VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

Meet the new dentist at CMH Family Dental Services

Abdallah A. S. Al-Oweidi, D.D.S., known as “Dr. A,” among his colleagues and patients, recently joined CMH Family Dental Services in South Hill.

Sometimes you can just tell when physicians really care about their patients. Dr. Abdallah A. S. Al-Oweidi, D.D.S., is one of those physicians. Known as “Dr. A.” among his colleagues and patients, Al-Oweidi comes to CMH Family Dental Services from private practice in Richmond.

Meet Dr. A. at our next virtual Community Out-Reach Education program on December 1, 2021, at noon via Zoom. Learn how to avoid gum disease, dentures and root canals. Visit vcuhealth.org/cmh-core for the link.

“I love to help people any way I can,” said Dr. A. “People feel more confident when they have a good smile. I want to be involved and have a positive impact on my patients’ overall health — not just their dental concerns.”

Dr. A. has several family members who are physicians, so dentistry was a natural career choice for him. He earned his doctor of dental surgery from the University of Jordan in Amman as well as VCU School of Dentistry. He completed an internship at the Ministry of Health in Amman and spent a month at an externship performing simple surgical extractions at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Dr. A. is an Invisalign-certified provider. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Virginia Dental Association and Richmond Dental Society. He is fluent in English and Arabic.

Dr. A. has an uncle who is an oncologist, and cancer has reared its ugly head in his family, so he took a year to study cancer biology and therapeutics in Boston and conduct stem cell research in Chicago. First-time patients will notice the in-depth health history he takes that covers the whole body, not just dental health.

“My education focused on comprehensive care for patients and took a holistic approach,” he explained. “As a dentist, I need to know if my patients have had chemo because other complications can occur.”

Dr. A. understands the financial burden patients face in this area. He wants to make sure patients don’t have to choose between medical bills and food. CMH Dental Services accepts Medicaid and families with no ability to pay who have been approved for CMH Financial Assistance. The practice is supported by a grant from the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

“I walk the extra mile to empower my patients to ensure they have the health knowledge, experience and education to live a comfortable life,” he said.

When Dr. A. is not working, he enjoys climbing, cycling and Crossfit. He enjoyed volunteering with Rotaract Clubs overseas, which are Rotary-affiliated organizations for students and young adults. There he served elderly and underprivileged communities with financial and food-related support.

Dr. A. is located in the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. Make an appointment today by calling (434) 584-5590 or visit VCU-CMH.org for more information.

Ladies of the Lake Cancer Support Team reaches $50,000 milestone

Organization supports cancer care

Sue Williams, Suzie Goertemiller, Teresa Collins, Sandy Burch, Fran Steiert

The Ladies of the Lake Cancer Support Team is a long-time supporter of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. They’ve been donating to the Cancer Care Fund for many years and most recently donated $1,000, bringing their lifetime donations to $50,000.

“The Ladies of the Lake have met the CMH Foundation’s Cornerstone Gold level,” Interim Director of Development Brenda Palmore said. “This is an amazing accomplishment. We are so grateful for their continued support.”

The Ladies of the Lake is a service organization that benefits cancer patients in the five counties surrounding Lake Gaston in Virginia and North Carolina.

One member, Suzie Goertemiller, has a sister in Utah undergoing cancer treatment. She understands how travel costs can add up for cancer patients. Because she can’t be there in Utah to help her sister, she donates money to help those like her sister who are dealing with the disease. Ladies of the Lake funding helps cover travel expenses for patients visiting the Hendrick Cancer Center or Solari Radiation Therapy Center for daily chemotherapy and/or radiation services.

The oncology team thoroughly evaluates each patient request to determine exactly what assistance is needed and decide if the Cancer Care Fund is an appropriate resource.

“Support for the Cancer Care Fund can give these patients monetary support, and also give them peace of mind, knowing that the inability to cover these costs will not stand in the way of their treatment,” Radiation and Medical Oncology Director Teresa Collins explained.

The Ladies of the Lake is gearing up for its Holiday Homes Tour, which returns this year on the first Saturday of December. Tickets will be available at the South Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Coping with the holidays drive thru event at CMH Community Hospice

Staff at CMH Community Hospice understand that losing a loved one is one of the most difficult events that may occur in your lifetime. Facing the holiday season without your loved one can reignite those feelings of loss. Join the CMH Community Hospice team to gain insight and coping skills when facing the holidays after a loss. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 10th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. CMH Community Hospice will be offering a drive through “Coping with the Holidays” event at The Leggett Center located at 300 E. Ferrell St. in South Hill, VA.

The event offers an opportunity to speak with Hospice staff trained in bereavement services from the safety of your vehicle. We will have educational handouts as well as tips and suggestions to help you get through the upcoming holiday season. Should you not be able to attend, and you wish to receive the materials or activities, we will gladly mail the items to the address you provide. If you would like to opt in for the mailing option, please contact Allison Mull, Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, at (434) 447-0838.
 
“We'd love to see you, even if there's a car door between us,” CMH Community Hospice Social Worker Allison Mull said.

Please RSVP your plans to attend the drive through event by November 1st to Allison Mull, BSW at (434) 447-0838.
 

Vulcan Materials donates pizza for front-line hospital workers on the night shift

Vice President of Professional Services Todd Howell, Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary T. Hardin and Chief Medical Officer Ikenna C. Ibe thank Vulcan Materials for showing such generosity to the night shift.

Despite reports of overall decreases in COVID cases statewide, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Hospitals are full, health care workers are exhausted, and people are still refusing to be vaccinated, causing unnecessary deaths. One local business hasn’t forgotten the need for morale boosting.

Vulcan Materials in South Hill recently had 17 pizzas delivered to front-line night shift workers at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.  

Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary T. Hardin, said, “Thank you – they were enjoyed by many!”

“It is a very small gesture for what you all are going through,” Brandy Clary with Vulcan Materials in South Hill said. “Thanks to everyone for the hard work and relentlessness through these very tough times.”

The three stages of COVID-19

Community Memorial Hospital respiratory therapist shares what she sees

Sandra Pearce, M.S., R.R.T., of Mecklenburg County, has been on the front lines of caring for adult patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. She’s been a respiratory therapist at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Va., for 35 years and was recently promoted to respiratory supervisor.

Pearce sees COVID-19 patients from the moment they arrive in the emergency department and throughout their hospital stay. Here, she describes the three stages of COVID-19 she witnesses everyday among her patients, depending on their ability to fight the virus. Please not that not everyone experiences these same symptoms.

Stage 1: Flu-like symptoms

Stage 1 is the early viral response. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

“Forty-seven percent of people are asymptomatic, which is a major problem for unknowingly spreading the disease,” Sandra said. “It can take anywhere from two to 14 days for symptoms to appear, which explains the need for quarantining after exposure.”

If you experience these symptoms, visit the Virginia Department of Health for a list of COVID-19 testing sites near you. Seek emergency medical care for difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to stay awake, and pale, gray or bluish-colored skin, lips or nail beds, depending on skin tone.  

Stage 2: Pneumonia/respiratory symptoms

Stage 2 is when the virus moves into your lungs and causes pneumonia. This is the critical stage where you must watch closely for trouble breathing, chest pain and confusion.

 “When you’re constantly coughing and can’t take deep breaths, your oxygen level can decrease,” Sandra said. “If the oxygen saturation in your blood is not at a satisfactory level, you will be admitted, and we’ll start treatment.”

Respiratory therapists work closely with hospitalists and pulmonologists to treat COVID-19 patients. They will try to increase your flow of oxygen first with non-invasive equipment similar to what some people use at home for sleep apnea. You can also perform breathing exercises and receive anti-virals, steroids and other medications deemed appropriate by your doctor.

“Our pulmonologists, Dr. Shivaram and Dr. Adarkwah, do everything they can to keep patients out of the ICU unless medically necessary,” Sandra said.

In addition to pneumonia and other severe respiratory problems, at this stage you might require emergency care for blood clots. If you can’t walk across the room without getting winded, seek emergency care immediately. The Emergency Department physician will order blood work and other tests to determine the proper treatment for your condition.

Stage 3: Organ failure

Stage 3 is when your lungs go into a hyperinflammatory response, which can lead to sepsis and organ failure.

“This is when we call your family because it may be the last time you’re able to talk to them,” Sandra explains.

If you require a ventilator, a long tube will be inserted into your trachea, in addition to multiple IVs and catheters. Pressure can build up in your lungs, requiring the insertion of a chest tube through your ribcage.

Sandra notes that at the beginning of the pandemic, CDC statistics showed that only one in 10 patients on ventilators survived. Of those who did, many required rehab and home oxygen.

“I’ve cried,” Sandra admitted. “It’s hard to watch when they are close to the end. So, when patients do recover and are discharged, it gives hospital staff a big boost of morale.”

Dealing with the stress

How does Sandra deal with the stress after 18 months of caring for COVID patients?

“I relish my days off,” Sandra said. “I enjoy relaxing at home, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.”

Sandra still orders her groceries for pickup and wears a mask in public indoors. With the positivity rate in the Southside Health District still at 11%, she’s not taking any chances.

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to wash your hands, stay 6 feet apart, wear a mask and get the vaccine.

“I recommend everyone, with few exceptions, get the vaccine,” Sandra said. “After seeing what I see every day, and the fact it can be prevented, I just wish people would understand.”

Since July 1, 51% of the patients admitted to VCU Health CMH with COVID have been less than 60 years of age. Of those who died from COVID since then, 38% were less than 60.

To find a vaccination location near you, visit www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233. You can also text your zip code to 438-829 for a list of vaccination sites near your home. Vaccination is free!

South Hill man gets life back after cardiac rehab. Twice.

Tim Kallam stands on his favorite piece of equipment, the treadmill, with VCU Health CMH cardiac rehab staff.

South Hill resident Tim Kallam was 49 years old when he had a massive heart attack. A few years later, he experienced a second artery blockage. Both times he completed cardiac rehabilitation at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) in South Hill. The therapy gave him the confidence to enjoy living his life. Here is Tim’s story.

In 2019, Tim was moving his daughter into her apartment in Roanoke. In the months prior he had experienced chest pain and a tingling sensation in his arm, but he had shrugged it off as being overweight and out of shape. After several trips to the apartment, he went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics resuscitated him, but he lost consciousness again on the way to the hospital.

The widow-maker

Tim was diagnosed as having a 100 percent blockage in his left anterior descending (LAD) artery. This type of heart attack is known as a widow-maker because only 6 percent of people survive an event like that. Doctors placed a stent in the artery, and Tim began his road to recovery.

Back in South Hill, Tim completed 36 sessions of cardiac rehab over three months, going three times a week. At first, he was afraid to do anything the least bit strenuous. Yet each week, his therapists pushed him to work harder. About midway through, Tim felt confident enough to do most anything he wanted.

“This was my testing ground, where I could safely work out under the supervision of the staff while my heart rate and blood pressure were monitored,” Tim explained. “The staff are enthusiastic and supportive. They have a genuine concern for my recovery.”

Not again!

In 2021, Tim again experienced chest pain and tingling in his arm — but this time he knew what it was and sought immediate medical attention. His cardiologist conducted a stress test and ordered imaging. It turned out a second artery was 99 percent blocked. He has collateral vessels that have opened on their own to keep the blood flowing. But back to cardiac rehab he went.

“We have a great facility at VCU Health CMH,” he said. “You don’t have to seek out rehab in a big city. The staff here is outstanding.”

Now Tim takes daily walks. He’s lost about 30 pounds and feels good.

“My wife and I enjoy the outdoors. I hunt rabbits and spend time on the farm with my dogs. We have a son who plays football at Hampden Sydney who is about to graduate from college. We have a daughter who is getting married in a year. I am motivated to stay healthy so I can experience being a grandfather someday.”

VCU Health Anywhere

Non-emergency care without an appointment

We offer on-demand virtual urgent clinic visits to adults in Virginia from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily. No appointment is required. All virtual visits with VCU Health System providers are conducted online from the comfort of your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer. To download our app and get started, visit vcuhealthanywhere.org.

We treat a variety of symptoms and conditions using telehealth, including mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19. Additional symptoms and conditions include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma 
  • Colds and Flu
  • Diarrhea
  • Infections
  • Insect Bites
  • Conjunctivitis (i.e. Pink Eye)
  • Rashes
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Skin Inflammations
  • Sore Throats
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Bladder Infections
  • UTIs
  • Vomiting

Virtual visits do not cost more than an in-person appointment visits. Depending on the health insurance coverage plan, a patient’s copay for in-person and virtual visits may be the same. We are committed to providing our patients access to affordable health care. Patients with more questions can visit our financial assistance page or call our Financial Counseling Call Center at (804) 828-0966.

Current employees of VCU Health should call Employee Health or Infection Prevention if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

How to Have a Successful Virtual Visit

You'll need a strong internet connection (or Wi-Fi) and a noise-free environment. Devices must have a working camera, speakers and a microphone. To optimize your virtual visit experience, please use one of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge.

Scheduled Virtual Visits

Appointments are required to speak with a VCU Health CMH specialist. To schedule a virtual visit, make an appointment by calling (434) 584-2273.

Please do not use the virtual urgent clinic to ask about COVID-19 vaccine booster appointments. View frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.

If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911.

Bladder out of control? We can help.

On Wednesday, October 13, from 1:00 - 1:30 p.m., Dr. Pearson will explore conditions, causes and symptoms of overactive bladder in a virtual community outreach education program.

Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a treatable condition. It is extremely common. One in six adults has OAB. It’s more common than vision problems and diabetes. But it’s not a normal part of aging. And you shouldn’t have to deal with it on your own.

On Wednesday, October 13, from 1:00 - 1:30 p.m., Dr. Pearson will explore conditions, causes and symptoms of OAB in a virtual community outreach education program. You will understand all your treatment options and learn which therapies Medicare and private insurers cover. Visit www.vcuhealth.org/cmh-core for the Zoom link. This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

John Pearson, M.D., earned his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He completed a surgical internship, surgical residency and urology residency at the University of California, San Francisco. He served in the United States Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. Dr. Pearson is board certified in urology with special interest in urogynecology. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and member of the American Urological Association.

“Patients with this condition may feel alone, anxious, and often adjust their social and professional lives to avoid embarrassment,” said Dr. Pearson. “Here’s the good news: Treatment options are available for people who are living with urinary and bowel incontinence. Lasting relief means fewer trips to the bathroom, fewer accidents each day, and more confidence doing the things you enjoy.”

Dr. Pearson is accepting new patients at CMH Urological Services located inside the C.A.R.E. Building at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. To view a full list of services, visit: VCU-CMH.org.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s August, 2021, Team Member of the Month

Christianna “Christy” Moseley-Glynn, Practice Ops Manager; Shirley Craft, Practice Administrator; Donna Overton, LPN; Scott Burnette, President.

You know that colleague who everyone relies on because they’ve been there the longest? The one who knows everyone, does everything and can fix anything? That person is Donna Overton, a nurse at CMH Occupational Health and Wellness. She started her nursing career at Community Memorial Hospital in the 1980s. She left to work for other private practices and long-term care and came back in 2004 to Clarksville Primary Care Center before transferring to CMH Occupational Health and Wellness in 2007.

Donna was awarded the August Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. She received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of September and a $40 gift card.

“For six months Donna took on multiple extra duties covering for people who were out on extended leave and training new hires,” explained Christy Moseley-Glynn. “She pitched in and assisted other departments with customer service support when needed.”

“She is a wealth of information which makes her a great mentor to our staff,” said Stacy Davis, NP.

Donna is always open and willing to learn new things. She’s looking forward to getting back out in the community to do blood pressure screenings once it is safe to do so again.

“It felt really good to be recognized for all the extra work I did,” Donna said. “It was a nice surprise.”

Donna lives in Chase City, is married with a grown daughter and enjoys taking their pontoon boat out on Buggs Island Lake. They also vacation in the Outer Banks. She has a dog and four cats, two inside and two outside.

Other nominees for June were Isaiah Jiggetts in the C.A.R.E. Building and Paula Spence in the Emergency Department.

Elective Surgery and Clinic Update

South Hill, VA (9/13/21) – Effective immediately, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is making changes to non-urgent, elective appointments to safely continue caring for patients during an increase in COVID-19 cases in our region. Urgent and emergency surgeries will continue on an as-needed basis.

To increase staffing in areas of high need, we are postponing most elective surgeries until further notice. We are currently contacting patients who are impacted. In addition, we are moving existing, routine face-to-face clinic appointments to telehealth visits by phone or video where appropriate. We are taking this step to increase our ability to care for those with emergency medical needs.

For questions related to an upcoming appointment, or to schedule a telehealth appointment, established patients can call their VCU Health CMH provider at (434) 584-2273. Telehealth appointments may require copayments and will be billed accordingly.

We are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in our area, and will adapt our flexible surge plans, which have served us well throughout the pandemic, as needed. This time is no different. These plans are in place to aid in our ability to provide the safest, highest-quality care to all our patients.

“We want our patients to continue to have access to safe, high-quality health care,” said Ikenna Ibe, M.D., who serves as vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at VCU Health CMH. “Telehealth provides a safe, convenient option to care for our patients from the comfort of their own home.”

Once a telehealth appointment has been scheduled, patients will receive a link via email which logs them in and connects them to their health care provider. This type of appointment requires the patient to use a device with internet or data connectivity and a camera. That can include any smartphone, tablet, and most laptop computers.

Our adult on-demand urgent clinic is available without an appointment from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., daily. To sign up and start a visit, simply download the VCU Health Anywhere app.

Safety remains our top priority, which currently includes visitor limitations to reduce the number of people in our environment. Inpatients are allowed one visitor per patient per day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. All visitors entering the hospital and C.A.R.E. Building will be screened for signs and symptoms related to COVID-19.

Please continue to practice social distancing by maintaining at least six feet of distance between people, washing hands often and wearing masks. The most effective tool to combat COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Welcomes New Pulmonologist

South Hill, VA (9/3/21) – With COVID-19, lung cancer and other lung conditions prevalent in the Southside Health District, a second pulmonologist to CMH Pulmonology Services in South Hill is a welcome addition.

Obed Adarkwah, MD, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Medicine. He earned his Doctor of Medicine at the Medical University of The Americas in Nevis, West Indies. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, and a fellowship in Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine at The Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Dr. Adarkwah is a self-proclaimed people person.

“While I was earning my master’s in molecular biology with a focus on cancer genetics, I had planned on pursuing a Ph.D.,” he said. “I soon realized I wanted to be able to talk to patients, and I enjoy being around people more than conducting research. Studying cancer genetics proved to be a good link to pulmonary studies later. You have to understand biochemistry and how these medicines work.”

“Toward the end of my critical care studies I realized I wanted to have more of an impact on my patients’ health by treating them earlier before they got so sick,” Dr. Adarkwah explained. Critical care is exciting and fast-paced, but you don’t get the chance to get to know your patients. I really enjoy the challenge of pulmonary medicine. You have to understand radiology and physiology, all the nuances and patterns, to be an effective pulmonologist.”

He has a lofty goal for this community.

“I want my patients to accept me as family,” he said. “If I listen to them, do the legwork to figure out their problems and earn their trust, they’ll be more likely to get involved in their health choices and ultimately improve.”

He is a big proponent of empowering his patients to ask questions and become invested in their own health. In turn, he always explains why he is doing something, so they are more inclined to adhere to his recommendations.

“I love the patients that ask lots of questions,” he said. “They keep you on your toes and ensure we’re both on the same page.”

When he’s not working, Dr. Adarkwah enjoys spending time with his wife of ten years and his dog, Rusty. Most of his family lives in Canada, but he has a relative in South Carolina. He understands the importance of needing to recharge so his favorite pastime is sleeping. Like many of us, it is difficult to find time to exercise but having a rambunctious dog keeps him active. He enjoys cooking and harmonizing flavors. His specialty is lasagna made with feta cheese and sausage.

To make an appointment with CMH Pulmonary Services, call (434) 584-2273. The practice is in the C.A.R.E. Building next to VCU Health CMH at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill, Virginia.

Stroke Camp Offers Survivors and Caregivers a Retreat Weekend

Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp volunteers are ready for the next camp coming up September 17-19, 2021, at the Airfield Conference Center in Wakefield, Virginia.

South Hill, VA (9/2/21) – Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp is coming up September 17-19, 2021, at the Airfield Conference Center in Wakefield, Virginia.

Stroke camp was started by Marylee Nunley and her husband, John. He suffered a stroke at 55 and could no longer engage in his community like he used to. They developed this camp to re-engage in a new community and develop new relationships. He was able to enjoy his new “normal”.

Since the camp began in 2004 there have been more than 160 camps across the country. There have been three Stroke Camps in Virginia, all sponsored by VCU Health.

“This is a great opportunity and resource for those affected by stroke,” said Stroke Program Coordinator Lisa Smith at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.

The mission of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp is to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors, caregivers, and their families. Activities include campfires, hiking, golf cart rides, paddle boating, singing, dancing, music therapy, pampering, karaoke and breakout support groups.

Quotes from past campers:

“Although our stories were different, there was an unspoken bond felt between survivors and caregivers alike.”

“He (stroke survivor) seemed more at ease. I think for him to see the other survivors and to hear their daily struggles and triumphs and challenges helped him realize how well he is doing. It gave him hope and resilience to keep working hard.”

The cost is $150 per person. Visit www.strokecamp.org for more information, email info@strokecamp.org or call 309.688.5450.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Visitation Update South Hill, VA (9/1/21) – Due to the increasing incidents of COVID cases in the region, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will adopt revised visiting policies as of 8:00 a.

South Hill, VA (9/1/21) – Due to the increasing incidents of COVID cases in the region, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will adopt revised visiting policies as of 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. Adult patients are limited to one adult visitor per day. Pediatric patients are still able to have two adult visitors.

General Visitation Rules

• All visitors must be screened and provided a visitor badge or armband.
• All visitors must be always masked.
• Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
• The second-floor lobby waiting area is reserved for outpatient surgical patients and their visitor/support person only, all other visitors will be asked to return to their car.
• All visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
• If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors may be redirected to waiting areas.

Inpatients

• Visiting Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
• One visitor (18 or older) per day per patient for all non-COVID patients. COVID-positive patients are still not allowed to have visitors, unless they are pediatric patients.
• Labor and Delivery unit: 1 adult visitor (18 or older) and 1 doula per day, allowing 1 to spend the night.
• Pediatric patients in all units: 2 adults (18 or older) visitor per day, allowing 1 to spend the night. Parent/POA/guardian may trade off. COVID-positive pediatric patients may have 1 parent or caregiver at a time.
• Patients who are at the end of life: The number of visitors is determined by the patient’s care team.
• Special needs patients that require 24/7 assistance may have a caretaker stay with them if in the best interest of patient care.
To reach a patient, please dial (434) 584-****, followed by the four digits of the patient's room number.

Outpatients and C.A.R.E. Building Appointments

  • • Surgery patients may be accompanied by one adult companion
  • • Patients arriving for doctor’s appointments, evaluation, or diagnostic or therapeutic procedures may be accompanied by one adult companion
  • • Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.

Emergency Department Patients

Visitation is currently suspended except for the following circumstances:

• Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.
• Patients who are at the end of life or critical condition: The number of visitors are determined by the patients’ care team.
• Exceptions to the visitation rules for specific incidents will be in accordance with ED policy or permission from the Administrative Representative.

Hundley Center

• Two visitors are allowed at a time for 15 minutes, and it must be scheduled in advance. Please call (434) 584-4570 or (434) 584-4579 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to schedule a visit for 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It is very important that all visitors maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.  The health and safety of all patients and staff will continue to be of the utmost importance through this pandemic. Your best defense is to make sure you and your family are vaccinated. Look for further updates as VCU Health CMH continues to make progress in the fight against COVID.

Ladies of the Lake Donate to CMH Foundation Cancer Care Fund

South Hill, VA (8/27/21) – The Ladies of the Lake Cancer Support team assists men, women and children who have cancer and live around the five counties of Lake Gaston. They raise money at annual fundraisers to include a holiday homes tour, yard sale, and cookbook sales. They also host monthly Bunko games. They recently donated $2,500 to the Community Memorial Hospital Foundation Cancer Care Fund.

“There are just 19 of us and we are very proud that every cent we make from everything goes to help all of these people in need,” said Susan Williams, of Ladies of the Lake. “We had to host the Holiday Home Tour virtually last year. Even doing that we made more money than the previous year!” 

“The Ladies of the Lake Cancer Support team has donated $49,000 through the years,” said Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development at VCU Health CMH. “That is a tremendous level of giving from a small volunteer group and we are so thankful for their generosity.”

“Many patients may lose their insurance or face other financial issues like being unable to work, which makes nausea and pain medications very difficult to afford,” explained Teresa Collins, Director of the Radiation and Medical Oncology Department at VCU Health CMH.

The VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund was started by the CMH Foundation and generous donors to help patients in our community who are dealing with cancer.

As patients visit the Hendrick Cancer Center or Solari Radiation Therapy Center daily for chemotherapy and/or radiation services the distance a patient travels can become costly; this fund has been used to assist with these travel expenses.

Each case is thoroughly evaluated by the cancer care team, to determine exactly what assistance is needed, and if the Cancer Patient Care Fund is an appropriate resource.

Support for the Cancer Care Fund can give these patients a hand, and also give them peace of mind, knowing that the inability to cover these costs will not stand in the way of their treatment.

When a need is identified, patients are carefully screened by the oncology social worker and Director of Oncology to determine need and to assure that these funds are used in the way donors intended.  The oncology social worker does extensive research to identify grants or other resources which may be available for the patient on top of looking at the Cancer Care Fund. 

If you are interested in donating to the VCU Health CMH Cancer Care Fund you can call (434) 447-0857 or visit vcu-cmh.org.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Cardiac Rehab Program Recertified by Industry Leader

South Hill, VA (8/26/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) is proud to announce the recertification of its cardiovascular rehabilitation program by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). This certification is recognition of VCU Health CMH’s commitment to improving the quality of life of patients by enhancing standards of care.

“This recertification shows our commitment to quality and ensures our patients get the best care,” said Todd Howell, VP of Professional Services.

Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with cardiovascular problems (e.g., heart attacks, coronary artery bypass graft surgery) and pulmonary problems (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], respiratory symptoms) recover faster and live healthier.  Both programs include exercise, education, counseling and support for patients and their families.

“Cardiac rehab is important after a heart attack or other heart problems,” said Dr. Bethany Denlinger, Medical Director of Cardiac Rehab. “Rehab will help you get active again in a safe environment. It is not only exercise but education, which can prevent another cardiac event.  My cardiac rehab patients do better long term, and I'm proud of the work of our cardiac rehab staff.”

To earn accreditation, VCU Health CMH’s cardiovascular rehabilitation team participated in an application process that required extensive documentation of the program’s practices. AACVPR Program Certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other related professional societies. Each program’s application is reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee, and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

In 2018, AACVPR moved to an outcomes-based process with performance measurements that represent more meaningful outcomes. Therefore, AACVPR-certified programs are leaders in the cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation field because they offer the most advanced practices available and have proven track records of high- quality patient care. AACVPR Program Certification is valid for three years.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Workers Awarded Scholarships

Front Left to Right: Willis Woodall, Dorothy Minter-Saunders, Angie Tanner, Jennifer Weston, Darleen Ferguson. Back Left to Right: Tyanna Jones, Scott Burnette, Nancy Bradshaw and Tamara Starke.

South Hill, VA (8/20/21) – Twice a year, Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) Auxiliary awards hospital employees with a $500 scholarship toward furthering their education through the Tree of Love - Elizabeth T. Moseley Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship is funded by community donations made to the “Tree of Love” in memory of, in honor of, or a military salute to a loved one. Recipients must meet certain criteria, like be employed by VCU Health CMH for at least a year, provide a letter of recommendation from their department director, maintain a 3.0 GPA or greater, and write a 100-word essay on how the scholarship would enhance their lives. The degree or certification pursued must enhance the employee’s capabilities in a position at the hospital.

This year the Auxiliary was able to award four winners due to not having any last year during the pandemic. Winners are: Tyanna Jones, of Brodnax; Tamara Starke, of Emporia; Angie Tanner, of La Crosse; and Jennifer Weston, of South Hill.

Tyanna Jones is a patient access representative pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health Service Administration from Old Dominion University. She said in her essay, “My goal is to work in Public Health concentrating on maternal and infant health. With this scholarship and the need-based grants I have been awarded, I can complete my education and continue to solve problems and increase healthcare within my community.”

Tamara Starke is a certified pharmacy tech earning her associate degree in Nursing from Southside Virginia Community College. She plans to go all the way through to a master’s degree. She said, “This scholarship gives me the opportunity to not only fulfill my dreams but hopefully keep the community healthy. I appreciate the opportunity to accomplish this goal and make it my duty to always advocate for the patients in my community.”

Angie Tanner is a clinical quality analyst obtaining her bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from Capella University, Inc. A 20-year veteran of VCU Health CMH, she has held off on her own education to put her two daughters through school and now it is her turn. She explained, “Being the recipient of this scholarship would enhance my life by easing some of the financial burden placed on my family for this tremendous opportunity to learn, grow and enrich my future.”

Jennifer Weston is a cardiac monitor tech also getting her associate degree in Nursing from Southside Virginia Community College. At the age of 20, she had a kidney transplant. “I didn’t know anything about the medical field, but I got exposed to all types of health care professionals and decided that’s where I wanted to be,” explained Jennifer. “I worked as a pharmacy tech for 15 years and decided to switch to the broader field of nursing, where I can move up and choose my own specializations.”

VCU Health CMH is proud of their employees who are pursuing additional education to benefit their career path and improve patient care.

VCU Health CMH Partners with American Red Cross to Host Community Blood Drive

South Hill, VA (8/23/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will host a community blood drive with the American Red Cross on Friday, August 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the C.A.R.E. Building, located next to the hospital at 1755 N. Mecklenburg Avenue in South Hill. The drive will be in Education Rooms 1114 and 1116.

For more information or to make an appointment to donate, call (800) 733-2767 or sign up online at redcrossblood.org with sponsor code VCUHEALTH. Please note you will need to wear a mask and check in as a visitor to the C.A.R.E. Building with a temperature screening and wristband in order to gain entrance to the blood drive.

VCU Health CMH is committed to strengthening our community and helping meet hospital and patient needs through blood donations,” said Christina Duke, Director of Laboratory Services. “This blood drive is our way of giving staff, colleagues and neighbors an opportunity to help save lives.”

Blood is a perishable product that can only come from volunteer blood donors. With someone in the U.S. needing blood every two seconds, blood products must be constantly replenished, according to the Red Cross.

“We urge community members to donate blood and help ensure that patients in local hospitals have a supply of blood ready and waiting before an emergency occurs,” Christina added. “There’s no better feeling than knowing that your blood donation may give someone a second chance at life.”

According to the Red Cross, donors with all blood types are needed, especially those with types O negative, A negative and B negative.

Why You Don’t Want COVID

South Hill, VA (8/19/21) – With Governor Northam’s latest announcement requiring state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a lot of people are faced with making a difficult decision. To those state employees who have had COVID, it makes sense to them.

“I have so many continuing issues that I decided in July to retire because I did not feel capable of doing my job any longer.” - Ken Kurz, VCU Health CMH Director of Marketing and Development

I had a severe case of COVID-19 in December of 2020. It was so bad that I thought I was going to die, and there were a few days when I felt like dying would be better than fighting COVID any longer.

I was in bed for 21 days and just getting out of bed to use the restroom required a nap before and after. I had 13 straight days of a fever above 101, while on Tylenol, and nine of those days my fever was above 102. My highest recorded temperature during this time was 103.6 and I was fully dosed on Tylenol. I was never admitted to the hospital, but I did spend an evening in the emergency department, and I believe that saved my life. I was severely dehydrated; my pulse oxygen level was 90 and I told my wife good-bye when she dropped me off because I knew if I didn’t get better, I was going to die. I fully anticipated being admitted to the hospital and if the COVID continued at the rate it was progressing I knew it would kill me.

In other words, I was truly very ill. I had a cough that turned me purple, made me nearly pass out multiple times a day, left me so dizzy I had to lie down and made it difficult to breathe. The cough was worse than any bronchitis I ever had. I lost my sense of taste and smell, lost all desire to eat and was not sure for most of those 21 days if I was going to live through it.

I was not a fan of the vaccine and was pretty sure I was not going to take it when it became available prior to having COVID. But I listened to infectious disease doctors from VCU Health explain the science behind the vaccine’s creation and if there were issues with the vaccine, they would be made apparent quickly. I decided to get the vaccine because I DID NOT WANT COVID AGAIN!

I am now nine months post-COVID and I have significant lingering issues that can only be attributed to COVID.

I had the brain fog people talk about and now, nine months later, I still feel I am significantly impacted mentally from COVID. My memory is really bad – especially my short-term memory. I am still tired EVERY DAY. I get winded walking up a single flight of steps. I have crazy issues with my blood pressure. Pre-COVID my blood pressure was typically 110/70 unless I was doing something that required a lot of exertion.

Now my blood pressure is between 180/110 to 130/99 and I have had crazy spikes as high at 200/150 and drops to as low as 90/60. My heart rate used to be 60-70 and now it is typically 90-100 when at rest. I have had every test known to man, trying to figure out what is wrong with me. In the past six months I’ve had an MRI, MRA, CT Scan, Stress Test, Vascular studies, countless blood tests and every test has come back showing no issues, yet I still have a lot of issues. I wore a heart monitor for 30 days and despite having strange feelings that I was able to record during those 30 days, the monitor showed no issues. My heart would feel like it was racing sometimes and other times I would have pain in my chest. And I haven’t mentioned that in February I went temporarily blind for about 20 minutes that doctors believe was related to a stroke. Again, I attributed that to COVID and doctors did not disagree.

I have so many continuing issues that I decided in July to retire because I did not feel capable of doing my job any longer. I have irrational anger issues; I’ve had mood swings that have taken me to very dark places. I feel poorly most days, and nothing seems to be improving. I have night sweats and chills on a regular basis. All of this is new since COVID.

What I have gone through and continue to go through is not unique to me. In conversations I’ve had with people I know across the country, almost everyone who had a severe case of COVID and lived has similar issues. Even those who did not have serious COVID cases have issues.  My wife had what I would consider a mild case of COVID and she has taste and smell issues nine months post COVID and just doesn’t feel well most of the time.

If you are on the fence about the vaccine, I would ask you to seriously consider getting the vaccine to avoid dealing with issues like I and many others have.

COVID can kill you. And if it doesn’t kill you, it can still change your life dramatically.

“Although I only suffered 2-3 days with concerning COVID issues, I am still dealing with the aftermath 10 months later, and who knows how much longer.” - Brenda Palmore, DHA, VCU Health CMH Vice President of Practice Management and Business Development

In October 2020, I tested positive for COVID.  I was around a close friend, who was exposed from a co-worker and was unaware. The day she told me she tested positive, I felt perfectly fine. I was immediately tested and quarantined while waiting for the results. All I could think about were the people I could have potentially exposed. My husband; our 10-year-old daughter; my father, who suffers from COPD and is on oxygen 24/7; my mother, a cancer survivor who’s missing a portion of her lung from lung cancer; my aunt, age 74, who suffers from dementia; my co-workers at VCU Health CMH; my husband’s co-workers; my daughter’s classmates and teachers. My mind was racing thinking of the trail this could potentially leave and the havoc that it could cause with so many people. What if someone on that trail contracted it because of me and died? I tried to stop stressing and prayed that I was not exposed. The next day I received the dreaded call that I was positive around 8:30 a.m.

I was so emotional. I started calling everyone that I was around to inform them of the results. My daughter was so worried about what would happen to me, as we were constantly watching the news and hearing what this virus could do, so she was hearing the worst. I could hear the fear in my mom’s voice for me and for them as I told her the news.    

The next day, I could barely get off the couch. I did not want anything to eat or drink. I remember going from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 noon the next day without going to the bathroom because I did not have the energy to get up. 

By 5:00 p.m. I had chills and I could not get warm. By 8:00 p.m. I was on fire and my blood pressure was around 150/90.  All night I went from having chills and shaking all over to burning up and feeling miserable. My blood pressure reached a high of 170/110. I had the worst headache ever and nothing would dull the pain. This continued into the next day. 

By day three, I seemed to level out with blood pressure and body temp, but the headache continued. I had no sense of taste or smell, and the fatigue was horrible. By this point, my husband tested positive, and our 10-year-old daughter had to take care of herself. She was so worried about us and could not come anywhere near us. We shared texts and face timed each other in the same house.   

When I was finally cleared and could return to my normal routine, I was so excited. However, I had no idea of the issues that were waiting just around the corner. I had to push myself to get up and get ready each day. All I wanted to do was crash on the couch. The brain fog was real. Walking from the parking lot to my office became a difficult task. I was short of breath halfway there. I definitely could not talk to anyone while walking. I remember being on a Zoom call one morning and I had to excuse myself to catch my breath. My heart began beating in a weird way and I was lightheaded on several occasions. My PCP referred me to Cardiology for a full work up including a heart echo. My heart function was fine. They explained that some people experienced these issues after COVID and were called “long haulers,” meaning the issues lingered after COVID – but no one knew how long this could continue. Every day after work, I crashed on the couch for about 2 hours. 

In April, I started with several other issues – blurred vision in my left eye, pain in my arms and legs, balance issues/dizziness, continued fatigue, shaking in my hands, extreme sensitivity to heat, sleep issues, and bowel issues. I put it off and tried to ignore it. I returned to my PCP in July convinced that I would be diagnosed with MS. After lab work and an MRI I was informed that everything was normal and they were unsure of the causes of the symptoms. 

My next stop is the Ophthalmologist…

Although I only suffered 2-3 days with concerning COVID issues, I am still dealing with the aftermath 10 months later, and who knows how much longer.

Vaccine Availability

Luckily, vaccines are readily available at retail locations near you. To find available options, visit www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233. You can also text your zip code to 438-829 and you’ll immediately get a text message that lists vaccination sites near your home. Vaccination is free!

New Psychiatrist Joins VCU Health CMH Behavioral Health Services in South Hill

South Hill, VA (8/16/21) – With the recent moratorium on new admissions in Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals due to staffing shortages, the need for mental health treatment is now more important than ever. While outpatient services won’t directly relieve this burden, it can help patients seeking care prevent those emergent situations that require inpatient hospitalization.

Enter Alvin Scott Parker, IV, MD, the new psychiatrist at VCU Health CMH Behavioral Health Services, located at 140 East Ferrell Street, in South Hill. Dr. Parker joins Dr. Anees in an already busy practice that just opened in March with dozens of patients scheduled for him to treat. Dr. Anees will continue to see children, adolescents and adults, while Dr. Parker will focus on adults only.

Dr. Parker earned his medical degree from American University of Integrated Sciences in St. Michael, Barbados, where he graduated with honors. He completed a psychiatry residency at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association. 

“I am fascinated by how the mind works,” explained Dr. Parker. “I love studying the brain and how it functions. If I can make practical applications and help improve lives, then we’ll be much better off.”

Dr. Parker takes a holistic approach to patient care and customizes his treatment plans to his patients’ individual needs.

“I treat the individual more than the problem,” he said. “Mental health issues stem from lots of things: stressors, interpersonal relationships, finance, marriage, employment, genetics. If I can help someone identify who or what is contributing to the problem, we can make it better.”

Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina have a reputation for being underserved and there is a great demand for mental health care. Dr. Parker hopes to help everyone out by making a difference in each life he touches.

A resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, children and pet Australian Shepherd. He has a daughter at East Carolina University and a son starting the sixth grade. He likes working out, hiking and playing chess.

To make an appointment at VCU Health CMH Behavioral Health Services, call (434) 584-5400.

Extraordinary Nurse Recognized at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary Hardin, MSN, RN, OCN, NE-BC, and Stephanie Dorman, RN.

8/6/21 (South Hill, VA) – A nurse at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) was recently honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses ®. The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day. 

The DAISY Award was given to Stephanie Dorman, RN, of South Hill, for exemplary care of a patient in the Emergency Room. The patient stated in the nomination, “Stephanie Dorman’s fortitude and willingness was amazing and a true blessing to me. I was the fortunate person that night to be on the receiving end of her stellar performance as a nurse. There is no question she goes way beyond the call of duty to help her patients.”

“Stephanie Dorman exemplifies nursing at its best,” said ER Nurse Manager Tammy Mull, BSN, RN, CEN. “She is compassionate to patients, families and her co-workers. We are proud she is part of the VCU Health CMH team!”

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family.  Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.)  The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Nurses may be nominated by patients or families.  The award recipient is chosen by a committee at VCU Health CMH to receive The DAISY Award. Awards are presented throughout the year at celebrations attended by the Honoree’s colleagues, patients, and visitors.  Each Honoree receives a certificate commending her or him as an "Extraordinary Nurse."  The certificate reads: "In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people."  Honorees also receive a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called A Healer’s Touch, hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation said, "When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human, extraordinary, compassionate work they do.  The kind of work the nurses at VCU Health CMH are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

Vice President of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer Mary Hardin, MSN, RN, OCN, NE-BC, said, “We are proud to be among the health care organizations participating in The DAISY Award program as it is a prestigious award for nursing.  Nurses are true HEROES every day.  It’s important that our nurses know their work is highly valued, and The DAISY Foundation provides a way for us to do that.”                       

In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in more than 3,900 health care facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct care Nurses, Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects and for nurses participating in medical missions. More information is available at http://DAISYfoundation.org

COVID-19 Vaccination Required of VCU Health System Employees

South Hill, VA (8/9/21) –  Faced with mounting evidence of the threat posed by the COVID-19 Delta variant, and reviewing feedback from thousands of team members, we have decided to require COVID-19 vaccination for all VCU Health System team members and contractors, with few exceptions. The decision aligns our university and its health system with Governor Northam’s decision to require state employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is also consistent with the recent actions of other academic health systems nationwide, and a growing number of health care systems in the Commonwealth.

Requiring the vaccine will protect our patients, many of whom are elderly or have health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Everyone in our health care system has an ethical duty to do everything possible to keep them safe, including getting vaccinated. Although we’ll continue to wear masks and take other measures to prevent spreading COVID-19 to our patients, the Delta variant requires us to do more.

It also ensures the safety and the welfare of our team members and their families. Getting vaccinated will sharply reduce their risk of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, and it will nearly eliminate their risk of getting severely ill or dying from the disease.

Now is the time to pivot from urging vaccination to requiring it. This is due to the sudden emergence of the Delta variant, which is more dangerous than prior strains that killed more than 600,000 Americans and millions of people worldwide. Delta is not only more contagious; it may cause more severe disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared that “The war has changed.” We agree.

In Virginia, predictive models indicate that if we don’t act quickly we could find ourselves back in the dark days of January and February 2021. That’s not something we want to go through again.

While we don’t want to lose a single team member over policy, but we must keep our facilities, staff, patients and guests safe from the growing threat of the Delta virus and other variants. Vaccination is the most effective way to do it.

Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences
CEO of VCU Health System

 

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Visitation Update

South Hill, VA (8/9/21) – Two recent changes to visitation at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) include allowing an additional adult visitor for pediatric patients and opening visitation by advanced scheduling back up at The Hundley Center. 

General Visitation Rules

  • • All visitors must be screened and provided a visitor badge or armband.
  • • All visitors must be always masked.
  • • Visitors must comply with physical distancing guidelines in all common areas.
  • • The second-floor lobby waiting area is reserved for outpatient surgical patients and their support person only, all other visitors will be asked to return to their car.
  • • All visitors will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility and frequently during their stay.
  • • If patient clinical needs dictate no visitors (i.e. chemotherapy), visitors may be redirected to waiting areas.

Inpatients

• Visiting Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
• One visitor (18 or older) allowed at a time per patient for all non-COVID patients. COVID-positive patients are still not allowed to have visitors, unless they are pediatric patients.
• Labor and Delivery unit: 1 adult visitor (18 or older) at a time, allowing 1 to spend the night.
• Pediatric patients in all units: 2 adults (18 or older) visitor at a time, allowing 1 to spend the night. Parent/POA/guardian may trade off. COVID-positive pediatric patients may have 1 parent or caregiver at a time.
• Patients who are at the end of life: The number of visitors is determined by the patient’s care team.
• Special needs patients that require 24/7 assistance may have a caretaker stay with them if in the best interest of patient care.
To reach a patient, please dial (434) 584-****, followed by the four digits of the patient's room number.

Outpatients and C.A.R.E. Building Appointments

• Surgery patients may be accompanied by one adult companion.
• Patients arriving for doctor’s appointments, evaluation, or diagnostic or therapeutic procedures may be accompanied by one adult companion.

Emergency Department Patients

Visitation is currently suspended except for the following circumstances:

  • Pediatric patients: Up to 2 parents and/or legal guardians.
  • Patients who are at the end of life or critical condition: The number of visitors are determined by the patients’ care team.

Hundley Center

  • Two visitors are allowed at a time for 30 minutes, and it must be scheduled in advance. Please call (434) 584-4570 or (434) 584-4579 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to schedule a visit for 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It is very important that all visitors maintain appropriate physical distancing in all waiting areas.  The health and safety of all patients and staff will continue to be of the utmost importance through this pandemic. Your best defense is to make sure you and your family are vaccinated. Look for further updates as VCU Health CMH continues to make progress in the fight against COVID.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Names New Nurse Manager of Acute Care and ICU

South Hill, VA (7/22/21) – David Matthews, MSN, RN, AMSN, CC, is the new Nurse Manager of Acute Care and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH). He began his nursing career there while serving in the Army National Guard 25 years ago. David has more than 10 years of nursing leadership experience and clinical experience in multiple specialties including Medical-Surgical, Telemetry, ICU, Ambulatory Surgical Services, and Physician Practices. He has a Master of Science in Nursing specializing in Executive Leadership and he is board certified in Medical-Surgical Nursing.

Currently, David is an RN Clinical Coordinator in the C.A.R.E. Building. He splits supervision of all VCU Health CMH clinics with another coordinator. He facilitates a committee that focuses on keeping heart and stroke patients well with the goal of reducing readmissions. He continues to educate himself at every opportunity, most recently taking a course in wound, ostomy and continence care.

“My advice for nurses is to always look for opportunities to learn something,” he said. “Learning should be a lifelong adventure. Always look for ways to improve your communication skills and techniques.”

David is looking forward to the new management position and making an impact on patient improvement scores.

“I’m a big believer in patient satisfaction, safety of our patients and staff, quality assurance, and exceeding benchmarks,” he explained. “There is nothing better than seeing the sickest of patients get better right in front of your eyes and return home.”

The transition will be a challenge and he’ll need time to get to know everyone. He’ll start by learning the day-to-day operations and patient flow in the ICU and the Medical Surgical floors at VCU Health CMH.

“Nurses are known for taking great care of others but don’t take care of themselves,” David said. “I try to manage stress by taking a walk every day after lunch.”

“We are excited to have David returning to the inpatient setting as the Nurse Manager of Acute Care and ICU,” said Janet Kaiser, Senior Director of Patient Care Services. “His extensive nursing and leadership experience, along with his passion for high quality patient care will be beneficial in driving our success towards improved patient outcomes in our community.”

A native of Brunswick County, David currently resides in Bracey. He is married to an RN at Massey Cancer Center. They have a 16-year-old daughter, a dog and a cat. He enjoys cruising (when not in a pandemic), landscaping and gardening. He is an avid fisherman and has a boat he likes to take out on Kerr Lake.

VCU Health CMH Employees Take Advantage of Education Assistance Program

South Hill, VA (7/15/21) – In mid-summer, the last thing you want to think about is school! But for some employees at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) college is front of mind. Some are just starting out to further their education, some are taking graduate-level courses and some have just graduated.

One of the big benefits of being employed at a teaching hospital is the emphasis on life-long learning. Part-time or full-time VCU Health employees with benefits who have been employed for at least one year and are maintaining a grade of C or better for undergraduate courses, and B or higher for graduate level courses, are eligible for tuition assistance. They may receive between $3,750-$15,000, depending on the degree and status, and may choose from 200 colleges and universities. Dependent children under age 23 get 6-12 credits per year at VCU depending on part-time or full-time parental status.

In 2010, The Institute of Medicine issued “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” recommending the nursing profession increase the number of nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to 80 percent. VCU Health CMH nurses are currently at 47 percent working toward this goal.

Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary Hardin, MSN, RN, OCN, NE-BC, said, “We are very proud of the number of nurses advancing their careers, putting our patients first with the most up-to-date information available.”

Fifty-six active VCU Health CMH employees in fiscal year 2021 took advantage of education assistance. They are pursuing the following degrees:

  • Associate: 6
  • Bachelors: 32
  • Masters: 13
  • Doctor: 4
  • Grad Certificate: 1
 
In the past five years, 123 team members furthered their education through this program.
 
VCU Health CMH Employee 2021 Graduates:
  • Sarah Fox, Laboratory: Master’s Degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Healthcare Administration from University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Sheree Smith, CMHP Admin: Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Liberty University
  • Gabriel Restrepo, Anesthesia: Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Theresa Griles, Education: Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing Education from Chamberlain University
  • Amy Harrup, Obstetrics: Master’s Degree in Nursing with focus of Family Nurse Practitioner from Simmons University
  • Kathryn Spence, Acute Care: Master’s Degree in Nursing Administration from Liberty University
  • Elizabeth Bowlin, Emergency Department: Master’s Degree in Nursing Practice from Chamberlain University
  • Stephanie Dorman, Emergency Department: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Chamberlain University
  • Gabrielle Spainhour, Acute Care Physical Therapy: Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Radford University Carilion
  • Victoria Kelly, Acute Care: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Chamberlain University
  • Jenny Reine-Baskett, Education: Associates in Applied Science for Occupational Therapy Asst., St. Catherine’s University
  • Amanda Stone, Emergency Department: Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy Assistant from ECPI University
  • Magen Long, Operating Room: Bachelor's Degree in Healthcare Administration from Purdue University Global
  • Macey Mills, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department: Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Human Resources from Liberty University
  • Brittany Dolan, Emergency Room: Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University – August
  • Francesca Hayes, Emergency Department: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Western Governors University - September
  • Shena Alston, Recovery Room/PACU/ASU: Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Western Governors University – October
  • Lisa Graham, Radiation Oncology:  Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain University – fall

Sheree Smith, CCMA, BS

Sheree Smith, of Brodnax, is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant at CMH Dermatology. She just graduated in May from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Health Science and Business Management. Working full-time and going to school full-time, she managed to get financial aid to cover most of her coursework. She had one class to finish last semester, and because she wasn’t a full-time student at that point, she didn’t qualify for financial aid, so she took advantage of tuition assistance for her last class.

“The process was so easy; it was all online and everything was approved the next day,” Sheree said.

That schedule sounds crazy but add into the mix a first grader with online school during a pandemic.

“I was very disciplined as far as time management was concerned. I had a set schedule set aside for helping my son with schoolwork and time allotted for my own schoolwork. I could not have done this without having such great family support. Last but definitely not least, all praises to my God for guiding me and giving me the strength to help me achieve my goal.”

With this accomplishment under her belt, Sheree is not finished. She’s already enrolled in the Master’s in Healthcare Administration program (MHA) for the fall of 2021 with Liberty University.

“I pride myself in being flexible and adaptable. Therefore, I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold, especially within VCU Health CMH. Once I gain additional experience, my goal is to progress from a clinical position to management. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present.” 

 
Gabriel Restrepo, CRNA, DNAP

Gabriel Restrepo, of Chesterfield, is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who just graduated in May from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree. He first heard about VCU when he was at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. He attended the annual anesthesia conferences and VCU always had a booth set up at the events.

“Education assistance made it possible for me to further my education,” Gabriel said. “I am still paying for previous student loans, and it would have been really difficult financially to pull it off. I wouldn’t have been able to pursue this degree without it.”

Living an hour away, Gabriel commuted daily to South Hill, including hours on call, and commuted to Richmond for classes.

“It took a lot of work to make it happen,” Gabriel explained. “I had to give up a lot of personal time.”

Pursing a degree is a very personal decision.

“You have to want it and have a passion for it,” Gabriel said. “It’s the only way to get through it. You have to have the discipline and desire and then you can achieve anything.”

Gabriel’s already noticed a difference in his professional life. The doctoral program goes into policy making, ethics, quality improvement and patient safety on a much more in-depth level.

“My training has changed how I practice,” said Gabriel. “I approach patient assessments differently; I have more awareness and my communication with other professionals has improved. Now that I have time, I want to be more involved, so I plan to join new committees to implement what I have learned.”

Gabriel works with students on their clinical rotations and loves teaching.

“In a few years I can see myself transitioning to an academic level,” he said.

Parenting Tips for Resilient Children

South Hill, VA (7/8/21) – Why do some kids going through trauma come out fine and others struggle so hard? After the year we’ve had, it’s important to check in with your children to make sure they are doing okay. Dr. Anees is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in children’s mental health. Learn some tips on how to empower your kids to be resilient even under tough circumstances.

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) will host a virtual Community Out-Reach Education program via Zoom on parenting tips for resilient children. Mark your calendar for Thursday, July 22, from 12:00-12:30 p.m.

Visit www.vcuhealth.org/cmh-core for the Zoom link. Registration is appreciated, but not required. This seminar will be recorded. Your presence is your permission to post on VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s website so more people can benefit from hearing this information.

Onaiza Anees, MD, earned her medical degree in Pakistan at Sindh Medical College. She completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center - Icahn School of Medicine in Bronx, New York. She finished her Child Psychiatry fellowship at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, New York, where she graduated as the Chief fellow of her department. Dr. Anees trained in psycho-dynamic psychotherapy at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. She practices at CMH Behavioral Health in South Hill at 140 East Ferrell Street. Call (434) 584-5400 to make an appointment with Dr. Anees. To view a full list of services, visit: VCU-CMH.org

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital ER Medical Director Retires

South Hill, VA (7/8/21) – Dr. David Brown, ER Medical Director, retired after 27 years of service with VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH). Pictured are Glenn E. Barbour, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors; Dr. David Brown, retired VCU Health CMH ER Medical Director; Tom Tanner, Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors District #3.

Bags Donated for Cancer Patients

Penny Evans, an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, facilitated community donations of 279 bags to the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center and to the Solari Radiation Therapy Center. Pictured are: Rebecca Sontag, Kim Baisey, PAR, Wendy Bohannon, RN; Teresa Collins, RN, BSN, OCN (all with VCU Heath CMH), and Penny, Sep and Jonathon Evans.

South Hill, VA (7/6/21) – For the fifth year, Penny Evans, an Independent Consultant with Thirty-One Gifts since 2008, asked customers and friends to donate so cancer patients at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) could be blessed with a special bag to help them through their journey. Penny, Sep, and Jonathon Evans were able to donate 279 bags to the Hendrick Cancer and Rehab Center and to the Solari Radiation Therapy Center!

Teresa R. Collins, RN, BSN, OCN, Director of Radiation and Medical Oncology, said, “A cancer diagnosis can be devastating for patients. These care bags are a blessing and uplift our patients during difficult times in their lives. Patients use these bags to keep appointments, information packets, goodies, and personal belongings as they are coming into the center for treatment. Our patients have said over the years how humbled they are to have so many people supporting them. Penny and her team of donors are wonderful, and we are extremely thankful for her continued support of our cancer program through the years.” 

Penny expresses her gratitude to all the generous donors and businesses that help make this fundraiser possible. “Our little community blows me away each year,” Penny said. “This fundraiser would not be possible without everyone’s donation.”

These bags are purchased and filled with items such as pocket calendars, tissues, soothing tea bags (Penny and Sep Evans), lip balm and drink koozies (First Citizens Bank), pens/pads (Microtel), antiseptic wipes (Citizens Bank and Trust), Mary Kay hand lotions (Tanya Baskerville), tissues/lip balm (Crystal Walker), change purses (Benchmark Community Bank), and hand sanitizers (VCU Health CMH). Thanks to the generous donors listed below.

Platinum (10+bags)
Anonymous - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
HHM Porta Toilet, LLC - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Airtec - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Hardee Ford - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Rozier Termite and Pest Control - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Full Strut Trucking - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Gold (5-9 bags)
Karobway - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Henry and Brittany Edmonds - In Memory of Joyce Hodges

Pam and Terry McDaniel - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Joyce and Charlie Taylor - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lynn and Davin Lucy - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

 

Silver (2-4 bags)
Kathryn and Kirk McAden - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Lundy Layne - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Marcia, JC and Jaicee Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Judy Cleaton - In Honor of Mary Carol Kallam, Nikki Evans and Janet Hayes

Vera Primm - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mandi and Brian Calhoun - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Gavin Honeycutt and Chad Vaughan - In Honor of Harold Vaughan, In Memory of Phyllis Vaughan and James Honeycutt
Judy and Ed Carroll - In Honor of Nikki Evans, Teen Evans and Jane Lockerman and In Memory of Carolyn Roberts

Nancy and Ken Bulluck - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Carolyn and Randy Carter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sharon Johnson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Michelle Edmonds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Lisa Graham - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Cheryl Newcomb - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sheri and Mike Sparkman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Stacy Archer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Candice Riggan - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Carleen and Rosser Wells - In Memory of Anne and Donnie Wells and In Honor of All Cancer Survivors
Deborah Piercy - In Memory of Janie Piercy and In Honor of Martha Chalkley
Custom Message Therapy and Skincare  - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Katelyn and Scot Sharber - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Susan Moody - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jannon Coley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Ashley and Adam Lipscomb - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Susan Creedle - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sandra and Scooter Ittner - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Teresa Collins - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammy Manning - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Love Café - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Irene Michelitsch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jeremy and Tiffany Lynch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Martha and Bobby Overton - In Memory of Carolyn T. Roberts, In Honor of Sandi Taylor and Aimee Hudson
Edna and Emmett Williams - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Jenny Davis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Holly Painter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Mary Hardin - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Rhina and David Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Kristen Branch - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
SHVFD Ladies Auxiliary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Gwen and Steve Hinzman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Sarah and Joe Hutson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Tanya Baskerville - In Memory of Wendy Boyter Jackson and George Baskerville
Linda and Lynn Roberts - In Memory of Wanda Jones Beville and Jau Parker Roberts
Alicia and Guy Short - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Allecia Parker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
The Jacob and Wesley Swain Family - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Benchmark - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Bronze (1 bag)

Sarah and Kenneth Smith - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Candy McAvoy - In Honor and Memory of All the WARRIORS

Gay Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Christy Taylor - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jennifer Sullivan - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Betty Edwards - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kaye Bagley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lynn and Everette Gibson - In Memory of Lavenia Gibson

Katie Hubbard - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Susan Lucy - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Marjorie Lawson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Katherine Crutchfield - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim Baisey - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Pam Watson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kris and Scott Walker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Shelley Mayer - In Honor of Angela Madren and Lori Fuller

Georgia Franck - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sidney and Neil Burke - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Pam Gilbert - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Candi, Lee and Reid Allen - In Memory of Dallas R Allen

Debbie Moore - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Shelia Paynter - In Honor of All Cancer Patients

Ernestine Evans - In Honor of All Cancer Patients

Rita Parham - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Louise Ogburn - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Debbie Douglas - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brenda Curtis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Wells - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

April Wright - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Donna Wall - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mary and Wayne Rawlings - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Keli Reekes - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammi Lowery - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tonja Pearce - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mitzi Powell - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Mary Edmonds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Teri and Troy Walker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Theresa Hockaday - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Emily Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sheryl Thomason - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Lisa Middleton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Crystal and Ricky Jones - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Eileen Bigley - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim and Joe Young - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Terry Moss - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Diana Crowder - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angie Mills - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Paula Tanner - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tanya Mason - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jessica Johnson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Nichols - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Devon Clary - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Diane Nichols - In Honor of Cheryl Newcomb

Robin Newton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Christy Dodd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brenda Bell Crafton - In Memory of Cindy Crafton

Christy and Wayne Reese - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kim and Brent Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Judy and Chuck Martin - In Memory of Bobby Garrett

Nancy Jacobs - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Aileen Lewis - In Memory of John, Landa and Tameka

Rhonda Dalton - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jana Thompson - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Anita Kallam - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sara Boyd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Michelle Williams - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jessica Pearce - In Memory of Diane Curtis

Nancy and Kell Fleshood - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sara and Jerry Reynolds - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Carol Anne Chapman - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jill and Chad Springer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Angela Carter - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jennifer and Wayne Derrenbacker - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Kimberly Brown - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Emily and Mark Warren - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

John and Patty Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Jonathon Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Sep and Penny Evans - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Tammy Brewer - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Brittany Davis - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

Anonymous - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Dottie Collins - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Wes and Mandi Shepherd - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients
Kathy Coffee - In Honor and Memory of All Cancer Patients

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital Urges Patients to Schedule Cancer Screenings

South Hill, VA (6/30/21) – VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) has joined a nationwide effort to encourage patients to resume appropriate cancer screenings to prevent excess deaths.

VCU Health CMH is urging people across the country to talk with their health care provider to resume regular primary care checkups and recommended cancer screenings. This has the potential to lessen the negative impact that the pandemic could have on identifying and treating people with cancer.

Throughout the pandemic, many health care resources were redirected to combat rising COVID-19 cases and to prevent the spread of the virus. Elective medical procedures, including cancer screenings, were largely put on hold at the onset of the pandemic. The impact was immediate as screening related procedures dropped drastically in March and May 2020 according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Estimates also project 35% of Americans missed routine cancer screenings due to COVID-19 related fears and service disruptions during that time frame. ACS foresees that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access and cancer screenings may result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses and a later corresponding increase in late-state diagnoses and preventable deaths.

VCU Health CMH has implemented numerous infection prevention measures to provide a safe environment for people to receive important medical care during the pandemic. These steps include:

  • Temperature checks and screening questions upon entry.
  • Everyone in the hospital setting still must wear a mask.
  • Limited visitation restrictions are still in place.
  • Examination rooms are thoroughly cleaned between patients.

“Simply put, regular cancer screening tests can improve and save your life,” said Medical Oncologist Nemer El Mouallem, Jr., MD. “Screening increases the chance of detecting some cancers early, when they may be easier to treat. We’re encouraging everyone in our community to talk to their doctor or a health care professional about getting on track with their recommended cancer screenings.”

Screening refers to testing individuals who have no signs or symptoms of disease. The most common screening tests for individuals without symptoms include mammograms, colonoscopies, PSA blood tests, skin exams, and low-dose lung CT scans for active or former smokers. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women while prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men. Lung cancer is the second and colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S. Yet nearly one in three people for whom screenings are recommended were not up to date with screenings prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Discuss with your PCP if you haven't had worrisome symptoms evaluated, or if you meet criteria for cancer screenings. Contact (434) 584-2273 if you do not have a PCP. For more information about cancer screening, visit www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early.html or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227- 2345.

June is National Safety Month

CMH Occupational Health Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn; Stacy Davis, FNP-BC; DeeAnna Forbes, RN; Patient Access Representative Holly Clary.
Not pictured: Donna Overton, LPN and Brandi Lloyd, LPN.

South Hill, VA (6/24/21) – The National Safety Council established June as National Safety Month to prevent injuries and save lives both in the workplace and outside. VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) also values safety in every aspect of patient care. Every department touches some aspect of safety.

CMH Occupational Health and Wellness offers employers a way to improve the health of their workers and keep everyone safe. They have a Department of Transportation (DOT)-certified provider on site for DOT/CDL physicals and provide COVID testing swabs in the office. They can even go to business sites with certain services, depending on the number of employees, staff availability and business location.

More than 5,000 workers died in the U.S. on the job in 2019 and about 20 percent of these were in the construction industry. The most common OSHA violations in 2020 were fall protections, hazard communications, respiratory protections, scaffolding requirements, ladder construction, hazardous energy control, powered industrial trucks, eye and face protection, and machinery guarding.

Setting up regular physicals and drug testing can save a company by preventing accidents, reducing health care and workers’ compensation costs, decreasing lost work time from being sick, and making employees more productive and motivated.

Practice Manager Christy Moseley-Glynn said, “We are a one-stop shop for local businesses to keep them going and keep their workers employed. They can save up to 25 percent as compared to going the traditional route of primary care providers because we are able to offer bundled savings.”

Stacy Davis, FNP-BC, explained, “Just this week I caught a vision problem and was able to refer the patient to a specialist for follow up. I also find undiagnosed diabetes and high blood pressure that will lead to complications if not treated.” 

How does it work? Call (434) 774-2541 to discuss the type of service that best fits your unique situation and the service rate applicable for each team member you refer to them. They do not accept health insurance, however, they invoice on a monthly basis.

CMH Occupational Health currently works with more than 140 businesses, 80 percent of which are local. Some national chains in the trucking industry use them when drivers happen to be in the area and get a traffic ticket or called for a drug test.

Kristine Martin, Benefits Administrator with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, has been using CMH Occupational Health for five years.

“Our Wellness and Safety Programs are instilled in our culture at MEC as well as in our EMPOWER Broadband subsidiary,” Kristine said. “It’s how we operate our business and honor our commitment to our members and customers.”

They invite CMH Occupational Health to their facilities several times throughout the year to provide updated information and education services to help keep staff healthy.

“Our relationship with CMH allows us to keep updated with ongoing, fast-paced health and wellness initiatives to continually improve our Wellness Program here,” she added.

For more information on their services visit VCU-CMH.org and click on Occupational Health or call (434) 774-2541. Stay safe out there!

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s May, 2021, Team Member of the Month

VCU Health CMH CEO Scott Burnette, Foundation Coordinator Rebecca Sontag and Director of Marketing and Development Ken Kurz.

South Hill, VA (6/15/21) – When the only person who does an important job leaves, the hole left behind is difficult to fill. In the case of the Pharmacy Connection vacancy at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH), it took eight months to fill the position. The Pharmacy Connection is the medication assistance program funded by the Virginia Health Care Foundation. During that time, community members with financial challenges continued to get the medications they needed thanks to Rebecca Sontag, CMH Foundation Coordinator.

“Rebecca exhibited an enormous amount of teamwork by stepping up to temporarily take over The Pharmacy Connection duties in addition to her normal Marketing and Foundation role,” said a coworker in the nomination. “She built positive relationships with the patients she served and has trained the new hire to do the job well.”

“Year-end work for both the Foundation and Pharmacy Connection required significant time and effort and Rebecca fulfilled all those requirements and has never complained,” said Ken Kurz, Director of Marketing and Development.

Rebecca was awarded the May Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships. She received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows her to park wherever she wants for the month of June and a $40 gift card.

She said, “I feel humbled and grateful. It’s nice when people recognize your hard work and show their appreciation for all that you do by nominating you for an award like this.” 

Rebecca has worked at VCU Health CMH for nearly two years. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist and previously worked as a Recreation Therapist and Volunteer Coordinator at The Virginia Home in Richmond for 16 years.

She shared advice for her team members, “I’m a helper and I don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand to anyone that is in need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and if you see someone that is overwhelmed reach out and see if there is anything you can do to lighten their load. Even the smallest gesture of kindness really does go a long way.”

“My passion in life is helping people, particularly those with special needs, and I am always looking for ways to give back, especially to organizations that I love and support their mission,” Rebecca explained.

She serves on the board for Families Embracing Autism Together (FEAT) and is helping them with their work program that promotes the benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities and offers job training to those individuals.

Rebecca lives with her husband, Tom, in Mecklenburg County and they have three children, ages 15, four and three. She loves spending time with her family, friends and her sweet dog, Lacey.

Other nominees for May were Mary Alexander, Food and Nutrition; Kristy Fowler, Marketing; and Molly Hatchell, ICU.

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