VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

VCU Health CMH Employees Take Advantage of Education Assistance Program

South Hill, VA (7/15/21) – In mid-summer, the last thing you want to think about is school! But for some employees at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) college is front of mind. Some are just starting out to further their education, some are taking graduate-level courses and some have just graduated.

One of the big benefits of being employed at a teaching hospital is the emphasis on life-long learning. Part-time or full-time VCU Health employees with benefits who have been employed for at least one year and are maintaining a grade of C or better for undergraduate courses, and B or higher for graduate level courses, are eligible for tuition assistance. They may receive between $3,750-$15,000, depending on the degree and status, and may choose from 200 colleges and universities. Dependent children under age 23 get 6-12 credits per year at VCU depending on part-time or full-time parental status.

In 2010, The Institute of Medicine issued “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” recommending the nursing profession increase the number of nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to 80 percent. VCU Health CMH nurses are currently at 47 percent working toward this goal.

Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary Hardin, MSN, RN, OCN, NE-BC, said, “We are very proud of the number of nurses advancing their careers, putting our patients first with the most up-to-date information available.”

Fifty-six active VCU Health CMH employees in fiscal year 2021 took advantage of education assistance. They are pursuing the following degrees:

  • Associate: 6
  • Bachelors: 32
  • Masters: 13
  • Doctor: 4
  • Grad Certificate: 1
 
In the past five years, 123 team members furthered their education through this program.
 
VCU Health CMH Employee 2021 Graduates:
  • Sarah Fox, Laboratory: Master’s Degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Sheree Smith, CMHP Admin: Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University
  • Gabriel Restrepo, Anesthesia: Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Theresa Griles, Education: Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Education from Chamberlain University
  • Amy Harrup, Obstetrics: Master’s Degree in Nursing with focus of Family Nurse Practitioner from Simmons University
  • Kathryn Spence, Acute Care: Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration from Liberty University
  • Elizabeth Bowlin, Emergency Department: Master’s Degree in Nursing Practice from Chamberlain University
  • Stephanie Dorman, Emergency Department: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Chamberlain University
  • Gabrielle Spainhour, Acute Care Physical Therapy: Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Radford University Carilion
  • Victoria Kelly, Acute Care: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Chamberlain University
  • Jenny Reine-Baskett, Education: Associates in Applied Science for Occupational Therapy Asst., St. Catherine’s University
  • Amanda Stone, Emergency Department: Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy Assistant from ECPI University
  • Magen Long, Operating Room: Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration from Purdue University Global
  • Macey Mills, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department: Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Liberty University
  • Brittany Dolan, Emergency Room: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University – August
  • Francesca Hayes, Emergency Department: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Western Governors University - September
  • Shena Alston, Recovery Room/PACU/ASU: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Western Governors University – October
  • Lisa Graham, Radiation Oncology:  Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University – fall

Sheree Smith, CCMA, BS

Sheree Smith, of Brodnax, is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant at CMH Dermatology. She just graduated in May from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Health Science and Business Management. Working full-time and going to school full-time, she managed to get financial aid to cover most of her coursework. She had one class to finish last semester, and because she wasn’t a full-time student at that point, she didn’t qualify for financial aid, so she took advantage of tuition assistance for her last class.

“The process was so easy; it was all online and everything was approved the next day,” Sheree said.

That schedule sounds crazy but add into the mix a first grader with online school during a pandemic.

“I was very disciplined as far as time management was concerned. I had a set schedule set aside for helping my son with schoolwork and time allotted for my own schoolwork. I could not have done this without having such great family support. Last but definitely not least, all praises to my God for guiding me and giving me the strength to help me achieve my goal.”

With this accomplishment under her belt, Sheree is not finished. She’s already enrolled in the Master’s in Healthcare Administration program (MHA) for the fall of 2021 with Liberty University.

“I pride myself in being flexible and adaptable. Therefore, I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold, especially within VCU Health CMH. Once I gain additional experience, my goal is to progress from a clinical position to management. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present.” 

 
Gabriel Restrepo, CRNA, DNAP

Gabriel Restrepo, of Chesterfield, is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who just graduated in May from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree. He first heard about VCU when he was at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He attended the annual anesthesia conferences and VCU always had a booth set up at the events.

“Education assistance made it possible for me to further my education,” Gabriel said. “I am still paying for previous student loans, and it would have been really difficult financially to pull it off. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this degree without it.”

Living an hour away, Gabriel commuted daily to South Hill, including hours on call, and commuted to Richmond for classes.

“It took a lot of work to make it happen,” Gabriel explained. “I had to give up a lot of personal time.”

Pursing a degree is a very personal decision.

“You have to want it and have a passion for it,” Gabriel said. “It’s the only way to get through it. You have to have the discipline and desire and then you can achieve anything.”

Gabriel’s already noticed a difference in his professional life. The doctoral program goes into policy making, ethics, quality improvement and patient safety on a much more in-depth level.

“My training has changed how I practice,” said Gabriel. “I approach patient assessments differently; I have more awareness and my communication with other professionals has improved. Now that I have time, I want to be more involved, so I plan to join new committees to implement what I have learned.”

Gabriel works with students on their clinical rotations and loves teaching.

“In a few years I can see myself transitioning to an academic level,” he said.

Parenting Tips for Resilient Children

South Hill, VA (7/8/21) – Why do some kids going through trauma come out fine and others struggle so hard? After the year we’ve had, it’s important to check in with your children to make sure they are doing okay. Dr. Anees is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in children’s mental health. Learn some tips on how to empower your kids to be resilient even under tough circumstances.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will host a virtual Community Out-Reach Education program via Zoom on parenting tips for resilient children. Mark your calendar for Thursday, July 22, from 12:00-12:30 p.m.

Visit www.vcuhealth.org/cmh-core for the Zoom link. Registration is appreciated, but not required. This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

Onaiza Anees, MD, earned her medical degree in Pakistan at Sindh Medical College. She completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center - Icahn School of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She finished her Child Psychiatry fellowship at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York, where she graduated as the Chief fellow of her department. Dr. Anees trained in psycho-dynamic psychotherapy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. She practices at CMH Behavioral Health in South Hill at 140 East Ferrell Street. Call (434) 584-5400 to make an appointment with Dr. Anees. To view a full list of services, visit: VCU-CMH.org

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital ER Medical Director Retires

South Hill, VA (7/8/21) – Dr. David Brown, ER Medical Director, retired after 27 years of service with VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH). Pictured are Glenn E. Barbour, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors; Dr. David Brown, retired VCU Health CMH ER Medical Director; Tom Tanner, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors District #3.

Bags Donated for Cancer Patients

Penny Evans, an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, facilitated community donations of 279 bags to the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center and to the Solari Radiation Therapy Center. Pictured are: Rebecca Sontag, Kim Baisey, PAR, Wendy Bohannon, RN; Teresa Collins, RN, BSN, OCN (all with VCU Heath CMH), and Penny, Sep and Jonathon Evans.

South Hill, VA (7/6/21) – For the fifth year, Penny Evans, an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts since 2008, asked customers and friends to donate so cancer patients at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) could be blessed with a special bag to help them through their journey. Penny, Sep, and Jonathon Evans were able to donate 279 bags to the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center and to the Solari Radiation Therapy Center!

Teresa R. Collins, RN, BSN, OCN, Director of Radiation and Medical Oncology, said, “A cancer diagnosis can be devastating for patients. These care bags are a blessing and uplift our patients during difficult times in their lives. Patients use these bags to keep appointments, information packets, goodies, and personal belongings as they are coming into the center for treatment. Our patients have said over the years how humbled they are to have so many people supporting them. Penny and her team of donors are wonderful, and we are extremely thankful for her continued support of our cancer program through the years.” 

Penny expresses her gratitude to all the generous donors and businesses that help make this fundraiser possible. “Our little community blows me away each year,” Penny said. “This fundraiser would not be possible without everyone’s donation.”

These bags are purchased and filled with items such as pocket calendars, tissues, soothing tea bags (Penny and Sep Evans), lip balm and drink koozies (First Citizens Bank), pens/pads (Microtel), antiseptic wipes (Citizens Bank and Trust), Mary Kay hand lotions (Tanya Baskerville), tissues/lip balm (Crystal Walker), change purses (Benchmark Community Bank), and hand sanitizers (VCU Health CMH). Thanks to the generous donors listed below.

Platinum (10+bags)
Anonymous - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
HHM Porta Toilet, LLC - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Airtec - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Hardee Ford - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Rozier Termite and Pest Control - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Full Strut Trucking - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Gold (5-9 bags)
Karobway - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Henry and Brittany Edmonds - In Memory of Joyce Hodges

Pam and Terry McDaniel - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Joyce and Charlie Taylor - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lynn and Davin Lucy - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

 

Silver (2-4 bags)
Kathryn and Kirk McAden - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Lundy Layne - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Marcia, JC and Jaicee Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Judy Cleaton - In Honor of Mary Carol Kallam, Nikki Evans and Janet Hayes

Vera Primm - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mandi and Brian Calhoun - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Gavin Honeycutt and Chad Vaughan - In Honor of Harold Vaughan, In Memory of Phyllis Vaughan and James Honeycutt
Judy and Ed Carroll - In Honor of Nikki Evans, Teen Evans and Jane Lockerman and In Memory of Carolyn Roberts

Nancy and Ken Bulluck - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Carolyn and Randy Carter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sharon Johnson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Michelle Edmonds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Lisa Graham - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Cheryl Newcomb - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sheri and Mike Sparkman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Stacy Archer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Candice Riggan - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Carleen and Rosser Wells - In Memory of Anne and Donnie Wells and In Honor of All Cancer Survivors
Deborah Piercy - In Memory of Janie Piercy and In Honor of Martha Chalkley
Custom Message Therapy and Skincare  - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Katelyn and Scot Sharber - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Susan Moody - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jannon Coley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Ashley and Adam Lipscomb - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Susan Creedle - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sandra and Scooter Ittner - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Teresa Collins - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammy Manning - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Love Café - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Irene Michelitsch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jeremy and Tiffany Lynch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Martha and Bobby Overton - In Memory of Carolyn T. Roberts, In Honor of Sandi Taylor and Aimee Hudson
Edna and Emmett Williams - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jenny Davis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Holly Painter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Mary Hardin - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Rhina and David Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Kristen Branch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
SHVFD Ladies Auxiliary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Gwen and Steve Hinzman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sarah and Joe Hutson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Tanya Baskerville - In Memory of Wendy Boyter Jackson and George Baskerville
Linda and Lynn Roberts - In Memory of Wanda Jones Beville and Jau Parker Roberts
Alicia and Guy Short - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Allecia Parker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
The Jacob and Wesley Swain Family - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Benchmark - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Bronze (1 bag)

Sarah and Kenneth Smith - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Candy McAvoy - In Honor and Memory of All the WARRIORS

Gay Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Christy Taylor - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jennifer Sullivan - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Betty Edwards - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kaye Bagley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lynn and Everette Gibson - In Memory of Lavenia Gibson

Katie Hubbard - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Susan Lucy - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Marjorie Lawson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Katherine Crutchfield - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim Baisey - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Pam Watson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kris and Scott Walker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Shelley Mayer - In Honor of Angela Madren and Lori Fuller

Georgia Franck - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sidney and Neil Burke - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Pam Gilbert - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Candi, Lee and Reid Allen - In Memory of Dallas R Allen

Debbie Moore - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Shelia Paynter - In Honor of All Cancer Patients

Ernestine Evans - In Honor of All Cancer Patients

Rita Parham - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Louise Ogburn - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Debbie Douglas - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brenda Curtis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Wells - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

April Wright - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Donna Wall - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mary and Wayne Rawlings - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Keli Reekes - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammi Lowery - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tonja Pearce - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mitzi Powell - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mary Edmonds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Teri and Troy Walker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Theresa Hockaday - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Emily Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sheryl Thomason - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lisa Middleton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Crystal and Ricky Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Eileen Bigley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim and Joe Young - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Terry Moss - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Diana Crowder - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angie Mills - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Paula Tanner - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tanya Mason - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jessica Johnson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Nichols - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Devon Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Diane Nichols - In Honor of Cheryl Newcomb

Robin Newton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Christy Dodd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brenda Bell Crafton - In Memory of Cindy Crafton

Christy and Wayne Reese - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim and Brent Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Judy and Chuck Martin - In Memory of Bobby Garrett

Nancy Jacobs - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Aileen Lewis - In Memory of John, Landa and Tameka

Rhonda Dalton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jana Thompson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Anita Kallam - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sara Boyd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Michelle Williams - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jessica Pearce - In Memory of Diane Curtis

Nancy and Kell Fleshood - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sara and Jerry Reynolds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Carol Anne Chapman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jill and Chad Springer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Carter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jennifer and Wayne Derrenbacker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kimberly Brown - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Emily and Mark Warren - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

John and Patty Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jonathon Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sep and Penny Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammy Brewer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brittany Davis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Anonymous - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Dottie Collins - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Wes and Mandi Shepherd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Kathy Coffee - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Urges Patients to Schedule Cancer Screenings

South Hill, VA (6/30/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) has joined a nationwide effort to encourage patients to resume appropriate cancer screenings to prevent excess deaths.

VCU Health CMH is urging people across the country to talk with their health care provider to resume regular primary care checkups and recommended cancer screenings. This has the potential to lessen the negative impact that the pandemic could have on identifying and treating people with cancer.

Throughout the pandemic, many health care resources were redirected to combat rising COVID-19 cases and to prevent the spread of the virus. Elective medical procedures, including cancer screenings, were largely put on hold at the onset of the pandemic. The impact was immediate as screening related procedures dropped drastically in March and May 2020 according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Estimates also project 35% of Americans missed routine cancer screenings due to COVID-19 related fears and service disruptions during that time frame. ACS foresees that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access and cancer screenings may result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses and a later corresponding increase in late-state diagnoses and preventable deaths.

VCU Health CMH has implemented numerous infection prevention measures to provide a safe environment for people to receive important medical care during the pandemic. These steps include:

  • Temperature checks and screening questions upon entry.
  • Everyone in the hospital setting still must wear a mask.
  • Limited visitation restrictions are still in place.
  • Examination rooms are thoroughly cleaned between patients.

“Simply put, regular cancer screening tests can improve and save your life,” said Medical Oncologist Nemer El Mouallem, Jr., MD. “Screening increases the chance of detecting some cancers early, when they may be easier to treat. We’re encouraging everyone in our community to talk to their doctor or a health care professional about getting on track with their recommended cancer screenings.”

Screening refers to testing individuals who have no signs or symptoms of disease. The most common screening tests for individuals without symptoms include mammograms, colonoscopies, PSA blood tests, skin exams, and low-dose lung CT scans for active or former smokers. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women while prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men. Lung cancer is the second and colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S. Yet nearly one in three people for whom screenings are recommended were not up to date with screenings prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Discuss with your PCP if you haven't had worrisome symptoms evaluated, or if you meet criteria for cancer screenings. Contact (434) 584-2273 if you do not have a PCP. For more information about cancer screening, visit www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early.html or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227- 2345.

June is National Safety Month

CMH Occupational Health Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn; Stacy Davis, FNP-BC; DeeAnna Forbes, RN; Patient Access Representative Holly Clary.
Not pictured: Donna Overton, LPN and Brandi Lloyd, LPN.

South Hill, VA (6/24/21) – The National Safety Council established June as National Safety Month to prevent injuries and save lives both in the workplace and outside. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) also values safety in every aspect of patient care. Every department touches some aspect of safety.

CMH Occupational Health and Wellness offers employers a way to improve the health of their workers and keep everyone safe. They have a Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified provider on site for DOT/CDL physicals and provide COVID testing swabs in the office. They can even go to business sites with certain services, depending on the number of employees, staff availability and business location.

More than 5,000 workers died in the U.S. on the job in 2019 and about 20 percent of these were in the construction industry. The most common OSHA violations in 2020 were fall protections, hazard communications, respiratory protections, scaffolding requirements, ladder construction, hazardous energy control, powered industrial trucks, eye and face protection, and machinery guarding.

Setting up regular physicals and drug testing can save a company by preventing accidents, reducing health care and workers’ compensation costs, decreasing lost work time from being sick, and making employees more productive and motivated.

Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn said, “We are a one-stop shop for local businesses to keep them going and keep their workers employed. They can save up to 25 percent as compared to going the traditional route of primary care providers because we are able to offer bundled savings.”

Stacy Davis, FNP-BC, explained, “Just this week I caught a vision problem and was able to refer the patient to a specialist for follow up. I also find undiagnosed diabetes and high blood pressure that will lead to complications if not treated.” 

How does it work? Call (434) 774-2541 to discuss the type of service that best fits your unique situation and the service rate applicable for each team member you refer to them. They do not accept health insurance, however, they invoice on a monthly basis.

CMH Occupational Health currently works with more than 140 businesses, 80 percent of which are local. Some national chains in the trucking industry use them when drivers happen to be in the area and get a traffic ticket or called for a drug test.

Kristine Martin, Benefits Administrator with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, has been using CMH Occupational Health for five years.

“Our Wellness and Safety Programs are instilled in our culture at MEC as well as in our EMPOWER Broadband subsidiary,” Kristine said. “It’s how we operate our business and honor our commitment to our members and customers.”

They invite CMH Occupational Health to their facilities several times throughout the year to provide updated information and education services to help keep staff healthy.

“Our relationship with CMH allows us to keep updated with ongoing, fast-paced health and wellness initiatives to continually improve our Wellness Program here,” she added.

For more information on their services visit VCU-CMH.org and click on Occupational Health or call (434) 774-2541. Stay safe out there!

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s May, 2021, Team Member of the Month

VCU Health CMH CEO Scott Burnette, Foundation Coordinator Rebecca Sontag and Director of Marketing and Development Ken Kurz.

South Hill, VA (6/15/21) – When the only person who does an important job leaves, the hole left behind is difficult to fill. In the case of the Pharmacy Connection vacancy at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), it took eight months to fill the position. The Pharmacy Connection is the medication assistance program funded by the Virginia Health Care Foundation. During that time, community members with financial challenges continued to get the medications they needed thanks to Rebecca Sontag, CMH Foundation Coordinator.

“Rebecca exhibited an enormous amount of teamwork by stepping up to temporarily take over The Pharmacy Connection duties in addition to her normal Marketing and Foundation role,” said a coworker in the nomination. “She built positive relationships with the patients she served and has trained the new hire to do the job well.”

“Year-end work for both the Foundation and Pharmacy Connection required significant time and effort and Rebecca fulfilled all those requirements and has never complained,” said Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development.

Rebecca was awarded the May Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. She received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of June and a $40 gift card.

She said, “I feel humbled and grateful. It’s nice when people recognize your hard work and show their appreciation for all that you do by nominating you for an award like this.” 

Rebecca has worked at VCU Health CMH for nearly two years. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist and previously worked as a Recreation Therapist and Volunteer Coordinator at The Virginia Home in Richmond for 16 years.

She shared advice for her team members, “I’m a helper and I don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand to anyone that is in need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you see someone that is overwhelmed reach out and see if there is anything you can do to lighten their load. Even the smallest gesture of kindness really does go a long way.”

“My passion in life is helping people, particularly those with special needs, and I am always looking for ways to give back, especially to organizations that I love and support their mission,” Rebecca explained.

She serves on the board for Families Embracing Autism Together (FEAT) and is helping them with their work program that promotes the benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities and offers job training to those individuals.

Rebecca lives with her husband, Tom, in Mecklenburg County and they have three children, ages 15, four and three. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her sweet dog, Lacey.

Other nominees for May were Mary Alexander, Food and Nutrition; Kristy Fowler, Marketing; and Molly Hatchell, ICU.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s March Team Member of the Month for March 2021

South Hill, VA  – The pandemic has affected almost every workplace in some manner. Adjustments arose. Careers changed. People pivoted.

At VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), Director of Pharmacy Rick Clary, RPH, MBA, is no exception. “Rick has maintained a very positive leadership attitude during the chaotic and ever-changing vaccine phase of the COVID pandemic and has committed much personal time to ensuring these vaccines reach the people who need them the most,” said CEO Scott Burnette.

Rick earned the March Team Member of the Month award for STAR service: Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. Rick said, “It was truly a team effort. Tracey Bailey, the Clinical Coordinator at the clinics, is more deserving of this than I am. It is a great feeling to make a difference and help meet the needs of the community.” Rick received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows him to park wherever he wants for the month of April and a $40 gift card.

Rick started out his health care career as an emergency medical technician. He joined the hospital in 1985 as a pharmacy tech and worked his way up. “I knew I wanted to be in the medical field, so it just worked out; it was  good choice,” he explained. His leadership philosophy is to have fun at work and enjoy what you do every day. Rick has a daughter who graduated from the University of Virginia with a master’s in teaching and a son who is graduating from William & Mary and is headed to South Carolina to earn his Ph.D in history.

Rick encourages all who are eligible to get their vaccinations when the time comes. “It will make a difference so we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” he said. “Our hospital has 74% of staff fully vaccinated and we’ve seen a decrease in the number of COVID-postive employees and patients from double digits to single digits.”

Other nominees for March include: Tracey Bailey – C.A.R.E. Offices, Keisha Bumpass – Hendrick Rehab, Phyllis Cavan – Administration, Kelsey Clark – C.A.R.E. Offices, Erin Davis – Acute Care, Andrea Godette – Cardiology, Jennifer Hargrave – Garland Birthing Center, Joanne Malone – Quality, Mark Ornopia – Surgical Services, Curtis Poole – Food and Nutrition, Kathy Smith – C.A.R.E. Offices, Brianna Taylor – Administrative Representatives, and Angie Tanner – Quality.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

South Hill, VA (4/5/21) – In Virginia last year, distracted driving caused 17,000 accidents, including 120 fatalities and 9,000 injuries. The good news is accidents due to distracted driving have been on a decline over the past three years. Lawmakers have noticed and finally made driving with hand-held devices not lawful as of January 1, 2021. A texting while driving conviction carries a $125 fine for the first offense and a $250 fine for second or subsequent offenses. Overall, texting and cell phone use account for fewer than 10 percent of distractions.

From the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles website, “The three basic types of distracted driving are manual, visual and cognitive, and all three increase crash risk. During visual distraction, drivers’ eyes are off the road, such as looking at another accident or the dashboard. A driver’s hand is off the wheel during manual distraction, such as eating or handling an object. Cognitive distraction poses the highest risk because the driver’s mind is off driving. When a driver’s brain is overloaded by two cognitive tasks, such as driving and talking on the phone, drivers make the phone conversation the main task and driving becomes the secondary task, without recognizing it. Driving is severely impaired as a secondary task, and the impairment can last a long time.”

The average weight of a vehicle is 4,000 pounds. That kind of weight moving 60-70 miles per hour is the reason so many deaths and injuries occur. Janet Kaiser, Emergency Department Director at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) explains, “Being located right off I-85 and near the Route 58 corridor, we see a lot of trauma patients come in from motor vehicle accidents. One life is too many to lose. Please make driving the top priority and save lives.”

If someone is in an accident in Southside Virginia, they have access to VCU Health CMH. The emergency department has 16 private rooms including two large trauma rooms and staff and physicians capable of initiating care for most injuries. Visit vcu-cmh.org for more information.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Screening and Early Detection is Key to Effective Treatment

South Hill, VA (3/15/21) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and a good time to learn more about colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) and how it can be prevented or best treated.

"Cancer in the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. This cancer can be prevented with early screening tests, such as a colonoscopy," explained general surgeon Desiderio J. Rimon, MD.

How can I lower my risk?

To lower your risk of colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American Cancer Society recommend that you:

-Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 45. Between 80-90% of colorectal cancer patients are restored to normal health if their cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages. However, most insurance companies only cover colonoscopies at age 50 and older. Check with your insurance company first to be sure.

-Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet and maintain a healthy body weight.

-If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. If you use tobacco, quit. If you don't use tobacco, don't start. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.

-Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week. Moderate exercise such as walking, gardening or climbing steps may help.

Can colorectal cancer be cured?

Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential. Screening is beneficial for two main reasons: colorectal cancer is preventable if polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed, and it is curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages.

In addition, studies have shown that patients treated by colorectal surgeons -- experts in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment of colon and rectal problems -- are more likely to survive colorectal cancer and experience fewer complications. This is attributed to colorectal surgeons' advanced training and the high volume of colon and rectal disease surgeries they perform.

Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. All men and women aged 45 and older are at risk for developing colorectal cancer, and should be screened. Some people are at a higher risk and should be screened at an age younger than 45, including those with a personal or family history of inflammatory bowel disease; colorectal cancer or polyps; or ovarian, endometrial or breast cancer.

Current screening methods include fecal occult blood testing (a simple chemical test that can detect hidden blood in the stool), flexible sigmoidoscopy (a visual examination of the rectum and lower portion of the colon, performed in a doctor's office), double contrast barium enema (barium x-ray), colonoscopy (a visual examination of the entire colon) and digital rectal exam. Colorectal cancer screening costs are covered by Medicare and many commercial health plans. You should find out from your healthcare provider which screening procedure is right for you and how often you should be screened.

“At VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, our general surgeons are here to provide this life-saving procedure with compassionate and expert care. Make an appointment with one of our general surgeons today by calling (434) 584-2273. We are here for you,” said Dr. Rimon.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Announces Team Member of the Year 2020

 

 

Scott Burnette, , Loretta Richardson, Donna Jarrell, Todd Howell gather to celebrate Calvin winning the VCU Health CMH 2020 Team Member of the Year

South Hill, VA (3/9/21) – This year marks the 20th anniversary for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital awarding a Team Member of the Year!  The selection process involves a separate scoring criteria from the monthly recipients.

Calvin Richardson, a rehab tech, earned the 2020 Team Member of the Year. His wife, Loretta, surprised him at work for the special announcement. “I was in shock; I was completely surprised,” Calvin said, a normally private person. “I want to thank my family, my church family and all my friends for supporting me in this endeavor.”

Donna Jarrell, Rehab Director, said, “We are so excited that Calvin won this award. Calvin is a stellar team member who focuses daily on helping others and creating a positive environment. Calvin often says, ‘I want to make each patient smile and have a bright moment in their day.’”

He was initially chosen for the monthly award by doing something completely out of his normal role at the hospital. Having been employed at CMH in various roles over the past 36 years, he is well known by his coworkers as having a servant’s heart. He also serves as the primary pastor of Bibleway Church of Christ in Boydton, where he and Loretta reside. So it was providential that Calvin was in the right place at the right time. A patient was in need of a chaplain and Calvin was able to fill that role.

About 10 years into his tenure at the hospital working in housekeeping and security, a coworker suggested he apply for the rehab tech position. He received all the training he needed on the job and has been loving it ever since.

“I show people I care and I love them regardless of age, color or cultural backgrounds,” Calvin explained. He is a strong proponent of mentoring and has a passion to train up young men.

In his time off, which isn’t much between two full-time jobs, he understands the value of rest. He also enjoys cutting grass. He has two nieces he loves dearly; Ceira is 24 and is a government contractor, and Bria is 22 and earning a master’s degree in health science at Emory University in Atlanta.

Calvin was recognized with a lapel pin, an award, a $200 hotel voucher and $300 spending money to take a trip to a destination of his choice. He and Loretta are planning to celebrate their upcoming 12th wedding anniversary at Virginia Beach.

New Behavioral Health Practice in South Hill

Onaiza Anees, MD, is available for psychiatric appointments at CMH Behavioral Health at 140 East Ferrell Street in South Hill starting March 1, 2021.

South Hill, VA (2/28/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is pleased to announce the opening of CMH Behavioral Health in South Hill on March 1, 2021. Onaiza Anees, MD, will start seeing patients ages three and older in this practice, located at 140 East Ferrell Street.

Dr. Anees earned her medical degree in Pakistan at Sindh Medical College. She completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center - Icahn School of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She finished her Child Psychiatry fellowship at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York, where she graduated as the Chief fellow of her department. Dr. Anees trained in psycho-dynamic psychotherapy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York.

Dr. Anees has worked with children, adolescents and adults throughout her career. She believes in individualized treatment for each patient, building a healthy therapeutic relationship. She incorporates psychotherapy, medication, nutrition, exercise and emphasizes the mind-body connection. “Each patient is unique. They bring their own story, family dynamics, background, genetics, and circumstances. It is my goal to help the overall health and well-being of all my patients; by making sure they are getting the care they need at every stage of their lives,” Dr. Anees explains.

Dr. Anees is a member of the American Child Psychiatric Association. The new practice will start taking appointments starting March 1 when the practice opens. Call (434) 584-5400 March 1 or later to make an appointment with Dr. Anees.

Dr. Ingrid Vaughan Earns Team Member of the Month at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital for January 2021

South Hill, VA (2/17/21) - Dr. Ingrid Vaughan, a veteran in the anesthesia practice for 30 years, joined VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in 2014 and has most recently earned the January Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service. While her years of service show obvious dedication, her volunteering outside of normal hours inspired her nomination.

“During the Holidays, with the rising number of COVID patients and limited staff, Dr. Vaughan came in to work on her day off and volunteered as a donner and doffer for the covid rooms,” Dr. Ikenna Ibe, Vice President of Medical Affairs, said in his nomination. Staff have volunteered their time to take extra shifts to assist in making sure personal protective equipment is worn and removed properly.

During the presentation, Dr. Ibe said her assistance with volunteering to help staff has been a blessing to many.

Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services, awarded Dr. Vaughan with the STAR Service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of February and a $40 gift card.

Dr. Vaughan lives in South Hill and has a 26-year-old daughter who lives in Wilmington, NC. They both are animal lovers and avid runners, having run a half marathon together every year for 6 years until this past year. 

Dr. Vaughan said she has always tried to start the morning in a positive way since the pandemic. “I try to think of what I am grateful for,” she said.

Other nominees included Jane Allen, Ricky Bland, Theresa Griles, Tayanna Jones, and Rose Walker.

American Heart Month and Zoom Talk on Heart Disease & Women

South Hill, VA (1/21/21) – Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 655,000 deaths each year. That’s why in 1963 President Johnson declared February American Heart Month, to remind people of the symptoms, risk factors and steps they can take to improve their health, while they are already thinking of heart matters for Valentine’s Day. Tragically, President Johnson died ten years later from a heart attack at the age of 64.

In honor of National Heart Month, cardiologist Bethany Denlinger, MD, FACC, will speak on Heart Disease and Women virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, February 23, at 12:00 noon. This 20-minute talk is open to the public and no registration is required. “I like the problem-solving part of taking care of patients,” explains Dr. Denlinger. “Some patients have typical complaints of chest pain, but sometimes not. Women have atypical symptoms of heart disease and can be more difficult to diagnose.”

Save this link to join the discussion on February 23: vcuhealth.zoom.us/j/95878285734 . This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

Warning signs tend to differ for men and women but chest pain is the most common complaint. Other signs include discomfort in other areas of the upper body like arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain. If you have any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Don’t try to drive yourself or you could pass out and injure yourself and others. Don’t get someone else to drive you because the EMTs can provide time and tissue saving care to help you before you arrive at the hospital. Don’t worry about not being sure because it is better to mistake the symptoms than permanently damage your heart by waiting.

National Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 5, 2021. Wear red to show your support of heart health.

 

 

 

Elective Surgery Update

South Hill, VA (1/12/21) - Due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) precautions established by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Virginia Department of Health, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital ceased performing any elective surgeries as of Tuesday, January 12, 2021, until further notice. All patients with scheduled surgeries will be contacted by VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. Patients with emergent issues will be treated at VCU Health CMH using COVID-19 protocols. If you have questions, please contact your provider. This change is for elective procedures in the hospital and does not include patient visits to providers in VCU Health CMH’s practice offices in the C.A.R.E. Building, Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center, Solari Radiation Therapy Center, or at Chase City Primary Care Center, Clarksville Primary Care Center or Tanglewood Family Medicine in Bracey.

Patient and staff safety remain a top priority and preventing the spread of this virus also remains a priority for VCU Health CMH. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital continues to use control measures to help stem the spread of the virus.

Visitor restrictions remain in place at the hospital, with visiting limited to Labor & Delivery, Pediatrics and end-of-life patients. All visitors entering the hospital and C.A.R.E. Building will be screened for symptoms related to the Coronavirus.

As has been the case since this virus started, VCU Health CMH recommends everyone practice social distancing  - maintaining at least six feet of distance between people and continue with hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds of duration.

 

Be a Stroke Hero

Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Stroke Program Coordinator at VCU Health CMH.  Yasir Al-Khalili, MD, Neurologist at VCU Health CMH.
Tawny Jackson is the Senior Manager of Quality Improvement,
Quality, Outcomes, Research & Analytics at the American Heart Association.

South Hill, VA (1/13/21) – Stroke kills about 3,300 Virginians each year – that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths. Someone in Virginia has a stroke every 50 minutes. Every 2.5 hours, someone dies of a stroke in Virginia. About 26,000 Virginians have suffered a stroke who had a history of a previous stroke, while 17,000 had a first time stroke. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) typically sees more than 200 cases of stroke each year.  

Learn the FAST warning signs:
F- Face Drooping
A -Arm Weakness
S -Speech Difficulty
T- Time to call 911 

VCU Health CMH Invites the community to join them for an educational outreach on stroke at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 18, 2021. CMH Stroke Program Coordinator Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Neurologist Yasir Al-Khalili with VCU School of Medicine and Tawny Jackson from the American Stroke Association will discuss stroke, its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. In the interest of public safety, they are abiding by the CDC guidelines related to Covid-19. This will be a 100% online experience open to the public from the comfort and safety of your own home using Zoom. You could be a Stroke Hero; join them to find out how. 

Join using Zoom: 

bit.ly/3optGXl

Meeting ID: 990 2812 0279 

Passcode: 300692 

Contact Lisa.E.Smith@vcuhealth.org with any questions. VCU Health CMH has received the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and is a Primary Stroke Center as deemed by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association. Visit our website for more stroke-related information at: vcu-cmh.org/community-resources/stroke-awareness .

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital December 2020 Team Member of the Month

Mildred Waye, a care partner in Acute Care, earned the December, 2020 Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

South Hill, VA (1/5/20) – Mildred Waye, a care partner in Acute Care, is no stranger to being recognized for her good service. She has earned several awards over the past 40 years and most recently earned the December Team Member of the Month award for STAR Service at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH). A patient nominated her because she meets all four of the qualifications: Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships.

“She is so funny and I’m glad I got to have her as my care partner. She is one I will never forget,” the patient wrote. Mildred’s supervisor, Mellisa Black, DNP, RN, MS, CCRN, NE-BC, describes her, “Mildred is always a role model to our team on what STAR Service really looks like. She is kind, compassionate and able to connect on a deeper level with her patients and families.”

CEO Scott Burnette awarded Mildred with the STAR Service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of January and a $40 gift card.

Mildred loves to take care of her patients and get them what they need. She also enjoys helping nurses. She has one son and lives with her husband and three dogs in Victoria. Her advice to others is, “Treat others as you want to be treated and just do your best.”

Other nominees included Tracy Evans in Acute Care from Alberta, Magen Long in the ICU from Kenbridge and Samantha Throckmorton in Acute Care from Red Oak.

VCU Health CMH Year End Letter from Scott Burnette, CEO

To Our CMH Supporters,

Traditionally, during the last quarter of the calendar year, I present an annual update on Community Memorial Hospital at one or more public town hall events.  As with most things this year, COVID-19 has made those in-person meetings impossible.  Still I wanted to share with you what has occurred at your community hospital this past year.  I apologize for the length of the letter, but CY 2020 has been active to say the least.

CMH has continued to treat patients on a non-stop basis since February and is experiencing a 3rd surge since. We participated in clinical trials for the treatment of this virus and will continue to do so as new treatment therapies are developed. We have expanded our physical space as part of our preparatory plans for a significant surge in COVID patient volume after the holidays. 

We are expanding our testing capability and making preparations to receive the vaccine once it is available.  I realize the restrictions we have placed on patient visitation have proven to be a burden on patients and families; however, these extreme measures are necessary to protect all of our patients and our staff so we stand ready for anyone who may need our services.  I cannot adequately express my pride in the CMH teams in our acute, long-term care, home health and ambulatory divisions that have shown their resilience, unwavering commitment and bravery in dealing with this continuing battle.  Likewise, I want to thank the many members of the community who have shown phenomenal support through many acts of kindness for our staff.  I encourage everyone to adhere to the preventative measures of masking, physical distancing and hand washing.  They have proven to be the most effective deterrent during this pandemic. 

Despite the impact of COVID, CMH has had a year of growth.  We have continued to add new members to our medical staff.  Since the beginning of our fiscal year on July 1st, we have added nine talented physicians to our team:  Drs. Darrell Brown and Katie Vemireddy (OB/GYN), Mark Carreras and Bryan Mosora (Emergency Medicine), Saroj Kandel and Bikram Saini (Hospitalists), John Pearson (Urology), Madana Vallem, Khalid Hasan and Sreenivasulu Metikala (Orthopedics), and Charles Nwaokocha (Internal Medicine) as well as nurse practitioners Sarah Ashworth at The Hundley Center and Dion Tomer in the Emergency Department.  We also have commitments for even more additions to the team by July of 2021:  Drs. Anaiza Anees (Child & Adolescent Psychiatry), Thomas Alukai and Soney Basnyat (Hospitalists) and Obed Adarkwah (Pulmonary/Critical Care).  To accommodate these providers, we completed the build out of the 2nd floor of the C.A.R.E. Building and we will be reopening our Ferrell Street office to accommodate the new psychiatry/behavioral health practice.  Recruitment efforts for additional specialists to serve the needs of this area, with several promising candidates, are in various stages of the process.  VCU Health’s commitment to meeting the health care needs of this region remains unchanged. 

As you can imagine, COVID had a significant financial impact on CMH operations when we were required to close our outpatient services during the first several months of the pandemic outbreak.  Likewise, the previously mentioned efforts to expand capacity, supplies and staff weighed heavily on performance.  The revenues received from the federal government’s CARES Act funds did provide significant relief; however, they did not cover the lost revenue from the growth that CMH was experiencing prior to the pandemic.  In short, CMH ended FY 2020 with an operating loss of $1.9 million which, despite the challenges of COVID, was a significant improvement over the $12.6 million loss in FY 19.  (It should be noted that 2019 was a year of significant investment in new clinics for the region, which were beginning to show major growth in our 2020 fiscal year.)

Our efforts to expand telemedicine services were interrupted by the pandemic; however, we were able to leverage the equipment that we received from our USDA grant to provide telemedicine visits into patients’ homes when we restricted visits to our physician practices due to COVID.  We have since regained momentum with our efforts to expand primary care and physician specialist availability to off-site locations.  We are currently offering this service to The Hundley Center nursing home and soon will be offering specialist consults via telemedicine in Clarksville and Chase City.  This program shows great promise for expansion into other parts of our service area in 2021.

Thanks to the many programs we have added, and are continuing to develop, CMH is experiencing patient volume growth.  We have seen our market share growing not only in our primary service area, but in markets more distant as well.  All of the services offered at CMH are integrated with VCU Medical Center and all of its clinics so we can offer a full array of care to our patients.  Patients can receive everything from primary and preventative care up to cutting edge treatments and clinical trials that are part of leading edge research from the many programs offered by VCU Health.

I realize this letter is a bit long, but given the challenges, and frankly dangers of gathering in large groups, I want our supporters to know just some of the activities underway at your community hospital.  I want to end by wishing you and your families a very Happy New Year.  With several new very effective COVID vaccines, 2021 is already looking brighter than 2020!

Sincerely,

W. Scott Burnette, Chief Executive Officer

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Thanks Local Businesses for Employee Donations

(South Hill, VA) – Local businesses donated items and gift certificates to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital employees as a thank you for everything they’ve done for the community during the pandemic. Team members were randomly drawn to win the items, spreading holiday cheer.

A big thanks to the following businesses for their generous donations: The Bobbin’ Cork, Bringleton’s Coffee House, Busy Bee Southern Deli, Copper Kettle Restaurant, The Donut Shop, El Saucito, Freedom Life Fitness, Grandfather’s Country Creations, Kelly Wells Photography, Knot Therapy, The Lamplighter, Los Bandidos, Los Cocos, Lundy Layne, Off the Chain Food Truck, Sass & Sawdust, Southernly Sweet Teas and Tabitha Gaulding Photography.

Shawntay Alexander received maple bacon dip and a Swedish dishcloth from Lundy Layne.

Allison Beagle received a gift card and travel mug from Bringleton’s Coffee House.

Eunice Kim received a gift bag from Lundy Layne.

VCU Health CMH Update

For our patients — your safety is our top concern.

Because of the increase in positive COVID tests throughout our service area, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is tightening visitation guidelines for the hospital, the C.A.R.E. Building, Clarksville Primary Care Center and Chase City Primary Care Center effective Friday, November 13, 2020.

“We are taking these necessary precautions to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus,” said Scott Burnette, CEO at VCU Health CMH.

He continued, “We are asking people to continue to practice physical distancing – as in do not interact with others closely unless absolutely necessary. It is recommended that people keep at least six feet of distance from others to provide additional safeguards against the Corona (COVID) virus. Washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds is also vital in combating the virus.”

Burnette said many precautions have been implemented to make sure VCU Health CMH is doing everything possible to confront the challenges the Corona virus presents. Following is a list of restrictions, all done to help prevent the spread of the virus.

  • All visitors must be screened and provided an armband or badge.
  • All visitors must be masked at all times.
  • Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
  • To avoid overcrowded lobby waiting areas, visitors are encouraged to remain in their vehicle except when they are visiting a patient.
  • All visitors are required to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
  • If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors are encouraged to remain in their vehicle. Visitors must maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.

For Inpatients at CMH:

  • Visiting hours remain 8 AM until 8 PM
  • Non-COVID patients are allowed 1 visitor per day.
  • A visitor will be allowed to leave the premises and re-enter the same day provided they have a hospital visitor badge on with the current date. They will not have to be rescreened.
  • If a visitor re-enters the same day without a hospital visitor badge, they will have to be rescreened.
  • Front lobby personnel are required to ask visitors, who are leaving, if they plan to return. If they do not, the hospital visitor badge will be removed.
  • Surgery patients may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Pediatric Surgery patients should be accompanied by 1 Parent/POA/Guardian.
  • Pediatric patients - 1 adult visitor (18 yrs. or older) at a time, allowing one to spend the night. Parent/POA/Guardian made trade off. No more than two visitors per day.
  • Labor & Delivery – 2 adult visitors (18 yrs. or older) at a time, allowing one to spend the night. No more than two visitors per day.

For outpatients being seen in the hospital, C.A.R.E. Building, Chase City Primary Care Center and Clarksville Primary Care Center

  • Only patients may enter the hospital, C.A.R.E. Building, Chase City Primary Care and Clarksville Primary Care, except for patients needing assistance, who may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Patients 18 and under may be accompanied by 1 adult. All patients and companions must wear a mask.

For the Emergency Department at VCU Health CMH:

  • Only patients may enter the Emergency Department, except for patients needing assistance, who may be accompanied by 1 adult companion.
  • Pediatric patients are allowed 1 adult companion. Parent/POA/Guardian made trade off.
  • Exceptions to the visitation rules for specific incidents will be in accordance with ED policy or permission from the Administrative Representative.

The Hundley Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken action to aggressively respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In order to comply with CMS mandates, nursing homes nationwide implemented restrictions and The Hundley Center at VCU Health CMH complied by suspending all visitation. That visitor restriction remains in place.  Residents have access to a private phone in their rooms.  To reach a resident, please dial (434) 584, followed by the number 4 and the three digits of the resident’s room number.  Our goal of protecting the health of each resident is of the utmost importance during this unprecedented situation.

Dr. Katie Vermireddy Joins VCU Health CMH

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill would like to welcome Katie Vemireddy, M.D. to our family of health care providers. Dr. Vemireddy specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  

Dr. Vemireddy is a native Virginian and said she is excited to be back in her home state caring for other Virginians as well as North Carolinians.   

"I enjoy working with and caring for women of all ages. My greatest interests are obstetrics, contraception, and preventive health,” she said.  

Dr. Vemireddy earned her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed her residency training at Greenville Health System (PRISMA Health) in Greenville, South Carolina.  

Most recently, Dr. Vemireddy worked as an OB/GYN for Novant Health Mint Hill in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her certifications and memberships include the American Board of Obstetricians & Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the American Medical Association.  

Dr. Vemireddy is now accepting patients at CMH Women’s Health Services located inside the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. To schedule an appointment, call (434) 584-2273 (CARE).  

Dr. Vemireddy joins Dr. Darrell Brown, OB/GYN, Dr. Ramesh Seeras, OB/GYN and Terry Wooten, Certified Nurse-Midwife, in providing a complete range of personalized and preventive gynecologic care to women at every stage of life. 

To view a full list of services visit:  VCU-CMH.org  

Dr. Vemireddy lives in South Hill with her husband and enjoys travel, cooking, reading, and watching movies. 

Good Dental Hygiene Makes A Big Difference

By Natasha Grover, DDS, VCU Health CMH Family Dental Clinic

Maintaining your teeth isn’t only about looking good.  Poor dental hygiene can lead to problems that are much bigger than an unpleasant smile. Tooth decay and gum disease can affect other parts of your body, including your heart.

Why is it important to practice good dental hygiene?

Good oral/dental health translates to good health overall. Dental problems such as cavities or gum disease can impair your ability to eat and speak properly, cause pain and bad breath. And what many people may not realize, is that poor dental health can have a profoundly, negative affect on areas outside of the mouth, including your heart, diabetes, pregnancy and chronic inflammation, such as arthritis — to name a few.

Some studies suggest that the bacteria in gum disease can travel to your heart and cause heart disease, clogged arteries or stroke. Gum infections, such as periodontitis, have been linked to premature births and low-birth weight in pregnant women. Diabetics should be especially careful about dental health because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, making the gums more susceptible to infection, which can adversely affect blood sugar.

Practicing good dental hygiene is so important because it can prevent these type of oral disease and dental problems. And prevention should be the primary focus. I advise the following:

1. BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY

Brushing at least twice a day for good oral health. If you get the chance, it can be good to brush after every meal. Make sure you floss daily, too. Floss can clean crevices even the most thorough brushing might miss.

2. USE PRODUCTS WITH FLUORIDE

Fluoride is super important to healthy teeth. Fluoride is a salt that is shown to prevent tooth decay. It is so important, fluoride is even added to our water. When choosing dental hygiene products, make sure to choose products that contain fluoride. This helps reduce your chance of getting cavities.

3. REPLACE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH REGULARLY

An old toothbrush might feel like it’s doing the job, but your toothbrush should be replaced about every three months. The bristles soften over time, and bend out of shape. Both of these things mean they do their job less well. Also, toothbrushes get dirty. Bacteria can collect in your toothbrush over time. It is important to replace your toothbrush before those bacteria can damage your teeth or make you sick.

4. MAINTAIN A GOOD DIET

You might be surprised how much of an affect what you eat can have on your teeth. Of course we all know that sugary foods like candy and soda can cause cavities. Some foods can also do your teeth a world of good. Dairy products are high in bone-healthy calcium to strengthen your teeth. Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and celery can scrape food particles off of teeth and also stimulate saliva production to clean your mouth.

5. SCHEDULE REGULAR PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS

Even the most diligent tooth-brusher can’t get the same clean that a dental professional can. Many people think it is unnecessary to visit the dentist, but a hygienist can reach places it can be hard to clean on your own. Specialized tools can also get teeth cleaner than a toothbrush can. Your regular dental visit also includes an exam, so we can keep an eye out for any signs of decay or developing problems. For most patients, we recommend visiting the dentist’s office every six months.

What are the signs of a serious dental problem?

You should see your dentist if you experience pain, bleeding gums, swelling, both inside and outside the mouth, tenderness, blisters and ulcers that don’t heal, or noticeable changes in color or texture of the soft tissues. These could all be indications of a serious, or potentially serious condition, such as mouth cancer or chronic gum disease.

The CMH Family Dental Clinic is able to see patients who do not have the ability to pay for dental care in part because of a grant the clinic received from the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

The CMH Family Dental Clinic is accepting new patients. If you need a dentist, please call 434-584-5590.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for September 2020

Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant

W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital presented Hannah Conway, Occupational Therapy Assistant, the VCU Health CMH STAR Service Team Member of the Month Award for September.  There to congratulate Hannah was Todd Howell, Vice President of Professional Services, Donna Jarrell, Director of Rehab Services and Mike Simmons, Respiratory Manager.

Hannah has been employed at VCU Health CMH for two years.  The nomination form submitted on her behalf stated, “Hannah is such a caring team member.  She willingly stayed late to help with patients without a hint of frustration, only smiles and warmth.  She went above and beyond to make sure I was safe when seeing patients.  She is a selfless team player and I can’t thank her enough.

When asked what words of wisdom she would give other employees, Hannah stated, “If you can spend a little extra time with a patient to meet their needs it can really make their day."  Hannah also added, “CMH is a great place to work, everyone works together so well as a team.” 

In addition to the “star” award, Hannah received a STAR Service lapel pin, letter of commendation from Administration, a $40 gift certificate, and a parking place of her choice for the month.

Hannah currently resides in Brodnax, VA.

Alpha Pi Donates to VCU Health CMH

Yvette Morris, president of the Alpha Pi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, presents Ashley Wallace, RN (center) and Jordan Young, RN, both nurses in the Birthing Center, with books that the nurses are able to give out to each newborn at VCU Health CMH.

Most teachers will tell you that reading is a great way to get ahead in school. A group of teachers from eastern Mecklenburg County is hoping to instill the love of reading from a very early age. 

The Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma made another donation of books to VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Garland Birthing Center recently. 

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. 

The president of the local chapter, Yvette Morris, said, “We want to build a passion for reading. We are thrilled to be able to help bring books to children.” 

With more than 70 books, the group has helped make sure all new parents at the Garland Birthing Center at VCU Health CMH will be able to take home a book for their newborn. 

According to Sarah Carlton, MSN, RNC-OB, LCCE, Clinical Coordinator of the Garland Birthing Center, “The nurses on labor and delivery love being able to gift a book to our new babies. Some nurses even write personalized birthday notes to the newborns. The parents are always so appreciative of the support and love our community shows! Big brothers and sisters also get to enjoy picking a new book off the shelf, as well. The book donations and the amazing support from Alpha Pi make a lifelong impression on our new parents, babies and siblings!” 

For Ken Kurz, director of the CMH Foundation, the ladies of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma prove what he has come to learn about Southside Virginia. 

“The way people like these fine ladies care, it just builds my belief in what a great place we live,” he said. 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognizes VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care. 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. 

VCU Health CMH earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions 

“VCU Health CMH is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Lisa Smith, RN, BSN, CICU, Stroke Program Coordinator at VCU Health Community Memorial “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”  

VCU Health CMH additionally received the Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke  

Further, VCU Health CMH received the Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” 

“We are pleased to recognize VCU Health CMH for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.” 

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

VCU Health CMH Presents 2020 Nursing Awards

Milagros Silverman, the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award recipient; Erin Truman, RN, the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award recipient; and Gloria Grinan, LPN, the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award recipient.

The Professional Development Council of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently recognized three extraordinary people.  One of the council’s goals is to offer recognition to nurses and nurse care partners for their continual commitment to excellence.

VCU Health CMH first gave out these awards on Nurses’ Day, May 6, 2009 and this tradition has continued and grown stronger each year.  This year the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH received numerous nominations, a testament to the many dedicated professionals among the hospital’s staff.  This year’s awards were given to three incredible individuals, whose impact and contributions to nursing at VCU Health CMH have been tremendous.   

The three original awards were named after three special people, Dee McMillan, Carol Love and Alice Tudor. These women embodied the values that are respected in nursing: hard work, diligence, kindheartedness, compassion, knowledge, loyalty and support.      

The Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award is named after the late Dee McMillan, who was a true nurse partner for many nurses and nursing staff at VCU Health CMH. She was a person who wore many hats when she worked within the organization. Dee demonstrated commitment in her work and a kindhearted attitude toward everyone she met. This award is presented each year in her memory as the Dee McMillan Nurse Care Partner Award.

This year’s recipient of the Dee McMillan Care Partner Award is Milagros Silverman.  Milagros has been employed at VCU Health CMH for nine years.  She leads the way for others and always makes sure that patients are safe throughout her shift. If she knows that a patient is on fall risk, she is often seen watching the patient closely and ready to assist right away if the at risk patient tries to get out of bed. Milagros strives to be her best and wants everyone in the unit to do the same. She never complains and always has a smile on her face. She is a preceptor and trains other Care Partners in a professional and welcoming manner. She goes above and beyond without hesitation to assist her peers, the patients, family members, and others in any way that she can. Milagros demonstrates relationship based care every day with her caring attitude and always puts the patient first.

Carol Love, LPN, was awarded the first LPN Award from the Professional Development Council of VCU Health CMH in 2009 for her leadership, commitment, caring attitude, demonstration of professionalism, and contribution to the Practical Nursing Program.  Thereafter, the award was named the Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award in her honor, and is given each year to an LPN, for their exemplary contribution to nursing at VCU Health CMH.

The recipient of this year’s Carol Love Licensed Practical Nurse Award is Gloria Grinan, LPN.  Gloria has been employed at VCU Health CMH for thirty years.  She is described as a team player and will jump in and help out whenever needed. She willingly shares her expertise with other team members. She is an educator to team members and shares her tricks of the trade. Gloria treats her patients as if they were her own family with her quiet caring attitude. She always exhibits integrity in her nursing practice and is dressed to impress each day, uniform always pressed, presenting herself in a very professional manner. Her professionalism is evident in her community with her church involvement and assistance with health fairs. Gloria is an inspiration to team members, patients and families, the community, and her church family. At VCU Health CMH, she is well respected and treats everyone as if they are her family. She is always willing to go the extra mile and help anyone in need.

The Alice Tudor Professional Nursing Award is named after Ms. Alice Tudor, a CMH professional registered nurse. Ms. Tudor always presented with a professional appearance at work, her demeanor was an example of how a professional registered nurse should behave around their co-workers, patients and families. For more than 50 years, nurses looked up to Ms. Tudor and what she stood for as a professional nurse. This award is presented to a Registered Nurse each year in her honor as the Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award.

The recipient of this year’s Alice Tudor Professional Nurse Award is Erin Truman, RN.  Erin has been employed by VCU Health CMH for four years. She is a role model for Relationship Based Care. Through her actions, Erin exemplifies positive relationships with our patients and our team that generate a positive work environment.  Erin is respected by her team and has emerged as a leader serving as a Preceptor and in other leadership roles. She has a professional, friendly demeanor that facilitates communication with team members. She has a strong relationship with our provider team who look at her as partner in care delivery to our patients. They respect her opinions and work together collegially to obtain the best outcome possible for the patients. Erin promotes professional growth and contribution to change by continuing to be open to learning and taking on new challenges, all while being a role model for others. She represents her unit by serving on several hospital-wide committees such as the Patient Experience Committee. She also takes pride in her own professional growth as she is continuing her education and has obtained a Medical Surgical Nurse Certification.  Erin is a professional nurse with a caring spirit.

All 2020 Nursing Award recipients were nominated by their peers or their manager. Each one has demonstrated care and compassion to patients and families and exemplifies excellence in nursing practice and leadership.

Letter to the Editor from W. Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Community Memorial Health

 

I want to take this opportunity to let this community know how proud they should be of the health care team at Community Memorial Hospital as they have faced the challenge of dealing with COVID-19.  Over the last five plus months, the CMH team has shown true dedication to caring for patients in what could easily be called the worst of times, other than that of a war zone perhaps.  However, for all intents and purposes, they have been engaged in a war with an invisible, yet very deadly disease.  Highly infectious patients may not even display any symptoms of illness, yet can transmit the virus simply by being close to others and not wearing a mask.  The act of speaking, a sneeze or a simple cough can send droplets containing the virus that can then be absorbed through the mouth, nose or eyes of another person.

Since COVID-19 arrived, the CMH team transformed a 70 bed community hospital into a multi-hospital complex capable of housing at least 225 acute care and critical care patients.  This transition was accomplished within the first three weeks after the declaration of a state of emergency and was made possible by our ability to repurpose the original Community Memorial Hospital facility.  The amount of effort that was necessary to accomplish this was extraordinary and speaks volumes to the caliber of individuals who make up the CMH team.

We have had to change how we operate all of our clinics and our patient care services.  Our direct care teams have had to adapt to more strict levels of infection prevention protocols and daily put aside their fears of working in an environment that exists to treat all illnesses and injuries, but is also ready to face this new world-wide pandemic.  This requires an enormous amount of dedication and resilience and it is something that will carry them through these many months yet to come until an effective vaccine can be developed.  I also want to thank the community for adapting to our stricter visitor guidelines that are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety at our facilities.  I realize they have been an inconvenience; but, cooperation overall has been great and it is much appreciated. 

While we all seem to have adapted a bit more to this “world of COVID-19”, I wanted everyone to know how awesome the CMH team of health care professionals is and how proud I am to be their CEO.  I also want to thank this community for the many expressions of support and encouragement that have been offered to the staff at the hospital and all of our patient care divisions of CMH.  It means a lot for them to know that their willingness to face the daily risk to their personal health is appreciated.  This same dedication is demonstrated by our EMS partners in this region who have worked tirelessly to make sure all patients receive whatever care is needed and I want to thank them as well.

We are not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, but the teams at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and VCU Medical Center in Richmond stand ready to face this challenge as they have done so well throughout our histories.

No words are adequate to express my appreciation to the CMH team, so I will simply end this letter by saying “Thank You.”

Sincerely,

W. Scott Burnette

Chief Executive Officer

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

Ladies of the Lake Donate to Cancer Care

Committed, caring and fun. That’s the way Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development for VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, described a group of women who are continually making a difference for cancer patients at the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center in South Hill.

“They just bring a smile to everyone’s face when they stop by,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt that they always bring a check to benefit our Cancer Care Fund, but their smiles are infectious and they work so hard to help us care for our patients.”

The group presented a $1,000 check to Kurz and Teresa Collins, Director of the Radiation and Medical Oncology Department at CMH, recently for the fund.

“These ladies have enriched the lives of our cancer patients, through their selfless acts of kindness. Their commitment and dedication to our cancer population is phenomenal! When I think of these ladies, the following quote by Brene Brown comes to mind, "Compassion is not a virtue -- it is a commitment. It's not something we have or don't have-- It is something that we choose to practice," said Collins.

The VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund was started by the CMH Foundation and generous donors to help patients in our community who are dealing with cancer.

According to Collins, often during treatment, many patients may lose their insurance or face other financial toxicity issues like being unable to work, which makes nausea and pain medications very difficult to afford.

The Cancer Care Fund is designed to help offset the cost of these medications.

As patients visit the Hendrick Cancer Center/Solari Radiation Therapy Center daily for chemotherapy and/or radiation services the distance a patient travels can become costly; this fund can also assist with these travel expenses.

Each case is thoroughly evaluated by the cancer care team, to determine exactly what assistance is needed, and if the Cancer Patient Care Fund is an appropriate resource.

Support for the Cancer Care Fund can give these patients a hand, and also give them peace of mind, knowing that the inability to cover these costs will not stand in the way of their treatment.

When a need is identified, patients are carefully screened by the oncology social worker and Director of Oncology to determine need and to assure that these funds are used in the way donors intended.  Our oncology social worker does extensive research to identify grants or other resources which may be available for the patient on top of looking at the Cancer Care Fund. 

If you are interested in donating to the VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund you can call (434) 447-0857 or visit vcu-cmh.org.

VCU Health CMH Team Member of the Month for July 2020

Being nice is a habit that comes naturally to Ashton Carter, cardiac monitor tech at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

And when people say nice people finish last, just tell them they are wrong. Ashton finished first in voting for the July STAR Service Team Member of the Month at CMH.

Ashton was nominated by April Hayes and Tracy Evans in Acute Care for her kindness and professionalism.

A co-worker of Ashton said, “I was sitting one on one with a patient and she (Ashton) was the only person who checked on me and relieved me. She is always smiling and eager to help. If it’s a task she can do, she does it, or will find someone to help. She is a perfect representation of CMH.”

Mellisa A. Black DNP, RN, MS, CCRN, NE-BC, said, “Ashton is a role model for STAR Service. She is always ready to do whatever it takes to make sure our team and patients get the best care.”

Ashton moved from the CMH Family Dental Clinic to her current position as a cardiac monitor tech.  She made this move to pursue more education to reach her goal one day, which is to be a respiratory therapist.

“It is easier to work my class schedule around three 12-hour shifts,” she said with her ever-present smile. “But it (the new job) also proved to me that what I wanted to be really is a respiratory therapist.”

Originally from Buffalo Junction, Ashton has been at CMH for nearly two years. She and husband, Nick, are expecting a son in December.

Besides her STAR pin and award, Ashton gets a special parking tag that allows her to park wherever she chooses for the month of August and a $40 gift card.

Others nominated in July were Dr. Indu Shivaram from Pulmonology and Lyda Ingram, an Emergency Department tech.

Lee Recognized for Service on VCU Health CMH Board of Directors

John Lee (right) is pictured here receiving a plaque from W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, in appreciation for his nine years on the CMH Board of Directors.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital recently acknowledged John Lee’s three terms of service on the hospital’s board of directors, including the past year as board chairman. The hospital’s bylaws limit service on the Board to three consecutive terms and each term is for a three-year period.  W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health CMH, recognized Lee for volunteering his service to the organization and presented him with a commemorative crystal award at the board’s June meeting.

"As a member of the CMH Board of Directors, John has been a vital part of the many positive changes that have occurred at CMH over the past nine years.  From chairing the committee that led to our affiliation with VCU Health, to building a new hospital; John, among other dedicated members of the board, has helped lead the board through these grand achievements of our hospital.  We are fortunate to have people like John, that volunteer their time, and put tremendous effort into making our community a better place," said W. Scott Burnette, CEO, VCU Health CMH.

Lee commented on his tenure on the board, stating, “Serving on the VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital board of directors has been a highly gratifying and educational experience, and I am very proud to have been a part of the hospital’s considerable accomplishments in the past nine years. Our affiliation with VCU Health was a game changer for our hospital and the quality of care offered to this region, and the board’s efforts to seek out and secure an affiliate was challenging work, but in the end incredibly gratifying, especially now after they have proven themselves to be worthy partners, time and time again.”

VCU Health CMH is a community-owned nonprofit hospital providing health services for the south-central region of Virginia and portions of northern North Carolina, offering quality, state-of-the-art health care in a safe, convenient, patient friendly environment. Since 1954, the hospital’s employees, physicians, volunteers and board of directors have supported the organization’s mission of providing excellence in the delivery of health care.

Today, VCU Health CMH has a new hospital with 70 private patient rooms and a long term care facility with an additional 140 beds, providing a wide array of in-patient services, including acute care and long-term care along with many outpatient programs such as home health, hospice and many others. Since its inception, the hospital has grown to be one of the area’s largest employers with more than 800 employees, more than 100 volunteers and 177 providers, representing 26 medical specialties, on staff.

“It’s been and honor and privilege to serve on the board and to work with my fellow directors and Scott and his capable team at the hospital. All of them are highly dedicated and work diligently to provide high quality health care, with desirable options, at a contemporary, state of the art facility…I’d say we’re doing all that successfully. Serving our community on the VCU Health CMH board has been a great opportunity for me to give back to my community, and I wish them continued success,” Lee added.

Lee is President and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and EMPOWER Broadband, Inc. in Chase City. Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) proudly powers over 31,000 homes, farms and businesses in the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton, and Sussex in Virginia and portions of Granville, Northampton, Person, Vance, and Warren counties in North Carolina.  It is headquartered in Chase City and has district offices in Chase City, VA, Emporia, VA, Gretna, VA, and Bracey, VA.

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