Frock addresses state hospital association
Charles T. Frock
FirstHealth of the Carolinas CEO Charles T. Frock
spoke on hospitals and how they deal with the
uninsured during the opening session of the Winter
Membership Meeting of the North Carolina Hospital
The NCHA is a statewide association representing
135 hospitals and health networks, and Frock is its
chairman this year. Among those attending the Winter
Membership Meeting, which was held Feb. 21-22
at Embassy Suites in Cary, was Rich Umbdenstock,
president of the American Hospital Association.
During his speech, which was titled “We Are the
Stewards of the Uninsured,” Frock presented an
overview of how hospitals face the issue of the uninsured
every day. He also summarized some successful
grassroots efforts to deal with the matter, including
FirstHealth’s own FirstPlan product.
FirstPlan is a group of benefit plans tailored
especially for small businesses and offered through
FirstCarolinaCare, FirstHealth’s wholly owned health
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New equipment provides faster bone density screenings
People at risk for osteoporosis now have access to a new screening at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital that is faster and safer than previous procedures. The hospital’s Imaging department has expanded its osteoporosis screening services by adding a Hologic DEXA Bone Densitometer, equipment that features Instant Vertebral Assessment (IVA).
IVA is a quick, low-dose X-ray scan of the spine. When done with a standard bone density test, it allows physicians to see spinal breaks that indicate the presence of or risk for osteoporosis.
“Prior to IVA, a patient would be referred for a regular spine X-ray,” says Soledad Griffin, M.D., a radiologist with Pinehurst Radiology Associates. “This often required a separate office visit, exposure to a higher dose of radiation, and additional time to process and review the image. With IVA, the spine scan is performed with a bone density test, during the same appointment, and the results are immediately available for the physician’s review.”
The new scanner can complete five scans in three to five minutes, and the radiation dose is less than that of a typical chest X-ray. The hospital’s previous scanning equipment did two scans in about 14 minutes.
For more information on this screening, call (800) 213-3284.
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FHC joins IBM in
creating national EHR
FirstHealth of the Carolinas is part
of a process to develop a nationwide
system for the exchange of electronic
health record (EHR) information.
The Office of Healthcare Information
Technology in the federal Department
of Health and Human Services is leading
the effort to develop a national system
that allows electronic health records to be
shared and exchanged among all caregivers
involved in a patient’s care. IBM was one of
four large information technology companies
selected to create a prototype system,
and each was required to demonstrate that
its model worked across three separate
IBM decided to set up and test its model
system in communities where it has large
facilities—Taconic, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; and
the Research Triangle
area of North Carolina.
“We had already
been talking within
the local community—
with the major
clinics and group
a way to share information more easily
than we do now,” says David Dillehunt,
FirstHealth’s chief information officer.
“This project seemed to be a good match
between something we wanted to do and
something IBM needed.”
FirstHealth worked closely with IBM on
every aspect of its system. “We spent a lot
of time thinking through the patient privacy
and security issues,” Dillehunt says. “Everybody
has a concern about who is looking at
their data and how their data will be used.
We brought to the table some real focus on
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MMH gets rural health grant for recruiting physicians
A special grant awarded to FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital
through the North Carolina Office of Rural Health focuses on establishing
opportunities for medical residents and practicing physicians to learn
firsthand about the challenges and benefits of rural health care delivery.
The project’s goal is to improve efforts of Montgomery County, an area
designated as medically underserved, to recruit physicians.
“Many health care professionals think that they understand rural
health,” says MMH President Kerry Hensley. “We’re going to share the
rest of the story.”
The recruitment project has three parts, including a weeklong elective
rotation for residents in primary care programs and a continuing education
option for practicing physicians. The third aspect of the project involves
creating a community-driven committee to “showcase” Montgomery
County for prospective physicians. Each of the educational aspects involves
hands-on learning opportunities in Montgomery County.
“What better way to teach present and future physicians about rural
health than to bring them to our community to work alongside our doctors
in our hospital,” says Hensley.
In addition to Montgomery Memorial Hospital and its associated physicians,
the project involves the Greensboro office of the North Carolina
Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, the N.C. Office of Rural
Health, the Moses Cone Health System Residency Teaching Programs
and members of the Montgomery County community.
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Youth gardening project
receives national award
Children from the Southern Pines Recreation and Parks Department’s after-school program give members of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension State Advisory Committee a tour of FirstGarden.
FirstGarden, an intergenerational
gardening program, was
chosen from more than 650
children’s gardening programs
throughout the country to
receive a 2007 Youth Garden
Grant from the South Burlington,
Vt.-based National Gardening
The program received an
assortment of books donated by
the National Gardening Association
and a $250 gift card from
The Home Depot, which recognizes
that today’s young people are the future of American gardening.
Organized by FirstHealth of the Carolinas, the Southern Pines Parks
and Recreation Department and Moore County Cooperative Extension,
FirstGarden pairs children with senior citizens in a gardening project
that also stresses the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
Children from the town of Southern Pines and the Boys & Girls Club of
the Sandhills work in the garden throughout the growing season with the
assistance of Master Gardeners from the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension Service and senior volunteers.
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