Category Archives: Uncategorized

SOMC Earns ‘A’ Rating for Safety from the Leapfrog GroupPosted on 05/12/2023

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization driven by employers and other purchasers of health care, recently announced the spring 2023 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades.
SOMC has earned this prestigious honor of an “A” rating from the Leapfrog Group since the fall of 2018, also marking their 10th straight “A” score. SOMC is one of only 171 hospitals nationwide to receive this rating and only one of seven in Ohio to have received an A since 2018. The organization is also one of 29% nationwide to receive the designation and one of 31 in Ohio to receive an “A” in 2023.
“Safety is one of our top priorities at SOMC, so this designation is something we’re very proud of,” SOMC Director of Safety Services Christy Timberlake said. “We’ve confronted a lot of challenges, but our commitment to safety has never wavered. This recognition is a testament to that fact.”
The Safety Grade assigns letter grades of “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F” to hospitals across the country based on their performance in preventing medical errors, infections, and other harms. Developed under the guidance of a national Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses up to 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign grades to more than 3,000 U.S. acute-care hospitals twice per year. The Leapfrog Group’s grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent, and free to the public.
For more information, visit

SOMC Breast Center Offering Expanded HoursPosted on 05/12/2023

The SOMC Breast Center has updated their hours of operation!

The new Breast Center hours are as follows:
Monday | 7:30am-5pm
Tuesday-Thursday | 6:30am-5pm
Friday | 6:30am-11am

West Union Family Health Center also offers mammograms Monday through Thursday from 7:30am – 5pm.

Screening walk-ins will still be offered. For more information, call 740-356-8128.

The last appointment available will be 30 minutes prior to closing.

SOMC Hike For Hospice Set for May 13Posted on 05/01/2023

Join SOMC Hospice on Saturday, May 13, for a hike to raise donations for the SOMC Hospice Caritas Fund. The hike will begin at the SOMC LIFE Center Parking Lot, with registration beginning at 8:30 am and the walk starting at 9:30 am. There will also be a balloon launch and DJ at the event.

A T-shirt sale is set for May 8-10 in the Main Lobby of the hospital from 7am-3pm.

A donation to the Hospice Caritas Fund allows us to make a positive difference in the lives of hospice patients and their families. Your gift ensures that local patients and families coping with a life-limiting illness will receive comfort, support and care they deserve in a time when they need it most.

Click here to register!

SOMC Vanceburg Plans Open House for May 7Posted on 05/01/2023

Southern Ohio Medical Center is holding an open house at their SOMC Vanceburg Family Health Center on Sunday, May 7 from 1-3pm.
The event will begin with a ribbon cutting at 1pm, followed by staff-provided guided tours and refreshments. The facility will begin offering services on May 8.
The SOMC Vanceburg Family Health Center will offer a variety of services, including family practice care with Dr. Sarah Porter, Nurse Practitioner Adriann Cooper, Nurse Practitioner Ray Ervin and Nurse Practitioner Natosha Staggs.
Services also include HVA and Cardiology care from Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Kalb, OB/GYN care from Nurse Practitioner Tori Howell and General Surgery offered by Dr. Jeffrey Parker. There will also be Laboratory, X-Ray and Ultrasound Imaging, Outpatient Rehab, Home Health and Pharmacy services available.
The facility is located at 246 Commonwealth Road in Vanceburg, Kentucky.

Junior Volunteer Program Applications Now AvailablePosted on 04/21/2023

Is your teen interested in volunteering this summer? The SOMC Volunteer Office now has applications available for students ages 16-18 who are interested in volunteering. This exciting program provides students with a variety of opportunities to gain knowledge about healthcare careers, learn from SOMC staff members and work alongside some of the best volunteers around!

The SOMC Summer Jr. Volunteer Program begins on June 12 and will continue through August 4. If you know a student who might be interested, the last day to submit applications will be May 5.

Students, along with all volunteers, must be fully vaccinated to apply. For additional information, please contact the SOMC Volunteer Office at 740-356-8234.

[Air It Up Event Cancelled]Posted on 03/17/2023

Air It Up is now cancelled due to impending weather.

However, you can still participate in the raffle by visiting

Cincinnati Reds package details:
4 Cincinnati Reds vs White Sox tickets for the evening game on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at the Cincinnati Reds stadium
Seats 1-4, row U, section 136
Reds memorabilia

Raffle ticket prices:
$5 | one chance to win
$20 | five chances to win

SOMC Athletic Trainers and the Game They Won’t ForgetPosted on 03/09/2023

SOMC Athletic Trainers Leslie Mack and Amber Howell rode together to the Women’s Division IV District Semifinal Basketball Game at Southeastern High School against their respective teams, the Notre Dame Titans and the Valley Indians.

Little did they know that game would be a defining moment in their career and a game they will never forget.

This moment had no relation to the game.

After the Lady Titans secured a win over the Valley Indians, celebrations and interviews occurred as usual. Brock Netter of the Southern Ohio Sports Authority was interviewing Notre Dame’s coach JD Mckenzie.

Leslie, Notre Dame’s trainer, said she heard the coach begin to yell for her to come and help. She looked across the gymnasium to see Mckenzie holding Brock against the wall. Leslie jumped into action and raced across the floor.

She started asking Netter general health questions to try and gather a sense of what could be happening. He was a healthy guy in his early 30s. She recalled him saying he felt lightheaded, and his stomach was hurting. About that time, Amber returned to the court and saw her coaches motioning for her, and she ran to help.

As Amber arrived, Brock seemed to have a seizure and passed out. All around were able to help lower him to the ground.

“Instincts kicked in,” Leslie said. “We jumped into action, and we knew what to do.”

Amber immediately searched for a pulse on his neck. “Leslie, I don’t feel anything,” she recalled saying.

Leslie immediately began chest compressions. Another AT from OhioHealth jumped in and helped put the AED on him.

Amber checked for another pulse on his wrist. Nothing.

Leslie began the second set of chest compressions. The AED was in place, but thankfully he began responding before a shock was needed. The team continued to monitor him until the EMTs arrived to transport him to the hospital.

“Leslie had a huge hand in literally saving my life, as did everyone else who attended to me when I needed it,” Brock said. “She was the first person that (Notre Dame girls basketball coach J.D. McKenzie) called on, and she rushed right in as I was starting to fade, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I was surrounded by so many people who knew what to do and how to proceed in order to bring me back, and I’m so grateful to them.”
This was the first time in both Amber and Leslie’s careers that they had to administer CPR to someone, and it was someone that they helped revive.

Amber and Leslie left that game and attempted to reflect on what had just happened.

“Mentally, I just feel like you go into action and don’t even think about being scared,” Amber said.

“We teach (CPR) all the time, and you always say every time you teach a class, hopefully, you never have to do this, and most people won’t, but it’s always good for people to know,” Leslie said.

Brock said that he is doing great now. He spent two days in the hospital, and all the tests they ran came back completely normal.

“Levels were good, vitals with good, no issues anywhere and I’m super thankful for that. I passed out on a Thursday and went right back to work on Monday, and I’ve felt great ever since. I’m in great spirits and thankful I was able to get back to doing what I love the most,” he said. “I actually got the chance on Thursday to see Leslie before the Notre Dame girls’ victory over Fisher Catholic, talk to her, give her a hug and say thank you for saving my life. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

Brock said he received great care from the trainers, EMTS and doctors who cared for him.

“I’ve had a ton of people reaching out to check on me every day since, which was really overwhelming but super humbling as well to feel that much love from everyone. I’m forever grateful,” he said.

At SOMC, we are grateful to have team members like Leslie, Amber, and the rest of the athletic training team, who are trained and ready to jump in when needed, even to save a life.

SOMC Pharmacy Recognized as First Retail Pharmacy in Ohio to Utilize Automated Checking SystemPosted on 03/09/2023

The goal of the SOMC Pharmacy staff is to serve their patients’ medication needs effectively and safely.
To do this, they have had a medication pack process since the opening of the SOMC Outpatient Pharmacies. This was a manual process that required pharmacy staff to refill, recount and have a pharmacist check each pack; a tedious process, to say the least.
“We always wanted this to be an option for our patients,” said Jessica Dixon, SOMC Registered Pharmacist Supervisor. “We were getting so many requests that we wanted to make that process more efficient.”
This led them to purchase the Parata Packaging Machine and the Perl. The Parata dispensing robot releases the medication into pouches after a tech keys in all the medication. Then, the machine does the rest. This led to the creation of the new, updated MedPaks. These updated packages are customized for each patient’s medication needs.
The Perl will go back through and inspect each pouch to ensure they are correct. The team can then see if the machine flagged any errors.
To be able to utilize this method, the State Board of Pharmacy requires a site visit as well as a thorough review process. They were impressed with the process when they visited the SOMC Wheelersburg Pharmacy, where the machines are housed.
Still, the team had to complete the 45-day review, which included a pharmacist checking each pack that the Perl reviewed, which the team did for longer than this review process to ensure accuracy. This time period proved that the Perl catches 100% of errors.
“Having a true error with the machine is very rare,” Dixon said.
The State Board of Pharmacy approved the review at the beginning of February. SOMC was recognized as the first retail pharmacy in Ohio to receive approval for the automated checking system.
“Utilizing this system and being approved by the State Board means we are really leading the way, especially in the State of Ohio, with trying to improve patient outcomes by improving adherence rates to their medications.”
MedPaks are free and available to all patients who would like their medications customized. Patients can request one and be available at the SOMC Wheelersburg Pharmacy for pick-up, delivery, or delivery to the SOMC Pharmacy that a patient chooses.

SOMC Pediatric Guild Gives Back in Memory of Rees JusticePosted on 03/02/2023

On April 22, 2019, Rees Justice, an MRI staff technologist at SOMC, tragically passed away in a traffic accident at just 26 years old.

Nearly four years later, Rees’s legacy continues touching lives around the community. After his passing, his family asked in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the SOMC Pediatric Guild. Those donations poured in. Rees had such an impact on the lives of all around him, and he continues to today.

Rees loved kids and was also a gamer, so it is only fitting that the SOMC Pediatric Guild recently gave back in his memory to the Children’s Playroom at the SOMC Hospice Center. The room was originally and generously donated in memory of David B. Lodwick by David L. and Barbara Lodwick. The Pediatric Guild utilized the funds donated in Rees’s memory to update the room.

Rees’s family recently attended the unveiling of his plaque for his memory to be remembered in the new room at the hospice center. This donation is sure to impact many lives going through a trying time.

A sincere thank you to Rees’s family for deciding to touch other lives in his memory. Also, thank you to the Pediatric Guild for using these funds to enhance this room at the hospice center.

Home is Where the Heart isPosted on 02/27/2023

Rebecca Kalb, a southern Ohio native, is a nurse practitioner in the SOMC Cardiology Group, now serving the heart patients of her hometown.

Born and raised in Portsmouth, Kalb has spent most of her life in this community and loves the people here.

After earning her associate degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Shawnee State University, life took Kalb north as she completed her Bachelor’s in Nursing from the Ohio State University. After earning her BSN, she started her career as a nurse at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where she spent five years.

“Although we enjoyed the hustle and excitement of big city life, we never felt a sense of community and closeness with our neighbors when we lived away,” she said. “We decided to return home and set our roots here because we have always loved this community and feel this is exactly where we want to bring our talents and services.”

Upon returning to Portsmouth, Kalb spent five years as a nurse in the SOMC Heart Care Unit (HCU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). During her time in the HCU, she was involved with the implementation of SOMC’s open heart program, which she is incredibly proud to have been involved with.

After ten years as a nurse, Kalb, who loves learning, decided to pursue her MSN. She began her career as a nurse practitioner specializing in internal medicine/general to broaden her knowledge as a provider. She eventually transitioned to a palliative care role.

During this time, she unexpectedly lost her father to a heart attack.

“Over time, as I processed this loss, I grew a stronger desire to return to cardiac care so I could help prevent others from suffering this same outcome with themselves or loved ones,” she said.

Not long after, a cardiology position became available at SOMC. She knew this was where she belonged.

“I truly love this specialty and population of patients,” she said. “The most rewarding part of working in cardiology is the opportunity to have impactful interactions with patients and families. Heart disease is the number one killer, and cardiologists have the unique
opportunity to have a big influence on patient outcomes. Caring for a patient’s heart is very rewarding.”

She also finds the field of cardiology fascinating as it is an ever-evolving field where data and knowledge expand daily. Being able to look into someone’s heart and tailor therapy specifically for them is fulfilling to her.

“I get the privilege every day to help the sick recover, provide valuable support to those with chronic illnesses, and ensure patients receive the treatment/care they need to lead healthy lives,” she said. “My goal in this role was to keep patients as well managed as possible for as long as possible.”

Now, she is helping cardiac patients live healthy and active lives as a nurse practitioner for the SOMC Heart & Vascular Associates. She is also accepting new patients at the Ironton Family Health Center and the SOMC Vanceburg Family Practice & Specialty Associates.

When she isn’t serving the patients of the community, she spends her free time being very active in the community with her children.

“We have five children and couldn’t imagine raising them anywhere else,” she said. “We love feeling connected with the community and the people around us.”

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