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Ratchford

Nathan Ratchford, MD, Joins PCRMC Women’s Health Center

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is pleased to announce the addition of Gynecologist Nathan Ratchford, MD, to the PCRMC Medical Group. Dr. Ratchford is accepting new patients at the PCRMC Women’s Health Center.

He graduated from medical school at the University of Missouri in Columbia in 2004. He then completed a four-year residency program at Mercy (formerly St. John’s Mercy) in St. Louis.

Dr. Ratchford says he decided to major in medicine in college. “I thought I was going to be a general surgeon, but during the end of my third year of medical school, I did an OB/GYN rotation, and I thought that was a better fit for me,” he says.

He has 10 years of experience practicing medicine in Rolla. He decided to join the PCRMC team after seeing how the organization works. “PCRMC is a leader in providing care to the community, and I want to be a part of that,” he says.

Dr. Ratchford has had prior experience with PCRMC. For two years, he served as vice chief of staff followed by a year and a half as chief of staff at PCRMC.

He also is the new chief medical officer at PCRMC, a position he started on June 18, 2018. “I’m excited to be a part of the administration here,” he says.

Dr. Ratchford says one aspect he enjoys about being a physician is helping patients walk through their choices of making care plans and making sense of all of their medical options.

To learn more about Dr. Ratchford, or to make an appointment, call 573-426-2229 or visit pcrmc.com.

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PCRMC DDCI Joins Siteman Cancer Network

Phelps County Regional Medical Center and the hospital’s Delbert Day Cancer Institute have joined the Siteman Cancer Network to collaborate on efforts to reduce the impact of cancer in south-central Missouri through research, treatment and prevention.

The network is affiliated with Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Together, the institutions will provide access to cancer prevention and control strategies, and genomic and genetic testing. Patients also will have access to highly specialized treatments and technologies, including clinical trials at Siteman Cancer Center.

“Phelps County Regional Medical Center and the Delbert Day Cancer Institute are proud to partner with Siteman, a nationally recognized cancer center,” said Ed Clayton, CEO of the regional medical center. “This partnership will bring additional resources and care to cancer patients living in south-central Missouri.”

As a network member, Phelps County Regional Medical Center and the Delbert Day Cancer Institute will work with Siteman Cancer Center to assess cancer’s impact on south-central Missouri, develop a plan to lessen the overall burden, and measure results. Possibilities include a greater emphasis on reducing smoking rates and promoting cancer screenings and other healthy interventions.

Key components of the network affiliation include:

  •  Navigators to help patients coordinate access to highly specialized care for complex cases, including access to clinical trials, at Siteman Cancer Center.
  • Use of genomic and genetic testing to help identify personalized treatments based on the characteristics of a patient’s disease.
  • Development of a database that incorporates such information (with patients’ permission) to improve clinical care and patient outcomes.
  • Sharing of best practices to improve patient care. Examples include sharing details regarding how nurses and radiation therapists are trained to care for oncology patients, and implementing industry-approved guidelines for screenings, genetic counseling programs and post-treatment care.
  • Implementation of cancer prevention strategies, such as the use of interactive risk-assessment tools, e-books, videos and individual coaching.
  • Development of targeted interventions to reduce cancer risk and of evaluation tools to measure success.

The network’s efforts also are expected to increase the number of people screened for cancer, which should result in earlier detection and improved health outcomes.

“Siteman Cancer Center and Phelps County Regional Medical Center – through the Siteman Cancer Network – are committed to preventing cancer and transforming patient care in the communities we serve,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, director of Siteman Cancer Center and the Bixby Professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine. “Together, we’re working to build a healthier Missouri.”

Through this relationship, the physicians and patients of the Delbert Day Cancer Institute will have access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment resources available through Siteman Cancer Center, with care coordinated by both centers.

“The Delbert Day Cancer Institute was founded on the idea of offering patient-centered care,” Clayton said. “This partnership with Siteman is a natural extension of that initial goal.”

 

 

aster awards

PCRMC Wins 7 Aster Awards for Healthcare Marketing

The Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Marketing Department earned seven Aster Awards in an international competition that recognizes excellence in healthcare advertising and marketing efforts.

The three Gold Awards and four Silver Awards presented to PCRMC were for work done in 2017. Thousands of entries were received in the contest this year from across the United States and around the world. PCRMC’s entries were judged against entries from similar-sized organizations.

“It is such an honor to receive these awards. It is a good feeling to have our work recognized as among the best in the country,” says PCRMC Marketing Director Somer Overshon. “I am very proud of our marketing team.”

The PCRMC Marketing Department took home the prestigious awards in the areas of radio advertising, flyers, billboard design, special events, physician directories, calendars and newspaper advertising.

The PCRMC Marketing Department won Gold Awards (presented to the top 5% of entries in the nation) for the following:

  • Entry Name: PCRMC Services
    Category: Radio Series
  • Entry Name: Hat, Glove and Mitten Drive Flyer
    Category: Flyer
  • Entry Name: PCRMC Provider Directory
    Category: Physician Directory

The PCRMC Marketing Department won Silver Awards (presented to the top 12% of entries in the nation) for the following:

  • Entry Name: Phelps Air Open House
    Category: Special Events
  • Entry Name: 2017 CareChex Double Pane Billboard
    Category: Billboard Design
  • Entry Name: Baby Calendar
    Category: Calendar
  • Entry Name: Faces and Places
    Category: Newspaper Advertising

A panel of industry experts judged all entries. Judging criteria included creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.

“The recognition received by the PCRMC Marketing Department is well-deserved,” says PCRMC Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jason Shenefield. “The marketing team works hard to communicate our programs, services, events, providers and more to the community, and this recognition speaks to their success.”

PCRMC Chief Executive Officer Ed Clayton agreed. “The PCRMC Marketing Department is made up of talented and creative staff. Educating the public about healthcare is important, and they do a great job of spreading the word in the communities we serve,” Clayton says.

“The quality and creativity of the entries submitted seems to increase each year. The 2018 Aster Awards program brought together some of the best and most creative advertising in the world,” said Melinda Lucas, Aster Awards program coordinator.

Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine and Creative Images, Inc. host the Aster Awards.

During last year’s Aster Awards competition, the PCRMC Marketing Department won two Gold Awards and four Silver Awards.

For more information about the Aster Awards program, please visit www.asterawards.com/winners.

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PCRMC Diabetes Education Services Improve Quality of Life for Patients

Clay Howlett was a junior in high school when he was diagnosed with diabetes. He felt dehydrated and had lost weight, about 25 pounds. Initially, Clay went to his family doctor and then to a hospital, where he was given his first dose of insulin.

“I was told I couldn’t have any sugar,” Clay recalls. “I remember one time during ball practice, my blood sugar dropped really low.” Clay says he experienced other symptoms, such as being tired, breaking out in sweats and constantly feeling thirsty.

Since age 17, Clay has had type 1 diabetes, which occurs when a person’s body does not produce insulin, a hormone that helps move sugar, or glucose, into the body’s tissues, where cells use it as fuel. According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5% of people with diabetes have the type 1 form.

Before that time, Clay did not know many people with diabetes. A dispatcher who worked for his father had the disease. Clay later learned one of his great-grandparents had diabetes.

“My uncle, my dad’s brother, was diabetic, too. He had type 2 diabetes, (when a person’s body does not properly use insulin) but he controlled it with his diet,” Clay says.

In his senior year in high school, Clay wanted to learn as much as he could about the condition he had, so he wrote his term paper on diabetes that year.

Clay has what some people refer to as brittle diabetes, as his wife of 12 years Patty explains. Brittle diabetes causes a person’s blood sugar levels to spike or drop at rapid rates. “His blood sugar can drop really quickly,” Patty says. “For a time there, every hour, we weren’t sure what would happen next.”

During a visit to his mother in Springfield, Missouri, Clay’s blood sugar dropped to an extremely low rate, so he was taken by an ambulance to a local hospital.

When Clay returned home to Rolla, Patty encouraged him to visit his doctor, Bohdan Lebedowicz, MD, an internal medicine physician with the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Medical Group. Dr. Lebedowicz asked if Clay would be interested in PCRMC’s diabetes education services.

Both Clay and Patty say they felt they already knew a lot about diabetes but initially agreed to attend one session.

That same day as Clay’s appointment with Dr. Lebedowicz, the Howletts met with Pati Cox, MEd, BSN, RN, a diabetic nurse educator at PCRMC, who did glucagon teaching (an injection to help with low blood sugars when a person is unconscious) and discussed the diabetes education classes more in-depth with them.

“Pati said that PCRMC offered individualized classes catered to each patient,” Patty recalls, adding that Cox was able to work around her and Clay’s schedules. “Clay really connected with Pati.”

According to Clay, PCRMC’s diabetes education classes are thorough, and the diabetes educators encourage patients to become very involved in their own care. “They have given me a better quality of life,” he says.

Patty says she attended the classes, as well, because she wanted to learn more about diabetes to help her husband.

Besides an incident in Jefferson City in February of 2018 when he was given a different brand of insulin, Clay has had no major problems with extreme blood sugar levels since participating in PCRMC’s diabetes education classes.

Clay says because of his foot ulcers, he cannot exercise much, but he follows his doctor’s and diabetes nurse educators’ recommendations of having four carbohydrates and two proteins each day during his meals. Clay says he used to buy orange juice all of the time to help with his blood sugar levels, but now, he hardly drinks it.

“The classes are so easy to understand, and Pati is so positive about it,” Clay says. “It’s definitely been a life saver.”

PCRMC offers a free diabetes support group for diabetes patients, their family members, caregivers and anyone interested in finding out more about diabetes. The support group meets the first Saturday of the month, except for January, July and September, from 10 a.m. to noon at PCRMC.

The PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic offers services in Rolla and Waynesville. For more information about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services at PCRMC, talk to your primary care provider, call 573-458-7314 or visit pcrmc.com.

Jullie Barrett

Jullie’s Story: Understanding Diabetes Better with PCRMC Diabetes Nurse Educators

About two to three years ago, Jullie Barrett, who lives in Rolla and was raised in Waynesville, visited her doctor, who believed Barrett’s blood sugar was too high based on her symptoms.

Barrett was given an A1C test, a common blood test used to diagnose diabetes, and the results showed her average blood sugar level over three months was about 10 percent (approximately 250 mg/dL). A normal hemoglobin A1C level is below 5.7 percent (less than 115 mg/dL).

Because her A1C level was so high, her doctor thought Barrett had possibly had diabetes since she was a child.

Barrett has type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this chronic illness. Also called hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s body does not properly use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes does not allow the body to use sugar effectively for energy.

“When I found out I was diabetic, it was shocking,” she says. “I thought, ‘This can’t be.’” Barrett has a family history of diabetes. Her mother has the disease as did one of her grandmothers.

Unlike a broken arm or difficulty breathing, diabetes symptoms are not always obvious. Barrett says she had numbness in her legs and damage to the retina of her eyes, both believed to be the long-term result of diabetes.

After being diagnosed, Barrett initially was referred to a dietitian. “I thought I had a handle on how to eat,” Barrett recalls. However, no matter what she tried, she could not lower her blood sugar levels.

Barrett’s physician eventually placed her on insulin and referred her to the Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, where she met with Pati Cox, MEd, BSN, RN, a diabetic nurse educator.

“It was really eye-opening,” Barrett says of meeting with Cox and taking part in the Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services at PCRMC. “I learned so much, and it really helped me understand things like what happens when I eat certain foods and how I should be eating.”

When she first started going to classes at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, Barrett did not know what to expect. “However, I got the feeling from the diabetes nurse educators that they really cared about me and put me at ease,” she says.

Barrett has completed the 10-hour program, which is divided into four classes, each focusing on different areas of diabetes, such as creating healthy meal plans, managing blood sugar levels and using a glucose meter, among other topics.

Because of her nerve damage, Barrett cannot walk much, but she enjoys swimming and riding bikes. Six months before taking classes at the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic, she bought a new bicycle. “I ride it a lot more often now that I’m feeling better,” Barrett says, adding that she has more energy. Barrett can ride 25 miles or longer on a weekend day.

Additionally, she has made changes to her meals. “Before, I was not eating as well as I should have been. Now, my breakfast meals are about 75-80 percent vegetables,” she says. She also reports that she has lost over 50 pounds on her journey, which has aided in lowering her blood sugars.

Barrett began taking insulin around April of 2017, and while she still uses insulin, she has reduced the amount she uses due to her ability to better manage her diabetes with healthy eating, exercise and recognizing complications that call for immediate attention from her primary care provider.

Barrett continues to follow up with her physician and the PCRMC diabetes nurse educators. “I would definitely recommend the PCRMC Diabetes Outpatient Clinic. I wish I would have paid attention to my doctor sooner,” she says.

For more information about Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support services at PCRMC, talk to your primary care provider or call 573-458-7314.