Monthly Archives: June 2012

SOMC Nursing Leaders Present at Annual PRC ConferencePosted on June 28, 2012

Nursing leaders at Southern Ohio Medical Center were recently selected to present during the 13th Annual PRC Excellence in Healthcare conference, held June 3-6 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

More than 300 clients and distinguished guests attended the event, which aimed to further educate healthcare professionals interested in achieving service excellence.

Those who presented included Claudia Burchett, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and vice president of Nursing at SOMC; Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, BSN, MSN, NE-BC, director of SOMC Emergency, Outpatient and Pediatric Services; and Valerie DeCamp, RN, BSN, MHA, NE-BC, director of SOMC Inpatient Nursing Services.

Dilts Skaggs and DeCamp presented, “From Very Good to Excellent, Service Tools, Strategies and Action Plans to Achieve Results,” while Burchett was chosen to sit among a panel that discussed “Creative Ways to Reward and Recognize Staff.”

“This is the second year we have been chosen to present at the annual PRC conference and we hope to do so again,” Burchett said. “It was a great opportunity for our organization and the sessions helped us gain invaluable knowledge that can be used to better continue SOMC’s journey toward excellence and perfection. We look forward to returning.”

Senior Behavioral Medicine Care Unit will keep continuum of care localPosted on June 26, 2012

Local nursing home officials are excited for the opening of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s new Senior Behavioral Medicine Care Unit (SBMCU), saying it will satisfy a real need in the community.

SOMC’s new unit provides care for seniors experiencing symptoms such as dementia, depression, Alzheimer’s or psychosis. The fact these services will be available in Portsmouth will make care available and convenient to more seniors.

“Sometimes, nursing homes have patients that might need the kind of care you would receive from a Behavioral Medicine unit,” Scott Powell, administrator of Concord Nursing and Rehab, said. “Right now we’re sending a lot of those patients to Cincinnati, and it’s just not good to send patients that far out of the community. SOMC’s unit will help keep the continuum of care local.”

Lori Head of Best Care Nursing and Rehab agrees.

“The travel can be taxing on patients and their families,” Head said. “The SBMCU is going to make it very convenient for them, and it’s going to be a great asset to the nursing home community because it’s a trusted facility that we all know and greatly appreciate.

“We all appreciate having SOMC in our community and to have the Behavioral Unit along with it is going to work out great.”

Heartland of Portsmouth’s Belinda Lesley said that, because the unit will be providing care so close to home, it will make behavioral medicine available to patients who otherwise may have declined it to avoid the travel.

“We’ve sent seven patients out of the area so far this year,” Lesley said. “A local resource like SOMC’s SBMCU will allow us to not only keep those patients near their families, but to refer more patients for care in the future.”

The Senior Behavioral Medicine Care Unit is located on the second floor of SOMC’s Main Campus and features 15 private rooms. For more information, or to refer a patient, contact the SBMCU at 740-356-2200.

SOMC opens new Senior Behavioral Medicine Care UnitPosted on June 25, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center is expanding the care it provides with the opening of the brand new Senior Behavioral Medicine Care Unit (SBMCU). This secure, acute care service is for seniors experiencing symptoms such as dementia, depression, Alzheimer’s or psychosis.

“Our new unit provides a warm and supportive environment in which seniors can receive treatment for the conditions that may be causing discomfort in their lives,” SOMC Director of Nursing Valerie DeCamp said.

The unit, which is located on the second floor of SOMC’s Main Campus, features 15 private rooms as well as a lounge room, and a dining room.

Patients also have access to psychiatric evaluations, group and individual psychotherapy, medication education and follow-up care that helps ensure health improvements are long lasting.

“Not only do we have a caring and experienced staff in the unit, but we also have the resources to provide seniors with the support they need even after they leave the hospital,” DeCamp said. “All of us at SOMC are committed to making a meaningful and long-term difference in the lives of our patients.”

Treatment plans are designed with specific goals and objectives for each patient. They can include individual, group and activity therapies as well as special focus groups.

For more information, or to refer a patient, contact the SBMCU at 740-356-2200.

SOMC hosting blood drive July 10Posted on June 18, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be hosting a blood drive on July 10 from 7:30 am until 3:30 pm in Suite 207 of the Waller Building, located on SOMC’s Main Campus.

SOMC lab technician Beth King knows firsthand the importance of having blood available for those who need it. Beth was diagnosed with colon cancer in May of 2010 and, during an 11-month period, underwent three major surgeries and six months of chemotherapy.

“I received blood during surgery, and then again during Chemotherapy when I developed kidney stones”, Beth said.

Prior to her diagnosis, Beth considered herself to be a healthy person. She rarely used sick days and never expected that she may need to be in the hospital as a patient rather than as a care giver. She had no reason to suspect she may soon be in need of donated blood, but then again, nobody really knows that they’ll need it until they do.

That’s why Beth thinks it’s so important for people to donate at blood drives like SOMC’s.

“You never know who is going to need blood next,” Beth said. “It could be a family member or even yourself.”

According to the American Red Cross, currently only 3 out of every 100 people in the country donate blood. Having been on the receiving end of the process, Beth says she has a deeper appreciation for how important it is to become a donor.

For more information, please call 740-356-8670 or 740-356-8687.

SOMC’s Dr. Lichtenstein named Healogics Zone Medical DirectorPosted on June 14, 2012

Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein, Local Medical Director of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Wound Healing Center, has been named a Healogics™ Zone Medical Director. Healogics™ is a national management company, managing over 500 wound centers throughout the United States. Dr. Lichtenstein is recognized as a leader in the field of wound care and hyperbaric medicine.

In her new role, Dr. Lichtenstein will serve as a resource for Local Medical Directors in the 80 wound centers that make up Healogics™ northeast zone. Dr. Lichtenstein will also be coordinating educational opportunities for the wound care physicians in this area. 

“I am honored and excited to become a Healogics™ Zone Medical Director,” Dr. Lichtenstein said. “Wound centers in the Healogics™ network – such as ours at SOMC – have cared for more than one million wounds that failed to heal using conventional methods and achieved a healing rate of 89 percent.”

Dr. Lichtenstein will continue her work at SOMC. She will see patients in the Wound Healing Center in Portsmouth on Thursdays and at the new Waverly Urgent Care and Specialty Center on Mondays.

The SOMC Wound Healing Center offers a comprehensive program that features state-of the-art treatment for non-healing wounds. Wounds treated include diabetic ulcers, lower leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, bone infections, gangrene, skin tears, radiation burns, post-operation wounds and failed or compromised skin grafts.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 740-356-8775.

SOMC offering free breast cancer screenings this summerPosted on June 12, 2012

Free clinical breast exams will be provided at Southern Ohio Medical Center this summer. The first screening is being offered on June 21 at the SOMC Breast Center, located at the Main Campus.

“We’re offering free mammograms to women who are uninsured or underinsured as part of our Hands of Hope program,” Breast Health Navigator Kim Richendollar said.

After the June 21 screening, there will be additional exams at the Breast Center on July 26, August 7 and September 20. On October 9, free breast exams will be provided at the SOMC Cancer Center. Screenings conducted at the SOMC Breast Center will offer same-day mammography if needed.

“Individuals that are age 40 or older, or younger with a family history of breast cancer or have an abnormal finding on a self breast exam are encouraged to register and take advantage of this program,” Richendollar said.

SOMC’s Hands of Hope program is funded in part by The Columbus Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

To register for a free clinical breast exam, contact the SOMC Volunteer office at 740-356-8234. Medical questions should be directed to Kim Richendollar at 740-356-7465.


SOMC Awarded an “A” for Patient SafetyPosted on June 12, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.

Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors.

Through the collected data, U.S. hospitals areassigned an A, B, C, D, or F.

“To earn an ‘A’ for our Hospital Safety Score is quite an accomplishment and a true testament to the exceptionally safe environment we have created at SOMC,” Chief Safety Officer Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of SOMC Health and Safety, said. “It’s through the dedication of many employees that we are able to sustain this excellent safety culture and I’m grateful for the strides that have been made to provide the safest patient-care possible.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of healthcare to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of healthcare for Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals.

“It’s The Leapfrog Group’s goal to give patients the information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said. “We congratulate the hospitals that earned an ‘A’ and we look forward to the day when all hospitals in the U.S. will earn the highest scores for putting patient safety first.”

To see SOMC’s scores as they compare nationally and locally, or to find information on how you can protect yourself and your and loved one during a hospital stay, visit the Hospital Safety Score website at


SOMC and OUHCOM Honor Outstanding PhysiciansPosted on June 8, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center and the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM) recently honored this year’s outstanding physicians during an awards breakfast held June 26. Winners were chosen based on nominations by the program’s medical students and residents and included the following: Thomas Khoury, MD (Outstanding Specialty Medicine Physician); Kevin Kammler, DO (Outstanding Internal Medicine Physician); Justin Greenlee, DO (Outstanding Family Medicine Physician); and Jeremy Parsons (Outstanding Resident). Pictured above at the breakfast are (front row, l to r) OUHCOM Medical Student Regina Lovette, and Derrick Williams, DO, Family Medicine Chief Resident; (second row, l to r) Jerod Walker, DO, Family Medicine Resident, Pikeville Medical Student Michael Gabbard, Dr. Parsons, and Dr. Khoury; (back row, l to r) John Kasper, DO, Emergency Medicine Residency Director, Aaron Adams, DO, director of Medical Education, and Dr. Kammler.

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s junior volunteersPosted on June 8, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center’s junior volunteers pose for a photo with Jenny Lavender (back row, far left) and Carol Burnheimer (back row, far right) of SOMC Volunteer Services. SOMC’s Junior Volunteer Program has become a popular way for students to enjoy a meaningful and rewarding summer. Junior volunteers are introduced to many facets of the hospital as they work right along-side adult volunteers and SOMC staff. Benefits of the summer Junior Volunteer Program include real-life experience and building job skills, meeting healthcare professionals, learning more about careers in healthcare and meeting new friends. To learn more about the volunteer opportunities available at SOMC, contact the Volunteer Office at 740-356-8234.

Portsmouth West track team helps coach through surgeryPosted on June 5, 2012

As a teacher and track coach at Portsmouth West High School, Debra Moore is always there to give her students support when they need it the most. When Moore underwent open-heart surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center, they were there to return the favor.

 In fact, Moore says her students were part of the reason she was so sure everything was going to be okay. Prior to her surgery, and just after a track meet that she was forced to miss, Moore’s team gathered in front of their bus to take a special group photo for their absent coach.

 “They all stood together and made little hearts, and they sent me a message: ‘Good luck tomorrow. We’re with you, we love you,’ that kind of thing,” Moore said. “When I saw that, I knew I was going to be okay.”

 Moore was touched by her track team’s support, but not surprised. She has a close relationship with them that goes back further than her surgery. They were there to offer support during her mother’s hospitalization, and stood by her as she mourned the loss of the woman she describes as not only a parent, but also her best friend.

 When she first went to SOMC, complaining that it felt like someone was “blowing a balloon up” in her chest, she assumed it was just anxiety from her mother’s passing. She soon found out it was more serious than that, but whatever worry she may have felt was lessened by that simple, thoughtful gesture from her track team.

 “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle,” Moore said. “When I saw that picture, I knew that he was sending me a message: Yes, I was going to go through surgery, but I was going to be okay and I would be back to coach my team.”

 It wasn’t just the support of her team that put Moore at ease, however. She had also researched her doctors at SOMC and was very pleased with what she heard.

 “I made phone calls to check on Dr. Alain Asher, and I had nothing but good reports about him,” Moore said. “I just can’t say enough about Dr. Asher and Dr. Harry Driedger. They’re wonderful, they couldn’t have treated me better.”

 Since her surgery, Moore has visited her team and celebrated her recovery.  She has also taken note of just how fortunate she was to have the right team around her in her moment of need, both on the track and in the hospital.

 “Immediately after I started having chest pains, I went to SOMC. I trusted them to take care of me, and they delivered,” Moore said. “I received excellent care from the entire staff at SOMC. The nurses, lab techs, house keepers – everyone was just wonderful.

 “I’m also grateful for the support from my students and co-workers. People like our boys track coach, Gary Marion, and my assistant, Leah Blevins, helped make a difficult situation a little more manageable.”

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