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FirstHealth of the Carolinas

Sanford resident James Naylor was in a bad way—weak and still bleeding from his bladder after two surgeries and two hospital stays. His urologist, Geoffrey White, M.D., suspected tissue damage from the radiation therapy he’d had a dozen years earlier following surgery for prostate cancer.

After conferring with David Strom, M.D., medical director of the FirstHealth Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Moore Regional Hospital, Dr. White referred Naylor for hyperbaric therapy, a program that promotes healing by exposing the patient to levels of 100- percent oxygen for short periods of time at a pressure that is greater than normal. The procedure is used most often to treat chronic non-healing wounds in patients with diabetes, but is also effective with a variety of other conditions, including—as with Naylor— damage from radiation therapy, severe injuries, serious skin and tissue infections, acute burns, non-healing skin grafts or flaps, and osteomyelitis (infection of the bone marrow or bone structures).

Wound care patient James Naylor with David Strom, M.D., medical director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Moore Regional Hospital.

“They didn’t know if it would do my problem any good,” says the 83-year-old Naylor, a retired public accountant. “Nothing else did.”

Naylor started hyperbaric therapy in early August. By the time of his fifth treatment, the bleeding from his bladder had all but stopped. When he finished his 30-session treatment regimen in late September, he was feeling much better and looking forward to resuming some of his preillness activities.

“I really did have a good experience,” he says.

Now Naylor raves about the service, calling it “remarkable” and telling everyone he knows about the center and its caring staff.

“When Mr. Naylor started with us, he was so weak he had to be brought via wheelchair for treatments,” says program director Amy Watson, R.N. “After a few weeks, he walked in without any assistance whatsoever. The change in his strength was significant.”

The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center is one of eight special medical programs housed in the FirstHealth Specialty Centers Building on the Moore Regional Hospital campus. The Chest Center of the Carolinas, Infectious Diseases Clinic, Esophageal Center, Bariatric Center, Pain Clinic, Arrhythmia Center and Outpatient Behavioral Services are also there.

Located in a newly renovated building that once housed the Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, the Specialty Centers Building brings together all of the components necessary to diagnose, treat and follow up with patients experiencing specific medical conditions. These organized groups of medical specialists coordinate care for patients in a single setting.

“The advantage is simple,” says Cindy Ward, R.N., director of Specialty Centers. “We target those services and physicians necessary to manage a particular health issue and bring them directly to the patient. Our service emphasizes a team approach from the initial diagnosis to development of a treatment plan and beyond.”

In addition to the eight specialty clinics, the 67,000- square-foot Specialty Centers Building also provides space for a variety of FirstHealth support services. The Compliance Department, EMS administration and support, the Employee Assistance Program and Central Scheduling are housed there. So are some members of the Information System staff as well as Occupational Medicine, Patient Accounts and the Volunteer Toymakers program.

An architectural drawing of the new medical office building on the campus of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital.

The Vetter Building on Long Drive in Rockingham came down in 2007 to make way for a new medical office building on the campus of FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital. The construction of a new building responds to the need for more office space for physicians in Richmond County.

“In addition to accommodating the current needs of the medical staff, the new office building will allow Richmond Memorial to recruit additional physicians and specialists to meet the growing needs of our community and to enable patients to continue to receive some of the best care right here at home,” says John Jackson, Richmond Memorial president.

Richmond Memorial Hospital is working with Peterson Associates to design the building with state-of-the art offices for physicians and other health care professionals. The 40,000- square-foot building will sit on a three-acre site at 809 Long Drive. The two-story building will have a storefront design with multiple ground-level entrances along the face of the building as well as covered walkways.

Ground was broken in November, and the new building is expected to provide space for 20 physicians and bring about 20 additional jobs to the community.

FirstHealth of the Carolinas purchased the site from Stanley Vetter, M.D., a veteran physician in the Richmond County community.

Hardhats returned to the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness-Pinehurst during 2007 as the facility was enlarged and renovated to accommodate a new service and a new location for an existing FirstHealth program.

The new service is called FirstSpa, a full-service spa that offers a variety of body and facial treatments, massage, and nail and waxing services. When it opened in November, FirstSpa consolidated existing spa services into one location with rooms specially designed and furnished for specific services: three rooms for massage, one for nails and one for skin care. The staff includes massage therapists, nail technicians and estheticians (skin care specialists). “Spa services have always been a part of the Health & Fitness Center operation,” says spa manager Kim Covington. “FirstSpa allows us to take it to the next level of service.”

John Caliri, director of the FirstHealth Centers for Health & Fitness, agrees. “We believe the services provided by FirstSpa can improve a person’s health and well-being,” he says. “With that in mind, FirstSpa is a natural fit in the Center for Health & Fitness, where we strive to help our members and customers live a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The newly expanded Center for Health & Fitness–Pinehurst also includes Moore County’s largest and most extensive free-weight area, a new sauna and renovated steam room, renovated locker rooms, an expanded nursery, an additional group exercise studio and an indoor cycling studio.

Cardiac Rehab
The renovation, which added 10,000 square feet of new space to the Center for Health & Fitness, allowed FirstHealth’s successful Cardiac Rehab Program to move into its own office and exercise area—2,800 square feet dedicated for patients who have been referred to the monitored program following their heart disease diagnosis.

“It’s also a great space for our Bridge to Wellness program, which provides participants with education and resources that allow them to understand the principles and importance of managing a fitness program based on individual needs,” says the program’s director, Jean Barrett-Taylor. “This space allows us to offer our graduates and participants options for exercising in a nonphysician- monitored program, but with the structure and availability of professional staff. This is all done in a space that allows the participants to manage their individual programs in an interactive environment.”

The Cardiac Rehab space includes a conference room, where participants can meet privately with a dietitian or nurse; a classroom for group education; a centrally located nurses’ station with telemetry monitoring; and a staff work area. The aerobic equipment available to participants includes treadmills, a rowing machine, cross trainers and stationary bikes.

Candor resident Betty Ann Royall calls her breast cancer diagnosis and its aftermath “a scary situation.” But she has dealt with it thanks to her Christian faith and with great support from her family, her church community and from Dennis Devereux, M.D., and the staff of the Breast Health Program at
Montgomery Memorial Hospital.

“Dr. Devereux was very comforting and very good with the family,” Royall says. “I just liked the way he treated a scary situation. He’s very skilled in how he handles that part of it. He checked on me constantly, and I appreciated that, too.”

Royall’s “roller coaster deal” with breast cancer began with a call from her family doctor early last year. After telling her that a routine mammogram had revealed a suspicious mass in her breast, he asked if she had a preference about where to be referred for follow-up. When she didn’t, he recommended Dr. Devereux and the Breast Health Program. Within days, Royall, her husband, Amos, and her daughter were in Dr. Devereux’ office and discussing options.

Dennis Devereux, M.D., of the Breast Health Program at Montgomery Memorial Hospital.

A needle biopsy followed and then a surgical biopsy, both performed by Dr. Devereux in the familiar surroundings of Montgomery Memorial. The biopsy was inconclusive, but a follow-up mammogram revealed a problem that radiologists determined was indeed cancer.

Royall opted for a mastectomy, which was also performed by Dr. Devereux at Montgomery Memorial. Dr. Devereux then conferred with the medical oncologists at Moore Regional’s Outpatient Cancer Center about her treatment (she had the last of four chemotherapy sessions in October and followed that up with radiation oncology), and he was always available to see her when she needed him.

“If I needed to go in, he would tell me to come right in,” she says. “I feel like he was taking the best care of me he could. It really was great, like going to your family doctor. It was really convenient to just have a short distance to go to have the doctor check you out.”

Montgomery Memorial introduced its Breast Health Program in spring 2007 just after Dr. Devereux, a surgeon who specializes in breast procedures, joined the hospital’s 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 is done here—and as quickly as possible to eliminate the waiting.”

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