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FirstHealth of the Carolinas has been named one of the top 100 integrated health care networks in the country. Results of the 11th annual assessment were announced in the national publication Modern Healthcare after their release by Verispan, a health-care data and consulting firm.

The Yardley, Pa.-based Verispan evaluated health networks on their performance and degree of integration.

To determine the top 100 integrated networks, Verispan looked at more than 580 health systems, grading them on operations, quality, scope of services and efficiency. Ratings were based on a system that evaluated each network’s ability to operate as a unified organization in each of eight categories: integration, technology, contractual capabilities, outpatient utilization, financial stability, services and access, hospital utilization and physicians.

FirstHealth of the Carolinas was one of only three health networks in North Carolina to receive the top 100 recognition. Also recognized were Novant Health of Winston-Salem and Moses Care Health System in Greensboro

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A $10,000 disbursement from the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation has helped support the Kids in Crisis Fund for Montgomery County Schools during the 2007-2008 school year.

“Since 2002, the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation has provided much-needed support for the centers, allowing the school nurses to do what they do best— take care of children,” says Kerry Hensley, president of FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital. “In 2002, the Montgomery Foundation purchased two cars that are used to transport children to the School-based Health Centers from schools throughout the county and provide transportation to other appointments as necessary. The 2007 disbursement brings the total to $65,000 of support provided to these centers so that children can be taken care of and remain in school.”

The Kids in Crisis program assures that children from low-income families have access to preventive, diagnostic and treatment health care services. Any child enrolled in Montgomery County Schools who cannot afford care is eligible after the need has been established by a school nurse or the School-based Health Centers’ staff.

“The FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation is happy to be able to provide funds to the School-based Health Centers for Kids in Crisis again this year,” says Joan Dickson, who was chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees at the time of the disbursement. “The money that our annual event raised in 2004 helped establish the fund, which is used each year for needs that are identified by the staff at the School-based Health Centers or nurses at each school. For this school year, we are providing a total of $10,000 to be used at the two centers. As in previous years, we are proud to be able to help meet the needs of Montgomery County’s children through this fund.”

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Two physicians at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital were the first in North Carolina to use a new device to open arteries in the legs that are blocked by rock-hard calcium build-up. Nick Cavros, M.D., an interventional cardiologist, and Clinton Atkinson, M.D., a vascular surgeon, began performing the procedure earlier this year.

Dr. Cavros practices with Pinehurst Cardiology Consultants, and Dr. Atkinson is with Pinehurst Surgical.

The new device, called the Diamondback 360 Orbital Atherectomy System, pulverizes artery-obstructing calcium deposits that can obstruct arteries to restore blood flow to the lower legs and feet. So named because it uses super-hard industrial diamonds to cut through the calcium, the device is manufactured by Cardiovascular Systems Inc.

Large calcium deposits in arteries in the leg are most common with older people and people with diabetes and kidney failure. Calcium build-up that stops or greatly reduces the flow of blood can lead to conditions including gangrene and foot ulcers that won’t heal. Patients may have severe pain and be unable to walk. In some cases, surgery is required to restore circulation and avoid amputation.

With the new “diamondback” procedure, physicians have another, less invasive treatment option. It usually is performed as an outpatient procedure.

For more information on the Diamondback procedure, call (800) 213-3284.

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Cheryl Batchelor, the executive director for Clinical Operations at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, has been named to an advisory capacity with the Patient Safety and Quality Committee of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).

As one of two nursing professionals from North Carolina appointed to the position, she will provide feedback, when requested by the Patient Safety and Quality Committee, on select AONE issues related to patient safety and quality.

Founded in 1967, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association, is a national organization of more than 6,000 nurse leaders who design, facilitate and manage care. The Patient Safety and Quality Committee develops tools for the AONE membership to support nurse leaders in managing environments that enhance patient safety, and also advises the AONE Board on national quality and safety initiatives.

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Giving Kids a Smile

Joe Boylan, who represents Moore County in the North Carolina State House, visited the FirstHealth Dental Care Center-Southern Pines for “Give Kids a Smile Day.” The annual recognition highlights the challenges at-risk children face in accessing dental health care. During his visit, Boylan (pictured center) spoke with patients and the staff and toured the facility.



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