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BMH’s Valentine Ball adds Friday night party

in Health by
richard-and-joyce-gray

Photo above: Richard and Joyce Gray will serve as the honorary chairs at the Valentine Ball.

There are a couple of new twists to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Valentine Ball.

Not only is there a brand new downtown venue at Tabby Place, but for the very first time, the foundation is also offering a special party the night before.

Attendees at the new Friday night “Cocktail Affair” will be able to get a first look at the always fabulous decorations and auction items while enjoying an open bar, elaborate hors d’oeuvres and live music from 6-8:30 p.m.

Richard and Joyce Gray will serve as the honorary chairs for this premiere event, and say they are excited at the thought of our community coming together two nights in a row for such a wonderful cause.

“We are truly fortunate to have such a great hospital and staff,” said Richard Gray. “I sometimes think people don’t realize just how much can be done right here, close to family and close to home.

“Our hospital also provides an incredible amount of charitable care for those who have nowhere else to turn, and everything they do helps to ensure the health of our entire community.”

Richard Gray grew up in Beaufort, and to hear him tell it, Joyce Gray caught his eye the minute she moved here after college to teach.  He jokes that he had to ask her out five times before she said yes, but she fell in love with her husband-to-be as easily as she did her new hometown, and the couple soon settled down just up the street from the hospital.

All four of the Gray’s children and six of their grandchildren were born at Beaufort Memorial and they appreciate how special it is to have a not-for-profit hospital serving the community.

Joyce Gray’s physician father had helped to start a county hospital in Barnwell some 60 years ago, sparing his patients what had previously been an hours-long drive to the nearest facility.

But like so many other small hospitals across the state, it wasn’t able to survive in today’s healthcare environment.

Beaufort Memorial has been the exception to this rule, in no small part because of the generous and long-standing support of the community it serves.

And all along, Richard and Joyce Gray have been a part of this support network. They were instrumental in helping to get the first Valentine Ball going 28 years ago and have since hosted many pre-Ball dinner parties in support of the Foundation.

“We’ve always enjoyed the Ball,” said Joyce Gray. “The pre-Ball dinner parties have been the most fantastic way to meet new people and support the hospital. And this year, we’re especially excited about the new event the night before. The new venue is great, and both nights’ events are going to be just beautiful. We hope everyone will come out for a wonderful time!”

The Ball has raised nearly $4.8 million for the hospital.  Proceeds from the 2017 Valentine Ball Weekend will go to cancer services, perpetuating the phenomenal level of philanthropic support that has underwritten half of all building and equipment costs of the Keyserling Cancer Center.

Tickets to the Valentine Ball and private dinner parties on Feb. 11 start at $150 per person and include several levels of sponsorships.

Tickets for Friday night start at $75 per person with a discount for those wishing to “make a weekend of it” by attending both events.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit valentineball.org or call the foundation at 843-522-5774.

Ketchic is named VP of Physician Services

in Health by
Christopher Ketchie
Christopher Ketchie

Christopher Ketchie, an experienced healthcare administrator from Pennsylvania, has been named Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s vice president of physician services, responsible for managing the largest multispecialty physician group in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

As head of Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners, Ketchie will oversee 14 medical practices with 45 doctors and more than two dozen advanced practice providers.

Prior to joining BMH, he held a similar position with Lancaster Medical Group/Community Health Systems, a 32-practice multispecialty medical group in South Central Pennsylvania.

A native of North Carolina, Ketchie earned  a B.S. degree in Health Promotions/Biology from Appalachian State University and a master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of South Carolina.

He began his 10-year career as a medical service corps officer in the U.S. Navy. Stationed at the Naval Health Clinic in Great Lakes, Ill., and later Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, he served in various posts, including assistant director for administration for Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and commander/executive officer for the 2D Medical Battalion Charlie Surgical Company.

During his seven years of military service, he was deployed for 10 months to Afghanistan to help develop a medical clinic for detainees and another 11 months in the Mediterranean, North Africa and Middle East with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Ketchie started his new job with Beaufort Memorial Nov. 14.

“I look forward to working with our physicians and support staff to plan the future growth of our practice network,” Ketchie said. “My role is to ensure we provide the community with timely access to medical services and quality care.”

To find a Beaufort Memorial physician, visit www.beaufortmemorial.org.

Health briefs for November 10th-16th

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Matthew Hurt, center, is the recipient of the 2016 "Spirit of Giving" Award. He is shown here with Beaufort Memorial Foundation Chairman Hugh Gouldthorpe and Beaufort Memorial Hospital CEO Russell Baxley.
Matthew Hurt, center, is the recipient of the 2016 “Spirit of Giving” Award. He is shown here with Beaufort Memorial Foundation Chairman Hugh Gouldthorpe and Beaufort Memorial Hospital CEO Russell Baxley.

BMH employee is honored with Spirit of Giving Award

Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation trustees surprised Advanced Imaging Manager Matthew Hurt with the 2016 Spirit of Giving Award at the nonprofit group’s annual meeting.

A tireless volunteer with a number of local organizations, Hurt was recognized for all he has done for his own hospital over the years.

Foundation Chairman Hugh Gouldthorpe recognized Hurt for consistently stepping up to help with employee-giving activities and taking the extra initiative to email BMH staff to encourage them to make a year-end gift to the foundation.

In addition, Hurt paved the way for the foundation to receive for the first time a grant from the Beaufort Charities Golf Tournament. The chairman noted that Hurt “walks the talk” through his own very generous support of the foundation. Hurt has been a foundation supporter since 2001.

The Spirit of Giving Award is presented each year to someone within the hospital who not only has been personally generous to the foundation, but helps others see the value in supporting the hospital.

BMH earns ‘A’ for patient safety

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades — the most complete picture of patient safety in the U.S. — awarded Beaufort Memorial an “A” in its fall 2016 report card.

Out of the 47 hospitals in the state, BMH was one of 16 to receive the top grade.

“Beaufort Memorial has worked diligently to improve patient safety in every area of care, from hospital-acquired infections to preventing adverse drug reactions,” BMH President and CEO Russell Baxley said. “Achieving an ‘A’ grade is a testament to the commitment our staff has shown to protecting our patients.”

Developed under the guidance of an expert panel, Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades uses 30 measures of hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice a year. Hospitals are graded based on how they scored in five major categories: infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems and doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

The score rates things like how well the hospital does to prevent infection and encourage hand washing and if there are procedures in place to prevent errors.

Most recently, BMH invested in a $100,000 portable robot that kills antibiotic-resistant germs using high-intensity, pulsed ultraviolet light. It is the first hospital in South Carolina to use the cutting-edge technology, proven effective in hospitals like the prestigious MD Anderson Cancer Centers.

In addition, the nonprofit hospital created a pharmacist-led medication reconciliation team tasked with obtaining a complete and accurate record of a patient’s drug regimen at admission and then monitoring it throughout the continuum of care to prevent inadvertent medication errors.

“Protecting patients from harm is the most important charge for any hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “We recognize and appreciate ‘A’ hospitals’ vigilance and continued dedication to keeping their patients safe.”

Leapfrog’s biannual report is available to the public online at www.hospitalsafetygrade.org.

Free bootcamps are offered at Second Wind

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, free bootcamps are being offered from 8-11 a.m. Saturdays through Nov. 19 at Second Wind Wellness at 864 Parris Island Gateway, Suite F,  Beaufort.

All exercises are custom-tailored to suit your specific needs. These are fun, high-energy classes which combine high intensity interval training with active rest training for a metabolic-boosting, fat-burning workout guaranteed to burn more calories in less time than a traditional gym exercise.

After each class, participants will be given goodies and tips to help them further succeed with their health goals.

Call 843-379-3726.

Forum to focus on drug, alcohol use

The Lowcountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) is hosting a Community Forum from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Bluffton High School.

This forum is open to the public and people of all ages are welcome and encouraged to come.

There will be three guest speakers to address different aspects of youth in relation to alcohol and marijuana. The forum will also highlight some of the area’s local high school youth who will speak to how they feel the community can help them lead
healthier lives.

The experts include:

• Dr. Lindsay Squeglia, of MUSC, who will discuss the effects of alcohol and marijuana on teen brain development;

• Dr. Wendy Bell of the SC Law Enforcement Division, who will discuss medical marijuana myths;

• And Andrew Fogner, of the SC Department of Alcohol & Drug Abuse, who will provide an overview of the South Carolina student drug survey.

“The purpose of this forum is to engage the public, but more importantly increase awareness our youth face regarding use and substance abuse. We want the public to know what they can do to provide a healthier environment for our teens. The youth are our future, so making sure they see a future should be the primary focus of everyone living and working in this community,” said Wendy Cummings, president of the LCAHY executive board.

Visit www.lcahealthyyouth.com or contact Cummings at cummingsfam6@gmail.com.

Retina specialist to speak at Sun City Hilton Head

Dr. Peter Liggett, a retina specialist on Hilton Head, will conduct an educational seminar, “What You Need to Know About Macular Degeneration,” at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the Colleton River Room at Sun City Hilton Head.

This event is open to Sun City Hilton Head residents only. Attendees should RSVP by Nov. 10  at  hhmr.org/suncity or call 843-415-3490.

Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain.

The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. The macula controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors and see objects in fine detail. As people age, their chances for developing eye diseases increase dramatically.

Liggett is a leader in the evaluation and treatment of macular and retinal diseases. Liggett has been a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Yale School of Medicine and Weill Cornell College of Medicine. He founded New England Retina Associates, which had six retina specialists and more than 10,000 patient visits per year.

He has written more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited four major textbooks on diseases of the macula and retina.

He is an examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, which certifies doctors to practice in ophthalmology.

For more information, call 843-422-9987 or visit www.hhmr.org.

Health briefs for November 3rd-9th

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Dr. Marc New joins BMH medical group 

Dr. Marc New
Dr. Marc New

Beaufort Memorial Hospital has added a board-certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years experience to the medical staff at Lowcountry Medical Group.

Dr. Marc D. New is now seeing patients at the busy multi-specialty practice at 300 Midtown Drive, near the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Prior to joining the BMH team, New was in private practice for 18 years at Elms Digestive Disease Specialists in North Charleston. He began his career as a partner in a doctors’ clinic in Vero Beach, Fla., and was a sole proprietor for two years in Port St. Lucie and Stuart, Fla., before moving to South Carolina.

New graduated from the College of Charleston in 1984 and went on to earn his doctorate in medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Emory University and his fellowship training in gastroenterology in 1993 at the Medical College of Georgia.

At Lowcountry Medical Group, he will be working with GI specialists Drs. John Crisologo and Richard Stewart, as well as Kimberly Thorpe, PA-C, and Bonnie Mohler, CRN-P. The practice also includes primary care physicians and specialists in gynecology, cardiology and neurology.

For more information on the practice, visit beaufortmemorial.org. To schedule an appointment with New or any of the other health care professionals at Lowcountry Medical Group, call 843-770-0404.

Lyme disease meeting to be held Nov. 9

The next scheduled meeting of the Lowcountry SC Lyme Disease Support Group will take place from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Freedom Life Church Offices at 56 Persimmons St. in Bluffton.

The group has been formed for the support of those who are currently fighting Lyme disease, those who are currently in remission and for their families and caregivers.

Each month features a special guest speaker who focuses on conventional and alternative methods to treating Lyme cisease.

This month’s speaker will be 16-year-old Lyme Princess Warrior Sammie (Sammie Moss), and her mother, Kym Manglona. Sammie had a very long journey with the illness and multiple co-infections. After treatment failed with several doctors in the states, Sammie and mom, Kym, decided to go a very unconventional route in medicine.  After completing this trial, Sammie is now in remission.

Lyme disease is caused by the transfer of bacterium from the bites of ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the United States. The number of cases reported annually has increased nearly 25-fold since national surveillance began in 1982.

Visit www.ilads.org.

Donate blood at Blood Alliance Center

The Blood Alliance is the sole supplier of blood to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. The Blood Alliance must collect 36 units of blood every day to meet the needs of patients at the hospitals and other medical facilities it supplies. You can donate blood from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Blood Alliance Center at 1001A Boundary St., Beaufort.

For information or to schedule an appointment, visit  www.igiveblood.com or call 843-522-0409.

Can fish oil help dry eye?

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

While artificial tears or ointments are a common treatment for dry eye, studies suggest consuming omega-3 fatty acid supplements may also provide relief.

Omega-3 oils appear to improve function in the eye’s meibomian glands, which produce the oily part of tears. Improved function of those glands can ease dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye becomes more common as a person ages. The problem develops when the eye cannot maintain a healthy coating of tears. Dry eye can be caused by hormonal changes brought on by menopause. There are a number of other causes, including a dry environment or workplace (such as wind or air conditioning), sun exposure, smoking or secondhand smoke exposure and many medications.

The National Eye Institute notes that in some patients with dry eye, supplements or dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids (such as tuna fish) may decrease symptoms of irritation.

Many studies have shown that the omega-3s in fish oil are believed to reduce inflammation. If inflammation of the eyelids or surfaces of the eye worsens dry eye, it makes sense that a supplement could help the problem.

Since dry eye is pretty complex, and there is no cure, it seems reasonable that by treating the inflammation, one can improve some of the symptoms.

A study of more than 32,000 women from the Women’s Health Study published in 2005 found those who consumed the most omega-3 fats from fish had a 17 percent lower risk of dry eye, compared with women who ate little or no seafood. More recently, a study in the International Journal of Ophthalmology concluded omega-3 fatty acids have a definite role for dry eye syndrome.

Omega-3 oils may also help in the treatment of other eye diseases. The oils may reduce growth of abnormal blood vessels that occur in age-related macular degeneration and other retinal vascularization diseases.

Talk to your doctor to find out whether omega-3 supplements are right for you.

Health briefs for October 27th-November 2nd

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Local 4-Hers take part in health challenge

On Oct. 15, 4-H youth from Beaufort and Calhoun participated in the State 4-H Healthy Lifestyles Challenge at the South Carolina State Fair.

Although the youth had weathered Hurricane Matthew they placed fifth in the junior division.

The 4-Hers have been practicing recipes for the challenge from the 4-H Youth Choices Youth Voices Healthy lifestyles sponsored by Walmart and 4-H Cooking like a Chef curriculum.

The youth did not know the recipe they would be cooking similar to the Iron Chef until they started the competition. They had one hour to prepare the recipe, present the nutritional, food safety and meal plan that would complete a full meal as well as calories and cost.

BMH surgeon to present free program on arteries

Swollen, achy legs keeping you from doing the things you love? Beaufort Memorial wants to help you “Stand Up to Leg Pain!”

Problems with your arteries or veins could be the cause of your discomfort. Learn about two of the most common vascular issues at this free, interactive program being presented Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Sun City’s Lakehouse, 1251 Sgt. William Jasper Blvd., in Okatie.

Board-certified vascular surgeon Dr. Chad Tober and physician assistant Annsley Troxell will talk about the symptoms, signs and treatments of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and varicose veins.

The health experts will explain how these two conditions can impair blood flow to your muscles, making it difficult to take long walks, dance or play a full round of golf. They’ll also discuss the latest treatment options for the conditions and answer any questions you may have about vascular disease.

Both Sun City residents and non-residents are invited to attend “Stand Up to Leg Pain!”

The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a reception featuring wine and appetizers, followed at 5 p.m. by the talk. The program is free, but registration is required. Call 843-522-5585 to reserve your seat.

Help with ACA to be made available 

The Affordable Health Care enrollment begins Nov. 1, and certified navigators at the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce are available to enroll, answer questions, and help with any issues you have pertaining to the Affordable Care Act.

The office is located at 801 Bladen St., and the experts will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and by appointment.

Navigators will travel to present and enroll to groups such as churches, social organizations and community groups.

Call 843-986-1102.

Lions to hold health fair with bloodmobile

The Beaufort Lions Health Fair and Bloodmobile will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 12, at Sea Island Presbyterian Church, 81 Lady’s Island Drive.

Participants are asked to bring a canned food donation for Second Harvest Food Bank. Participating agencies include the Beaufort Bloodmobile (sign up to donate at www.oneblooddonor.org); Caroline Coleman, massage therapist and body mass index expert; Lions Vision Screening, Beaufort Audiology and Hearing Clinic; American Cancer Society; CODA; Friends of Carolina Hospice; Senior Services; Organic Natural Products; and more.

BMH gets Outstanding Achievement Award

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Following an extensive onsite evaluation of Beaufort Memorial’s cancer program, the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer renewed the hospital’s accreditation — and went a step further, presenting it with the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award, an honor bestowed on just 20 U.S. accredited cancer programs evaluated in the first half of this year.

It is the second time BMH has received special recognition from the Commission. In 2010, just four years after opening the Keyserling Cancer Center, the hospital was honored with the New Program Outstanding Achievement Award.

“It’s an extraordinary accomplishment to be honored twice in nine years,” said Cancer Program Director Connie Duke. “Not only did our program meet the commission’s high quality-of-care standards, we demonstrated a level of excellence worthy of special commendation.”

Considered the gold standard for cancer care, accreditation is granted only to facilities that are committed to providing the best in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Last June, a surveyor from the College of Surgeons visited the hospital to assess Beaufort Memorial’s cancer program. It was evaluated on 34 standards categorized within five activity areas: cancer committee leadership, data management, clinical services, patient outcomes and data quality.

To earn accreditation, a center must offer comprehensive cancer care, including a full range of state-of-the-art services and technology. The facility’s multidisciplinary team of specialists, including medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists, need to work as a team to coordinate the best available treatment.

In addition, patients should be provided with support services, ongoing monitoring and information on clinical trials and new treatment options. They also should be provided access to prevention and early detection programs and a cancer registry offering lifelong patient follow-up.

“We have continued to work hard to improve our program,” Duke said. “It was very gratifying to have our efforts recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award.”

For more information on the Keyserling Cancer Center, visit www.bmhsc.org or call 843-522-7800.

Health briefs for October 20th-26th

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cooking

Top photo: Executive Chef Michael Ramey led his team to victory. He is shown here with teammates Jessica Hausfeld, Deon Fuller and Albert Rocha. 

BMH culinary team takes third at event

It was a culinary event to rival the Iron Chef. Food service staff from eight South Carolina hospitals competed at the Fourth Annual Cooking Well Invitational, a gastronomic showdown sponsored by the South Carolina Hospital Association.

Led by Executive Chef Michael Ramey along with Jessica Hausfeld, Deon Fuller and Albert Rocha, the BMH team took third place in the competition held at the historic Boone Hall Plantation as part of “Taste of Charleston.”

BMH is winner of 3 zero harm awards

Beaufort Memorial swept the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) 2016 Certified Zero Harm Awards, winning three awards and special recognition for preventing post-surgery infections.

The 197-bed hospital was one of only two healthcare facilities in South Carolina to report no hospital-acquired infections for 42 consecutive months in two of five categories. BMH also earned special recognition in two categories — more than any other hospital in the state — for performing the highest number of infection-free abdominal hysterectomies and colon surgeries.

“For decades we thought zero harm was impossible, but every day we learn that if we align our efforts we can achieve it, and we’re committed to pursuing it relentlessly,” said BMH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kurt Gambla.

SCHA created the Zero Harm Awards program in 2013 to recognize hospitals that have taken great strides to improve quality of care and patient safety, specifically the elimination of bloodstream and post-surgery infections.

Ulmer pharmacy to hold ribbon cutting

The Greater Bluffton Chamber will celebrate the newest pharmacy in the Lowcountry, Ulmer Family Pharmacy and Wellness Center, with a ribbon cutting celebration at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27.

The pharmacy is at 68 Bluffton Road.

Cathy Ulmer, the pharmacist in charge, along with her staff, have over 20 years experience and have seen changes in pharmacy and expanding needs of the patients.

They offer services to our patients that are difficult to find. They carry hard to get medical supplies, offer 24-hour service to the hospice community, delivery services and healthcare courses. As part of their wellness side, Bonnie’s Kitchen Creations offers healthy meals that are prepared in-house. Their mission to reach out to the community and put your healthcare needs first.

For more information visit Ulmer Family Pharmacy and Wellness Center Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Ulmer-Family-Pharmacy-and-Wellness-Center or visit the Greater Bluffton Chamber’s website at www.blufftonchamberofcommerce.org.

The pharmacy can be reached at 843-473-4496

Funds being raised to fight breast cancer

In support of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fight to Fit Apparel Co. in Beaufort is raising money for cancer awareness and research.

It is selling various T-shirts that say “Fit to Fight.” Portions of the proceeds will be donated to the Relay for Life Event of Beaufort County that will take place on Oct. 28.

Visit www.fittofightapparel.com/blogs/news.

Say boo to the flu at Bluffton Jasper VIM

Halloween is right around the corner, and Bluffton-Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine is using this time to fight the flu.

“Say Boo to the Flu” will provide free flu shots to patients from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, at the Bluffton Clinic, located at 1 Burnt Church Road in Bluffton. Patients need to sign up by calling the clinic at 843-706-7090.

The Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine provides medical services free of to individuals who are without health insurance, live or work in Greater Bluffton or Jasper County and qualify based on income.

Bluffton Jasper VIM offering diabetes program

Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine (BJVIM) has been chosen to partner with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in a diabetes telemonitoring program.

The program has been piloted by MUSC in the Charleston area with great success, and BJVIM is one of the first free clinics chosen in the state to implement the program outside of this area.

The program will enable BJVIM to provide more effective diabetes management by helping patients achieve and maintain blood sugar and blood pressure goals, no matter where they live, whether they are housebound or have limited transportation. Because patients will be consistently monitored, there will be reduced risk of the development of complications from diabetes.

The telemonitoring program uses a device which is given to the patient and is plugged in to either their home phone line or Internet connection. The patient is asked to use the monitor on a daily basis to measure blood pressure and blood sugar. The readings are then automatically sent to a database, giving the patient’s care provider immediate results. It will also send a notification if any of the readings are out of the range set by the patient’s physician. Based on the readings from the device, an AAMC nurse will guide the patient in making appropriate medication adjustments and lifestyle
behavioral changes.

BJVIM will receive up to 500 monitors from MUSC that will be given to patients free of charge along with a 12-month supply of test strips. Patients must be at least 18 years of age, have an A1c of 8 or greater and be a current patient of Bluffton Jasper VIM.

Youth alliance hosting community forum

The Lowcountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) is hosting a Community Forum from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, at Bluffton High School.

There will be three guest speakers to address different aspects of youth in relation to alcohol and marijuana. The forum will also highlight some of the area’s local high school youth who will speak to how they feel the community can help them lead healthier lives.

The experts include:

  • Dr. Lindsay Squeglia, of MUSC, who will discuss the effects of alcohol and marijuana on teen brain development;
  • Dr. Wendy Bell, of the SC Law Enforcement Division, who will discuss medical marijuana myths;
  • Michelle Nienhius, of the SC Department of Alcohol & Drug Abuse, who will provide an overview of the South Carolina student drug survey.

“The purpose of this forum is to engage the public, but more importantly, to increase awareness our youth face regarding use and substance abuse. We want the public to know what they can do to provide a healthier environment for our teens. The youth are our future, so making sure they see a future, should be the primary focus of everyone living and working in this community,” said Wendy Cummings, president of the LCAHY executive board.

To learn more about LCAHY, visit www.lcahealthyyouth.com or contact Wendy Cummings at cummingsfam6@gmail.com.

Michels earns board Certification from CMPE

Mandy Michels, Lady’s Island Internal Medicine practice manager, has earned the professional designation of Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE).

She is the first Beaufort Memorial Physician Partners manager to achieve this prestigious certification.

To earn the credential from the American College of Medical Practice Executives, Michels had to pass rigorous essay and objective examinations that assess knowledge of the broad scope of group management principles and practices, from business operations and patient care systems to financial, human resources and risk and compliance management. In addition, she had to complete 50 hours of continuing education.

A graduate of Winthrop University with a degree in business administration, Michels started her career in human resources working for Pulte Homes in Sun City. She later served as director of corporate affairs for a company that provides insurance to attorneys.

In October 2013, she joined Beaufort Memorial Hospital as practice manager of Coastal Care MD. Last December, she took over management of the larger Lady’s Island Internal Medicine, a practice with three physicians and two physician assistants.

The American College of Medical Practice Executives is part of the Medical Group Management Association, the leading association for medical practice administrators and executives since 1926.

Retina specialist to speak at Sun City Hilton Head

Dr. Peter Liggett, a retina specialist on Hilton Head, will conduct an educational seminar, “What You Need to Know About Macular Degeneration,” at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the Colleton River Room at Sun City Hilton Head. This event is open to Sun City Hilton Head residents only.

RSVP by Nov. 10 at hhmr.org/suncity or by calling 843-415-3490.

Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. The macula controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail. As people age, their chances for developing eye diseases increase dramatically.

Liggett is a leader in the evaluation and treatment of macular and retinal diseases. Liggett has been a clinical professor of ophthalmology at Yale School of Medicine and Weill Cornell College of Medicine. He founded New England Retina Associates, which had six retina specialists and more than 10,000 patient visits per year. He has written more than 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited four major textbooks on diseases of the macula and retina. He is an examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, which certifies doctors to practice in ophthalmology.

For more information, call 843-422-9987 or visit www.hhmr.org.

Hearing loss, hearing aids and case for medical necessity

in Health by

By Monica Wiser

Just about every day, I have to break the news to my patients that their insurance company does not cover hearing aids.

They are deemed “medically unnecessary” by Medicare and many other insurers.

It is a slap in the face to the 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 90 percent of those cases cannot be treated with medication or simple surgery.

Insurance companies may believe that they are saving money by exempting hearing aids from coverage, but the cost of not treating hearing loss is far greater.

Untreated hearing loss has been linked to several health conditions that insurance companies do end up covering. The following medical conditions have been linked to untreated hearing loss.

Increased risk of dementia

John Hopkins University recently published a longitudinal study that revealed that people with hearing loss are up to five times as likely to develop dementia if the loss goes untreated.

Several other such studies have confirmed this finding (Brandeis University, University of Pennsylvania and Washington University in St. Louis).

There are several theories as to why this occurs: increased cognitive load,  social isolation and atrophy of the region of the brain that not only processes speech, but processes memory.

The cost to society to treat dementia is estimated to be up to $215 billion annually when the cost of home health care and assisted living are taken into account.

It is more costly to the nation than treating heart disease or cancer (RAND study).  The cost to the patient and their family members is far greater.

Increased risk of fall

People with untreated hearing loss are three times as likely to suffer from injury-causing falls. The average hospital cost for a fall injury is $35,000.  According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injury death for Americans 65 years and older. Non-fatal falls are estimated to cost $34 billion in direct medical costs.

Increased hospitalizations 

Hospitalizations increase by 32 percent. These hospitalizations are not only due to falls, but to lack of awareness of surroundings, leading to car accidents, workplace accidents and pedestrian accidents.

The cost of these hospitalizations cannot be accounted for due to the various conditions that may be diagnosed during hospitalization.

Depression, anxiety, stress

The economic burden of depression, including workplace costs, direct costs and suicide-related costs, was estimated to be $210.5 billion in 2010.

Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA.

Additionally, it is estimated that treating work-related stress alone costs $300 billion.  (University of Massachusetts Lowell.) Stress outside of the workplace was not calculated in this figure.

These health conditions are costing the nation well over $800 billion annually.

While hearing loss does not contribute to every case of dementia, falls, hospitalizations, depression, anxiety and stress, a significant portion of that figure can be reduced by treating hearing loss.

The real cost of not treating hearing loss, however, cannot be measured in cold, hard figures.

The cost to society of the unrealized potential of people with hearing loss is immeasurable.  It is time for the healthcare industry to reexamine the medical necessity for treating hearing loss with hearing aids.

Monica Wiser, M.A. CCC-A is an audiologist in private practice at Beaufort Audiology & Hearing Care on Lady’s Island. She has over 20 years of experience in the field and has worn hearing aids since childhood.

Health briefs for October 6th-12th

in Health by

Mack named fellow of healthcare executives

Megan Mack, an occupational therapist and manager of Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s HealthLink for Children, recently became a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the nation’s leading professional society for healthcare leaders.

She joins an elite group of healthcare professionals in achieving this premier credential in healthcare management. Only 9,100 healthcare executives in the country hold the distinction.

“Pursuit of Fellowship in ACHE is not a quick hop,” said Beaufort Memorial Senior Director Laurie Martin. “It is awarded only after years of dedicated learning, networking, community involvement and personal growth.”

Mack began working at BMH in 2003 as an occupational therapy clinical intern from Keuka College. She was hired by the hospital in 2004 after graduating from the Upstate New York school.

While working full time at the hospital, she earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from New England College. In 2008, she was named manager of HealthLink for Children, Beaufort Memorial’s outpatient pediatric rehab centers.

Throughout her 12 years at BMH, Mack has been actively involved in the Bluffton community where she lives. She completed Leadership Bluffton and has served as a governor for the program and is a past officer and active member of the Bluffton Rotary Club. She also participated in the South Carolina Hospital Association Management Academy.

Megan Mack
Megan Mack
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