords of the Cardiovascular Operating Room; Sheryl Howard of Environmental Services; Shay Fry of Diagnostic Radiology; Jeannie Patty of Telecommunications; Terry Hall of Facilities; and Dr. Marion Hochstetler of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services.

SOMC Wins Press Ganey Distinctive Workplace AwardPosted on December 29, 2011

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been named a 2011 Press Ganey Distinctive Workplace Award winner by Press Ganey Associates.

SOMC is one of only 11 Press Ganey clients in the nation to receive this prestigious honor, which is given to organizations that have reached and sustained the 95th percentile in employee satisfaction scores for two consecutive reporting periods. SOMC currently stands at the 99th percentile for employee satisfaction.

“This is a great honor for our organization and recognizes our employees for their partnership and true commitment to outstanding quality service,” Ken Applegate, director of SOMC Human Resources, said. “This award acknowledges that our employees love what they do and take pride in providing their talents right here at SOMC.”

Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 healthcare facilities (including more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals) to measure and improve the quality of care delivered to patients. The company’s databases are the largest in the industry and allow facilities nationwide to benchmark their results against peer organizations.

SOMC has been recognized nationally and statewide for employee satisfaction, not only receiving the Distinctive Workplace Award two years in a row, but also earning distinctions as one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, a Best Employer in Ohio, and one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work.

“Without the dedication and high-level of quality our staff provide every day, we would not be considered for such designations,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “We are proud of our team of experts at SOMC and are extremely proud to offer the best quality care to the people of our community.

Dr. Khoury begins new procedure at SOMCPosted on December 28, 2011

General Vascular Surgeon Dr. Thomas Khoury is now offering a new procedure, Radiofrequency Esophageal Ablation, at Southern Ohio Medical Center. This minimally invasive procedure treats Barrett’s Esophagus, a disorder that can lead to dysplasia and even increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

Dr. Khoury is the only physician in the area offering this procedure.

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the lower cells of the esophagus become damaged, often as the result of repeated exposure to stomach acid. Barrett¹s esophagus is most frequently diagnosed in people with long-term gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), also commonly known as ‘reflux,’ which is a chronic regurgitation of stomach acid into the lower Esophagus.

Radiofrequency Esophageal Ablation treats the condition by removing the damaged cells.

“This is a complete therapy for Barrett’s, which also includes stopping the reflux by surgically correcting the hiatal hernia or weak lower esophageal sphincter,” Dr. Khoury said. “So we kill the Barrett’s and stop the reflux.

“The procedure is very minimally invasive and very superficial,” Dr. Khoury added. “We basically heat the tissue of the esophagus and kill the damaged cells. The treatment takes between 30 and 40 minutes to do, and then the patient goes on with his or her life.”

Patients generally need to go through between one to three treatments. During the treatment, an endoscope with a small balloon attached to it is inserted into the esophagus. Controlled energy from radio waves is then delivered through the balloon, burning the damaged cells with which it makes contact.

“Patients that have these abnormal cells are at risk of developing esophageal cancer. Our goal is to address that risk by eliminating those cells,” Dr. Khoury said.

Over 90 percent of patients, in most trials, have experienced complete Barrett’s eradication after undergoing treatment.

SOMC’s Thompson Elected to NAHC Board of DirectorsPosted on December 21, 2011

Karen Marshall Thompson, director of Home Health Services and the Wound Healing Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center, was recently elected to the National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Board of Directors.

Thompson was elected for Region V, which includes representation from Ohio, Ill., Ind., Mich., Minn., and Wis.

“I am very excited to receive this honor,” Thompson said. “The NAHC Board of Directors is the chief policy making body of the NAHC, and I am thrilled to be a part of such an important institution.”

The NAHC meets four times per year in Washington, D.C. and its activities include political advocacy and activism, strategic planning, educational programming and collaborative projects, which demonstrate the clinical efficacy and effectiveness of Home Care and Hospice services.

Thompson, RN, MS, CNS, has been an employee at SOMC for 33 years and also serves as a tri-leader for the hospital’s Magnet recognition program.

“I’m grateful for the excellent opportunities I have been afforded through my work at SOMC, and I’m thankful for the support they’ve shown me in my latest endeavor,” Thompson said.

Thompson is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Ohio University and Mount Carmel Hospital School of Nursing. She resides in Otway with her husband, Ben.

Kephas Joins Community Relations Team at SOMCPosted on December 21, 2011

Eric Kephas has been welcomed to the Community Relations Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

In his new role as marketing communications specialist, Kephas will oversee all external communications, emergency management communications, and social media strategies for the hospital.

Kephas graduated from Northwest High School in 2003. He received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Ohio University and a master’s degree in Strategic Communications from National University. He was previously employed as a reporter and copy-editor at the Portsmouth Daily Times.

Kephas currently resides in Wheelersburg. To contact him regarding any media needs, please call 740-356-2689 or e-mail

Patient Raises $5,000 for SOMC Cancer Compassion FundPosted on December 19, 2011

Through determination and door-to-door donations, local breast cancer patient Skeeter Smith (right) recently raised more than $5,000 for the Cancer Compassion Fund at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Pictured with Smith is her sister, Judy Bayes.

Shortly after her 50th birthday, Skeeter Smith of Lucasville was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer. For most people, receiving this news would be devastating. But for Smith, it was the beginning of an amazing journey.

“Learning that I had breast cancer immediately sparked something in me; I knew I needed to get out in the community and start helping others,” Smith said. “This disease touches so many lives and I was determined to find a way to not only help them, but also help myself.”

Smith’s passion was soon sparked by her knowledge of the Cancer Compassion Fund at Southern Ohio Medical Center—a foundation dedicated to helping local uninsured and underinsured patients receive the necessary tools and financial assistance to undergo cancer treatment.

“I kept hearing about the SOMC Cancer Compassion Fund and thought it would be an excellent project to dive into,” she said. “Not only would it give me the opportunity to help those who were in my shoes, but it would also keep my mind off what I was going through. It was the perfect choice.”

Smith’s journey began through a venture with her sister, Judy Bayes, who coaches volleyball at Northwest High School.

“Our team planned to participate in the annual Volley for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer awareness, but we decided to take it a step further and donate our proceeds to the Compassion Fund,” Bayes said. “The event was so successful that we then held a tri-match against Notre Dame and Piketon schools. Together we were able to raise $789.”

SOMC to Offer Diabetes Self-Management ClassPosted on December 14, 2011

Southern Ohio Medical Center will offer a five-week Diabetes Self-Management Education Program for community members with type 1 or type 2 diabetes beginning Jan. 9.

“We listened to feedback from our previous class participants and have implemented options that should make it easier to attend our educational sessions,” Tiffany Hadsell, RN, diabetes clinical educator at SOMC, said. “The class will meet for an hour once a week at various times and locations, giving our participants the opportunity to pick the sessions that best suit their busy schedules.”

The five-week program will begin Jan. 9 and end Feb. 6. Participants may choose to attend the hour-long class at one of four weekly times and locations including: 10 to 11 a.m. Mondays in the Gibson Building on the SOMC East Campus; 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Mondays at the SOMC Lucasville Life Center; 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays in the Gibson Building on the SOMC East Campus; and 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays at the SOMC Wheelersburg Rehabilitation Facility.

“Throughout the course, we will discuss diabetes complications, nutrition, monitoring, sick days, foot care, emotions and medications,” Hadsell added. “There’s so much education that goes along with diabetes and we want to make it as accessible as possible to help people better manage their daily lives. We hope this program will help.”

A physician referral is required to participate in the program and can be faxed to the SOMC Central Scheduling Department at 740-353-1363 or called in at 740-356-8128.

A fee is also associated with the program, but is usually covered by most insurance plans. For billing questions, please call 740-356-8182. For any additional information, please call the SOMC Diabetes Education Office at 740-356-2627.

SOMC Home Health Services Earns National HonorPosted on December 13, 2011

Home Health Services of Southern Ohio Medical Center are proud to announce their inclusion in the 2011 HomeCare Elite, a compilation of the most successful home care providers in the United States.

Now in its sixth year, the HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of home health agencies across the country. Winners are ranked by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, process measure implementation, and financial performance.

“As Ohio’s oldest hospital-based home care service, we are honored to once again be a part of this prestigious list,” SOMC Home Care Director Karen Thompson said. “Our program is dedicated to maintaining leadership status in best practices and performance, and we have made an ultimate commitment to provide excellent care to those we serve. This designation only further verifies our success and is a humbling validation of the excellent care our nurses, therapists and aides provide.

SOMC Home Health has maintained recognition as one of Ohio’s most well-established and experienced home care programs since its inception in 1966. This is the fourth time that the program has been named to the Elite list since 2006.

“The HomeCare Elite program continues to identify excellence and recognize home health care agencies that perform at the highest level,” Amanda Twiss, CEO of Outcome Concept Systems Homecare and My InnerView, said. “We congratulate the 2011 HomeCare Elite for their continued success and commitment to high quality of care.”

The 2011 HomeCare Elite is the only performance recognition of its kind in the home health industry. The 2011 HomeCare Elite is brought to the industry by OCS HomeCare, the leading provider of homecare information, and DecisionHealth, publisher of the industry¹s most respected independent newsletter Home Health Line and the Complete Home Health ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Coding Manual. The data used for this analysis were compile from publicly available information. The entire list of the 2011 HomeCare Elite agencies can be viewed by visiting the OCS HomeCare website at

SOMC, SSU Partner for Cold Hands…Warm Hearts CampaignPosted on December 7, 2011

The Heart Care and Intensive Care units at Southern Ohio Medical Center are partnering with the Student Nurses Association‹Shawnee State University to host the hospital¹s annual “Cold Hands…Warm Hearts”
donation campaign.

“Every year our employees work to ensure that our community members are provided with quality care, both in and outside the hospital,” Chad Bragdon, registered nurse of the SOMC Heart Care Unit and coordinator of the project, said. “Whether it be through department donations or collaborations with other organizations, we always try to go above and beyond to extend a hand to others in need‹especially during the holiday season.”

Bragdon explained that from now until Friday, Jan. 13, the SOMC and SSU teams will be accepting donations of new and gently used mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, blankets and other winter accessories. The collected items will then be donated to homeless shelters and agencies throughout the community that help those in need.

“We really want to warm the hands and hearts of our community, so any sort of donation is welcomed,” Bragdon added. “We’re so appreciative of the support we receive and we’re hoping for a large collection of items once again this year.”

Those who wish to donate items may drop them off in the collection boxes located in the Heart Care Unit on the SOMC Main Campus, 1805 27th St., Portsmouth. If you have any other significant items that you would like to donate, or have any questions about the campaign, please call the SOMC Heart Care Unit at 740-356-1800.

Girl Scout Troop 515 Donates to SOMC Cancer CenterPosted on November 30, 2011

For the second consecutive year, members of Girl Scout Troop 515 in Gallipolis, Ohio donated a basket full of hand-made scarves to the patients of the Cancer Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center. The scarves were made as part of the troop’s Silver Award project, which encouraged the girls to gather donated materials, construct and donate the scarves, and teach and pass along their new tradition to their younger scouts. The troop also developed and submitted a booklet about the project to the Girl Scout Council in Columbus. Pictured at the donation (from left to right ) are Lexie Johnson, SOMC Cancer Center Director Wendi Waugh, McKensey Sanders, Akeisha Saunders, Kelsey Purdum, and Molly Markley.

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