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MRH observes 80th year

Two men who figured prominently in the development of FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital joined the current CEO of FirstHealth of the Carolinas on Nov. 30, 2009, to mark the hospital’s 80th anniversary.

cupcakeFormer hospital Administrator Crenshaw Thompson and John Monroe, M.D., helped FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock cut a ceremonial cake noting the hospital’s eight decades of service to the mid-Carolinas. The hospital, then known as Moore County Hospital, opened on Thanksgiving Day 1929 as a 33-bed, four-bassinet facility.

Thompson served as the hospital’s administrator for 15 years, overseeing— among numerous accomplishments—the creation of what is now the Foundation of FirstHealth. Dr. Monroe served the community for many years as an ear, nose and throat specialist with Pinehurst Surgical. His uncle, the late Clement R. Monroe, M.D., was the hospital’s first chief surgeon and administrator.

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FirstHealth of the Carolinas gets OK to build hospital in Hoke County

The North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation has approved a Certificate of Need request from FirstHealth of the Carolinas to build a hospital in Hoke County.

“FirstHealth made a commitment to serve Hoke County many years ago,” says FirstHealth CEO Charles T. Frock. “Building a new hospital in the county is a continuation of that commitment.”

The FirstHealth Hoke Hospital, to be constructed on Highway 401, will house a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week emergency room staffed by Pinehurst-based physicians from Moore Regional Hospital. In addition to the emergency beds, the hospital will include eight inpatient beds, an overnight observation unit and one operating room, full laboratory services, state-of-theart imaging technology, diagnostic cardiology, and critical care transport or helicopter transport options.

With initial construction that will allow for additional expansion, future plans for the 30-acre medical complex site include an ambulatory surgery center, medical office space, and other health care-related services and facilities.

“A hometown hospital strengthens the sense of community,” says long-time Hoke County resident and Moore Regional Hospital Board Chair Julian King. “I am so pleased at the decision to have FirstHealth bring Moore Regional Hospital quality health care to Hoke County.”

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"Pinehurst Walks!" and children benefit

At Pinehurst Elementary School, Wednesdays are known as “Walking Wednesdays” when students, parents, grandparents and others gather at Cannon Park and then take a .30-mile walk to school with the “Walking School Bus.”

The “Walking School Bus” and “Walking Wednesdays” are part of a program called “Pinehurst Walks!,” a community effort that promotes physical activity and safety by encouraging children to walk or bicycle to school.

Original funding to develop a greenway trail linking Pinehurst Elementary to Cannon Park came from a Fit Community grant from the N.C. Health & Wellness Trust Fund to a “Pinehurst Walks!” partnership made up of Pinehurst Elementary, the Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Department and FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

Funding to develop the following enhancements to safe walking/biking routes came from a variety of other sources:

  • A sidewalk along Gun Club Road that connects Highway 211 to Spring Lake Drive—funded through a Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project (COPDP) grant
  • A greenway trail connecting the new sidewalk to the trail to Pinehurst Elementary—also funded through the COPDP grant
  • A fitness trail in front of Pinehurst Elementary that links to the greenway trail— funded by a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant

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Veteran physician loses cancer battle

The FirstHealth of the Carolinas family joined the Richmond County community in mourning the death of Elaine W. Huffman, M.D., on Dec. 13, 2009.

A veteran family medicine physician, Dr. Huffman had battled a rare blood cancer for more than two years, but continued to work until shortly before her death.

“She was a fantastic physician, a compassionate individual and doctor, and she took great care of her patients and many of my friends and family,” said John Stevenson, a retired Richmond County radiologist and a member of the FirstHealth Board of Directors.

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Reid Heart Center Construction Site

Reid Heart Center Construction Facts

construction beam

68,000 square feet
3 buildings
Mass excavation
30,000 cubic yards
3,000 truck loads
Excavation refill
10,000 cubic yards
1,000 truck loads
New construction
5 stories
186,000 square feet
5,400 yards of concrete
750 tons of steel
Construction start date
April 27, 2009
Anticipated occupancy
Winter 2010/2011
See related story

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FHC initiative focuses on prostate cancer

A new focus on prostate cancer has emerged from a variety of FirstHealth of the Carolinas activities funded by the Moore Regional Hospital Foundation through a grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Started in 1993 to honor the late N.C. State men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano, the V Foundation gives 100 percent of all new direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs.

During 2009, the $50,000 V Foundation grant to FirstHealth funded a prostate cancer awareness program; 475 free prostate cancer screenings in Moore, Montgomery, Richmond, Hoke and Lee counties; a Prostate Cancer Needs Assessment Survey; and a series of focus groups about local survivorship and education efforts.

The new FirstHealth initiative coming out of those events will focus on a comprehensive program to educate men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer about what they need to know about their disease and the wide range of treatment options that are available to them. A third component will involve a mentoring program that pairs prostate cancer survivors with newly diagnosed patients.

“We need to develop a better sense of bonding with prostate cancer,” says Rae Williams, administrative director of FirstHealth Medical Practice Management. “People have bonded with breast cancer—pink ribbons are all over. We need more recognition, more interest, more support and more early detection for prostate cancer. We want equal opportunity for prostate cancer and the men at risk.”

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New internal medicine practice opens in Richmond County

Lauren Alter, M.D.

Lauren Alter, M.D.

Lauren Alter, M.D., is the first physician to begin seeing patients in the new FirstHealth Richmond Medical Group–Internal Medicine in Richmond County. Located in the recently constructed FirstHealth Richmond Medical Plaza at 809 Long Drive in Rockingham, the practice is currently accepting new internal medicine patients.

Dr. Alter earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, where she also completed her residency in internal medicine. She was owner and CEO of a medical practice in Westville, N.J., before joining the Richmond Medical Group office.

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Former FHC Board chair named to state Board of Transportation

David Burns

David Burns

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue has appointed David Burns, former chair of the FirstHealth of the Carolinas Board of Directors, to serve on the state Board of Transportation.

A Laurinburg resident, Burns serves as the Transportation Board’s representative for District 8, which covers Scotland, Chatham, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, Randolph and Richmond counties. A longtime executive with Z.V. Pate, a Scotland County management services firm, he recently retired as the company’s president and CEO and now serves as chairman of its board.

Burns also has a long history of community service. In addition to his role with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, he has chaired the Cotton Council International, the Scotland County Board of Commissioners, the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce and Scotia Village. He is immediate past chair and a current member of the First Bancorp Board of Directors, and he currently heads the Board of Trustees for St. Andrews Presbyterian College.

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Dental Care Centers get funds to extend hours, check BMI levels

toothbrushA grant from the North Carolina Health & Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) has allowed the staff of the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers to extend clinic hours while also educating their young patients about the risks of being overweight or obese.

The three-year, $180,000 grant was one of seven awards made to health care organizations throughout the state through the HWTF’s $2 million Oral Health Initiative. The aim is to increase access to treatment and preventive services for underserved, high-need populations, and to train dental and other health care providers to better serve those populations.

In addition to offering extended hours at the Dental Care Centers in Southern Pines, Troy and Raeford, the professionals at the three clinics have begun to collect Body Mass Index ( weight in relation to height) information on their patients and then referring children who are found to have weight issues to available local resources. Clinic providers work closely with both FirstHealth’s Diabetes Self-Management Program and the Montgomery County School Health Centers, as well as with local medical professionals, to provide assistance.

For more information on any of the items in FHC Happenings, call (800) 213-3284.

During their 11 years of operation, the FirstHealth Dental Care Centers have provided care to more than 19,000 low-income children.

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