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Governor appoints FirstHealth CEO to N.C. Institute of Medicine

Charles T. Frock

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has appointed FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock to a five-year term on the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

Established to seek solutions to statewide problems that hinder the improvement of health and the efficient and effective delivery of health care for every resident of the state, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine serves an advisory function at the request of the governor, the General Assembly and/or agencies of state government in the formation of public policy on issues concerning health and health care.

It addresses this mission by coordinating and sponsoring research, collecting information on major issues, analyzing options and developing consensus within its membership and with various stakeholders on a range of solutions to particular issues that are in the best interests of the public.

The 100 active members of the IOM come from government, education, business and industry, the health and legal professions, the hospital and health insurance industries, private philanthropy, the volunteer sector and the public at large. The chairman is Dr. William Atkinson, CEO of WakeMed. Current members include Dr. Leah Devlin, state health director; Dr. Victor Dzau, CEO of Duke Health System; Robert Greczyn, CEO of N.C. BlueCross BlueShield; Eugene Cochrane, president of The Duke Endowment; N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper; Howard Lee, chair of the N.C. State Board of Education; N.C. Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue; Dr. William Roper, CEO of the UNC Healthcare System; state Sen. Tony Rand; and Dr. David Bruton, a retired Moore County pediatrician and former secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

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FirstHealth’s School Health Program gets state recognition

As the front line of health care for children in 22 schools in Moore County and at the two School-based Health Centers in Montgomery County, FirstHealth’s school nurses often make the difference in a child’s being in school and a parent’s being at work. Because of that role, FirstHealth’s School Health Program received a Hallmarks of Healthy Workplaces award from the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA).

The Hallmarks Credentialing Committee called the FirstHealth program a “dynamic, innovative program.” “Synergy was apparent in the workplace,” the award recognition continued. “Communication is a priority and is accomplished effectively within a multi-site system. The school health nurses’ role in providing good health care to all of the population is appreciated and well respected.”

According to Dennis Sherrod, NCNA president, the Hallmarks program includes agencies not typically considered by a nursing recognition program, such as home health, schools of nursing and private practices as well as hospitals. “We really mean all health-related facilities that use registered nurses,” he said.

Last fall, FirstHealth’s School Health Program became the first specialty program of its kind in North Carolina to receive Magnet Nursing status with the Magnet designation of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and several off-site nursing programs. In addition, all of the School Health nurses are nationally certified.

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Breast Health Program opens at Montgomery Memorial Hospital

FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital has begun a Breast Health Program that pledges to discuss the patient’s options and recommend a treatment plan within 24 hours of the patient’s first visit to the service.

Dennis Devereux, M.D.

Dennis Devereux, M.D., a surgeon who specializes in breast procedures, leads the Breast Health Program staff. “Our goal is to provide all the necessary evaluation and initial treatment, if indicated, right here at Montgomery Memorial Hospital,” Dr. Devereux says. “If further evaluation and/or radiation/ chemotherapy are needed, that can be provided at our affiliate Moore Regional Hospital. But everything that can be done here will be done here—and as quickly as possible to eliminate the waiting.”

A patient begins the five-step Breast Health Program with a consultation with Dr. Devereux. Any necessary diagnostic tests, such as a mammogram or ultrasound, are performed on site under the guidance of the Breast Health Program staff. If treatment is necessary, Dr. Devereux advises the patient about the appropriate plan.

Many procedures, including biopsies and fine needle aspirations, are performed at Montgomery Memorial. If surgery is needed, it can also be done at Montgomery Memorial. If either radiation therapy or chemotherapy is required, the Breast Health Program staff coordinates the patient’s care with the Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center at Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst or the facility of the patient’s choice.

The opening of the Breast Health Program coincides with the development of a new FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation program to assist patients with cancer. Proceeds from the Foundation’s Cancer CARE (Clinical, Advocacy, Resources and Education) Fund are used to help area cancer patients with medications, cancer-related items and transportation costs associated with their treatment.

Modeled after a program that has operated successfully for several years through the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation, the Cancer CARE Fund received the proceeds from the 2007 Spring Event fundraiser that was hosted in April by the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation.

For more information on the Breast Health Program at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital, please call (800) 213-3284 toll-free.

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Psychologist joins Behavioral Services staff

Suzanne G. Martin, Psy.D., spent a decade in health care administration before deciding on a career change. Returning to school, she earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and then entered a field that brought her to FirstHealth’s Behavioral Services department.

As FirstHealth’s only clinical psychologist, she not only provides individual, group and family therapy, but she is also available for testing and bedside evaluations. “What I bring to Behavioral Services that is different is the testing piece,” she says. “I identify strategies that might be helpful, and I provide referrals for patients who might require more neurological follow-up or pain management.”

As a resource for other departments in the hospital, Dr. Martin can be called in to evaluate patients with a medical diagnosis, such as heart disease or cancer, to determine if underlying psychological issues are affecting the medical condition.

A graduate of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a degree in psychology, Dr. Martin also received an M.S. degree in health care administration from St. Joseph’s before earning her doctorate in psychology from Immaculata College in Immaculata, Pa.

Before joining FirstHealth Behavioral Services last October, she was a senior partner in a Philadelphia group that provided consulting services to human service agencies and providers. She had previously worked as clinical psychologist in a variety of settings in the Philadelphia area.

For more information on FirstHealth Behavioral Services or the specific services that Dr. Suzanne Martin provides, please call (800) 213-3284 toll-free.

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EMS director joins national Chest Pain Centers board

David Carter, director of the FirstHealth Regional EMS System, has joined the board of the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), a national organization that focuses on the treatment of coronary heart disease.

“There are few initiatives that I have been involved with in my career that have had such a huge impact as the Society of Chest Pain Centers,” Carter says. “Six years ago, the SCPC recommended that hospitals need to demonstrate that they have a working relationship with EMS. Over time, and with each re-accreditation, this ‘relationship bar’ has continued to be elevated.”

The Society for Chest Pain Centers promotes protocol-based medicine that addresses the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes and heart failure, and the adoption of process-improvement medicine by health care providers. The organization brings together diverse medical specialties, including emergency medicine and cardiology, to promote community outreach programs that help the general public recognize the early symptoms of acute coronary disease.

In addition to his new role on the SCPC board, Carter will continue to chair the Key Element I Cycle 3 Revision Committee, a group charged with updating SCPC criteria on the emergency department/ EMS relationship on heart attack diagnosis and treatment. He is also an SCPC reviewer for chest pain centers that want to become certified.

For more information on treatment of chest pain, see the related story.

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