In cooperation with Tri-State Center for Breast Health at ECM East, ECM Hospital is now offering minimally invasive MRI-guided breast biopsies. The center already offers a variety of women’s health services, including digital mammography, breast ultrasound and stereotactic breast biopsies on site. Feedback from area surgeons prompted the purchase of the equipment, a Hologic ATEC breast biopsy device, with CAD (computer aided design) planning.
“By having this service in Florence, our patients can continue to see physicians they already know. Plus, they can be confident in the fact that ECM Hospital and Tri-State Center for Breast Health has a dedicated, experienced team of radiologists, technologists and nurses in place to do this procedure. Patients receive quality care right here at home,” said Scott Edwards, Director of Imaging Services at ECM Hospital.
With the MRI guided breast biopsy device, physicians have reduced the typical procedure time to less than 40 minutes. Pathology reports are available within 24-48 hours and results go to the patient’s surgeon and referring doctor. The procedure minimizes the need for a larger incision and more tissue removal. According to Edwards, recovery time is brief, sutures are not required, and patients can return to normal activities almost immediately.
“Investing in the latest technology is a goal for our organization and important to quality patient care,” said Russell Pigg, Chief Executive Officer of ECM Hospital. “This device provides physicians the ability to accurately target and acquire small lesions typically found in high-risk patients.”
A fashion merchandising class at Florence High School took on a community service project, to sew pajama pants for the Pajamas for Patients program at ECM Hospital.
Marsha Carter first thought about the project after hearing the pajama supply was low.
Thank you to the students and faculty at Florence High School for your contribution.
The structure of North Alabama Medical center is taking shape, after months of groundwork. Monday, March 13, 2017, crews placed the first steel beam. When complete, the building will be formed by 2,800 tons of Alabama Steel.
“The structural skeleton of the building will take shape in about five months,” explained John Thomas with Layton Construction. “We will start from the core and then work our way out through the patient tower and then out through the first floor. So that will take shape throughout the summer and early fall.”
Plans are on schedule to have the hospital complete in late 2018.
“This is a big day. It’s a major milestone for us,” stated Mike Howard, Chief Operating Officer of North Alabama Medical Center. “I think probably the most exciting part for me is that the community will be able to see the actual shape of the building starting to come up. From the road over the past few months there has been a lot of ground work going on, but this will allow us to start seeing things come up.”
Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital recently purchased and placed into service a whole-room disinfection technology, called Optimum-UV Enlight, by Clorox Healthcare. This equipment provides an extra level of protection in the hospital’s ongoing effort to protect patients while enhancing staff efficiencies.
The Optimum-UV Enlight robot emits ultraviolet light to kill potentially harmful pathogens on surfaces. After a room has been deep cleaned with standard, manual disinfection by Environmental Services, the robot is brought in. “The lamp is effective within a distance of eight feet and a disinfecting cycle lasts only five minutes. Each room will typically need three cycles each, depending on size of the room,” said ECM Hospital Environmental Services Director, Gary Blanks. “The machine will operate every day. Initially, we will be using the lamp in our operating rooms. This is a great addition to the hospital, which we consider a pro-active measure to keep our patients safe and healthy, while in our care.”
The Optimum-UV Enlight efficacy has been demonstrated against several microorganisms in both laboratory and clinical settings. Pathogens like Clostridium difficile (C. diff) spores and MRSA can survive on surfaces for months, however this lamp will kill the pathogens on contact. The Optimum-UV Enlight is effective against more than 30 infection causing pathogens. A representative from Clorox Healthcare was on campus in February to train ECM Hospital staff.
“We continuously look for ways to provide excellent care for our patients,” said ECM Chief Executive Officer, Russell Pigg. “This technology should add a sense of security to our patients who select ECM Hospital for their care.
The Optimum-UV Enlight includes infrared motion sensors to prevent operation if people are present. The system tracks device usage across rooms, locations and operators, providing automated reporting that is accessible in real time.
As a pharmaceutical representative, Justin Sappington serves hundreds of doctors in the Shoals. However, it was the diagnosis from one doctor that left Sappington scrambling for answers. In October, Sappington was diagnosed with Myeloid Dysplasia Syndrome. MDS is a blood cancer where the bone marrow cells do not mature into healthy blood cells. Sappington’s best hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Like 70 percent of all patients, Sappington does not have a matching donor in his family.
“When I found out I didn’t have a match in my family, I didn’t give up hope. I was familiar with the Be the Match organization and reached out to start holding bone marrow donor drives around north Alabama,” said Sappington.
Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital is partnering with the national organization, Be the Match, to host a bone marrow registry drive Tuesday, January 31st from 7:00 am-1:00 pm in the lobby.
To join the Be the Match registry, donors must be between the ages of 18 and 44, be in general good health and be willing to donate to any patient needing a bone marrow transplant. The non-invasive registration process through Be the Match consists of paperwork and a cheek swab on the day of the drive. Be the Match sends the swabs to a lab where the DNA donor type is identified and logged in a national registry. Hospitals can search the Be the Match registry.
“It’s amazing that people are willing to be a potential bone marrow donor to a complete stranger,” said Sappington. “These donors may not be a match with me, but if they match with someone else needing a donor, then that’s a win. It is my prayer that God is glorified by all of those willing to be donors and give others another chance at life. Thank you to ECM Hospital and the entire Shoals community.”
About Justin Sappington
Justin Sappington played football at UNA from 1995-1999.
He currently lives in Decatur with his two children and wife.
About Be the Match
Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer
Be the Match facilitated nearly 6,400 transplants in 2015
A patient’s likelihood of having a matched, available donor on the Be the Match registry ranges from 66 percent to 97 percent
About 1 in every 430 U.S. Be the Match registry members go on to donate to a patient
[Photo Courtesy of The Times Daily/Matt McKean]
The Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary and the Helping Hands Foundation recently launched ‘Pajamas for Patients’. The program is designed to provide comfort and dignity for our adult patients who find themselves unexpectedly admitted to the hospital or without the resources for sleepwear.
“During an emergency or an extended hospital stay, pajamas are not the first thing that may come to mind. People are focused on getting well, however having something to sleep in, besides a hospital gown, can help people feel more comfortable,” said Amy Stanfield, ECM Volunteer Services manager. “The patients can take the pajamas with them when they are discharged, and often times the patients wear the pajamas home, because it’s the only possessions they have, while at the hospital.”
After an initial donation by Helping Hands, the supply of pajamas is low. The Volunteer Auxiliary is asking for donations from members of the community to replenish the supply. Since the start of the program in October 2016, nearly 120 sets of pajamas have been given to patients. Pajama sets can be dropped off at the ECM Patient Information Desk in the lobby.
“Right now we have just two sets of pajamas left. We don’t want to run out because our nurses have come to rely on this program for their patients. When they notice a need, they let our department know,” said Stanfield.
Donations should be new pajamas. The Volunteer Auxiliary will accept all sizes for men and women or monetary donations. Pajama tops and bottoms or sweat outfits are recommended. If you would like to make a donation, please drop off items at the Patient Information desk in the front lobby.
The flu is making its mark across the Shoals. At ECM Hospital, Influenza A has been identified most frequently with 17 cases confirmed. Influenza A is the more serious strain of flu. Two cases of Influenza B have been confirmed, with several more people experiencing flu like symptoms. The first case confirmed at ECM Hospital was documented at the end of October. Only one case was confirmed in November, with the majority of cases being confirmed in December.
The flu vaccine is still available to be administered at area doctor offices and pharmacies. In addition to getting a vaccination, people are encouraged to take preventative measures to guard against the virus. “The best way to prevent the spread of flu is to wash your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizer is a good option and always cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough,” said Robert Stapleton, Emergency Department Director at ECM Hospital. “Fatigue, body aches, chills and fever are the most prevalent symptoms. If people experience these symptoms, head to the emergency department or see your doctor.”
At risk groups, according to the Center for Disease Control:
- People 65 years of age and older
- Children ages 6 months to 23 months
- Adults and children 2 years of age and older with chronic lung or heart disorders including heart disease and asthma
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Adults and children 2 years of age and older with chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes), kidney diseases, blood disorders (such as sickle cell anemia), or weakened immune systems, including persons with HIV/AIDS
- Children and teenagers, 6 months to 18 years of age, who take aspirin daily
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
- Household members and out-of-home caregivers of infants under the age of 6 months (Children under the age of 6 months cannot be vaccinated.)
- Healthcare workers who provide direct, hands-on care to patients
ECM Hospital’s palliative care unit is the only Joint Commission certified palliative care unit in the Alabama
Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The program recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care in order to optimize the quality of life for patients with serious illnesses. ECM’s palliative care unit is currently the only palliative care unit in the state of Alabama to be certified by The Joint Commission.
“Certification is a voluntary process which instills confidence for our patients and the Shoals community,” said Cathy Shelton, RN, Supportive Care Services Coordinator at ECM Hospital. “By following the standards and protocols required for being a certified center, we know our patient’s symptoms and pain will be managed by the expertise and care of our specifically palliative care-trained nurses and physicians. We are also very fortunate to have two board certified palliative care physicians to maintain and run the program.”
The palliative care unit at ECM Hospital began in 2011 and was first certified in 2012. This is the second consecutive two-year certification.
“The standards for certification are high and I’m proud to say The Joint Commission re-certified the program without any recommendations for improvement. Our program met or exceeded every expectation. This is a major accomplishment and evidence that our staff continues to work together to deliver and maintain optimal palliative care services for those in our community.” said Russell Pigg, ECM Chief Executive Officer.
Joint Commission surveyors were on-site in early December and evaluated clinical practice guidelines and performance measurement and improvement activities. At ECM Hospital, patients can access palliative care as needed, 24 hours per day.
“When families are faced with a decision about end-of-life care, being a certified center gives people a peace of mind, knowing their loved ones will be well taken care,” said Robert Webb, Medical Director of the Supportive & Palliative Care Service at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital.
The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.
At this time, Tri-State Center for Breast Health is one of 20 recipients nationally in this category
Tri-State Center for Breast Health at ECM East has recently been recognized as a Certified Quality Breast Center in the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers Program. The center is the only breast health facility in Alabama to achieve this level of certification in 2016, and one of only 20 centers nationally.
“This recognition shows we are dedicated to compassionate care and comprehensive treatments,” said Russell Pigg, ECM Chief Executive Officer. “As a Certified Quality Breast Center, our patients can be assured they are receiving excellent breast health care right here at home, as exemplified by our investment in innovative equipment and our highly trained providers.”
The National Consortium of Breast Centers uses 33 National Quality Indicators to evaluate breast programs in the areas of imaging, surgery, pathology and patient satisfaction. In order to achieve this certification, Tri-State Center for Breast Heath had to submit clinical performance data from two separate reporting periods in July 2015 through June 2016.
The center at ECM East offers a variety of women’s health services, including advanced imaging technology such as digital mammography, breast ultrasound and stereotactic breast biopsies on site. The center also offers same day biopsy service if an issue is detected with a diagnostic mammogram.
“The fact that same day service is provided to our patients was important in achieving this recognition,” said Susan Tarascou, lead mammographer at ECM East. “From technologist to radiologist and pathologist, we care about our patients and we are proud to offer quick service, to determine what course of treatment to take, if necessary.”
This level of certification in the NQMBC Program is valid for one year. Tri-State Center for Breast Health strives to maintain this level of care and plans to submit data each year to renew their certification.
About The National Consortium of Breast Centers
The National Consortium of Breast Centers promotes excellence in breast health care for the general public through a network of diverse professionals dedicated to the active exchange of ideas and resources. It serves as an informational resource and provides support services to those rendering care to people with breast diseases through educational programs, newsletters, a national directory and patient forums. It encourages professionals to concentrate and specialize in activities related to breast disease and encourages the development of programs and centers that address breast disease and promote breast health. It facilitates collaborative research opportunities on issues of breast health; and developed a set of core measures to define, improve and sustain quality standards in breast health care programs and for quality performance in all types of breast health care facilities. For more information regarding the NQMBC Program, visit www.breastcare.org.