• Warm Fuzzies for Kids Brings Comfort to Pediatric Patients

    Friday February 17, 2017

    Members of the media are invited to the Warm Fuzzies for Kids volunteer event from 11 a.m. to noon on Feb. 18 in the Centennial rooms, first floor, Pozez Education Center, located within Stormont Vail Hospital.

    Stormont Vail Health Volunteer Services and the Stormont Vail Foundation are joining together to sponsor and support this kick-off event. Volunteers will make “no sew” fleece blankets for pediatric patients to use during their hospital stay and to bring home after discharge. A goal of 80 fleece blankets is set for Saturday. This amount will meet the need for up to two to three months.

    Two 3-hour shifts are offered for anyone wanting to volunteer from either 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m., and project supplies and light refreshments will be furnished. Each shift can accommodate a maximum of 80 volunteers. Volunteers 13 years or younger are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

    “Blankets are frequently requested for patients to provide comfort and cheer but the supply can be depleted in the colder months,” said Jane Mackey, president of the Stormont Vail Foundation. “This project will ensure that we have an adequate supply of blankets when they are needed.”

    “Community members frequently inquire about special opportunities to volunteer without making a long-term commitment, such as high school studentsm who need to meet community volunteer service requirements for graduation,” said Beverly Rice, director of Stormont Vail Health Volunteer Services. “Many major employers are also looking for opportunities for their employees to give back to the community. Our hope is this event is one of the many new volunteer opportunities that connect our community with Stormont Vail Health.”

    A few volunteer spots are still open. For more information or to register as a volunteer, contact Stormont Vail Health Volunteer Services at (785) 354-6095 or by email at volunteerdept@stormontvail.org. Please be sure to include your name, address, age, phone number and the shift you are interested in attending.

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  • New Guidelines Indicate Introducing Peanut-Containing Products to Infants Can Prevent Allergies

    Tuesday January 31, 2017

    The National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines earlier this month saying most babies should regularly eat peanut-containing foods starting around 6 months of age, some as early as 4 months.        

    The recommendations are based on landmark research that found early exposure is far more likely to protect babies from developing peanut allergies than to harm them.  

    “People with allergies have been desensitizing themselves for many years by getting small doses of things they are allergic to,” said Preeti Singh, M.D., Cotton O’Neil Manhattan. “In fact, this study isn’t too different than that, and if successful, can prevent many deaths and complications in our general population. We have peanut exposure in chocolate, for example, and it is hard for most children to resist candies.”

    The guidelines explain how exactly to introduce infants to age-appropriate peanut products depending on whether they’re at high, moderate or low risk of becoming allergic as they grow.

    Whole peanuts or even a spoonful of creamy peanut butter may be a choking hazard for infants and is not recommended for them. Instead, the guidelines include options such as watered-down peanut butter or easy-to-gum peanut-flavored “puff” snacks.

    Babies at high risk – because they have a severe form of skin rash, eczema or egg allergies – need a check-up before exposure and should receive their first taste in the doctor’s office. For other babies, most parents can start adding peanut-containing foods to their diet much like they introduce oatmeal or mashed fruits and vegetables. Giving any peanut-containing food should always be done when a parent or caregiver can monitor the infant for up to two hours after trying the food to make sure there are no reactions such as itching, rash or difficulty breathing. If there is a reaction, be sure to take the infant to a doctor.

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  • Stormont Vail Health Chief Human Resources Officer to Retire in 2017

    Tuesday January 31, 2017

    Bernard H. Becker, SPHR(L), SHRM-SCP, vice president and chief human resources officer at Stormont Vail Health, has announced his intent to retire before October 2017. Becker oversees Recruitment, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Relations, Employee Health, Education & Staff Development, Medical Education, the Stauffer Health Sciences Library, Spiritual Care, Volunteer Services & Auxiliary and the child care center.

    “While I am sad to be leaving an organization I’m so proud of, I am also excited to spend more time with my wife Barb and our family,” Becker said.

     Becker has been a part of Stormont Vail Health for more than 19 years. He joined Stormont Vail from 1980-1983 as the assistant director of personnel. He re-joined the system in 2001 as the vice president of Human Resources, later changing titles to vice president and chief human resources officer.

    “Bernie has been a great leader for Stormont Vail Health, contributing to our growth,” said Randy Peterson, president and chief executive officer. “During his tenure we’ve grown from about 2,500 employees to more than 4,800.”

    Becker has almost 40 years of human resources experience and has served as the chief human resources officer for multiple hospitals and health care systems in Michigan and Missouri. Additionally, Becker worked for three years as vice president and a consultant for a national health care human resources and labor relations firm. Born and raised in Kanas City and a Vietnam War-era U.S. Army veteran, Becker has a bachelor’s degree in Personnel Administration and Psychology from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in Personnel Management from Central Michigan University.

    A retirement reception will be announced at a later date. Stormont Vail Health is conducting a nationwide search for Becker’s replacement.

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  • New Guidelines Indicate Introducing Peanut-Containing Products to Infants Can Prevent Allergies

    Thursday January 26, 2017

    The National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines earlier this month saying most babies should regularly eat peanut-containing foods starting around 6 months of age, some as early as 4 months.        

    The recommendations are based on landmark research that found early exposure is far more likely to protect babies from developing peanut allergies than to harm them.  

    “This is an exciting development in the allergy field,” said Christy Jansen, M.D., pediatrician at Cotton O’Neil Emporia. “Peanut allergy affects one to two percent of children and can be lifelong. It can cause anxiety in parents as well. The ability to perhaps prevent peanut allergy by early exposure is great.”

    The guidelines explain how exactly to introduce infants to age-appropriate peanut products depending on whether they’re at high, moderate or low risk of becoming allergic as they grow.

    Whole peanuts or even a spoonful of creamy peanut butter may be a choking hazard for infants and it is not recommended for them. Instead, the guidelines include options such as watered-down peanut butter or easy-to-gum peanut-flavored “puff” snacks.

    Babies at high risk – because they have a severe form of skin rash eczema or egg allergies – need a check-up before exposure and should receive their first taste in the doctor’s office. For other babies, most parents can start adding peanut-containing foods to the diet much like they introduce oatmeal or mashed fruits and vegetables. Giving any peanut-containing food should always be done when a parentor caregiver can monitor the infant for up to two hours after they try the food to make sure there are no reactions such as itching, rash or difficulty breathing. If there is, be sure to take them to a doctor.

    Dr. Jansen encourages parents to contact their child’s physician to discuss how to introduce peanuts into their child’s diet as there are different recommendations depending on health history.

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  • Cotton O’Neil Digestive Health Center’s Endoscopy Unit Recognized by ASGE for Quality and Safety as Part of Its Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program

    Wednesday December 21, 2016

    The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has recognized Cotton O’Neil Digestive Health Center’s Endoscopy Center as part of its program specifically dedicated to promoting quality in endoscopy in all settings where it is practiced in the United States. The certification came in July and a celebration for staff was held on Dec. 13 at the Digestive Health Center.

    The ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program (EURP) honors endoscopy units that have demonstrated a commitment to patient safety and quality in endoscopy as evidenced by meeting the program’s rigorous criteria. These include following the ASGE guidelines on privileging, quality assurance, endoscopic reprocessing, CDC infection control guidelines and ensuring endoscopy staff competency. To date, more than 500 endoscopy units have been recognized by ASGE. There are only three EURP certified units in the state of Kansas. The other two units are in Kansas City.

    “We are proud to acknowledge these endoscopy units for their commitment to promoting the highest standards of safety and quality,” said Glenn Eisen, MD, FASGE, Chair, ASGE Quality Assurance in Endoscopy Committee. “By ensuring infection control principles are adhered to, the competency of staff is continually assessed, and patient satisfaction is monitored, ASGE-recognized units address the cornerstones that inspire the public’s confidence in endoscopy, a life-saving technology.”

    To be recognized by ASGE, a unit, through a peer-reviewed application process, must attest to the continued competence of all staff relative to their roles, demonstrate the adoption of unit policies specific to ongoing assessment of performance relative to key quality indicators, and attest that the unit has an established infrastructure and personnel dedicated to infection control and prevention. The program is applicable to all settings in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands where endoscopy is practiced, including office-based endoscopy units, hospital-based endoscopy units, and stand-alone ambulatory endoscopy or surgery centers.

    “We have a very experienced and loyal staff who are dedicated to excellent patient care,” said Robert Ricci, MD, Medical Director, Cotton O’Neil Digestive Health Center. “It is rewarding to be part of such a great team.”

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  • Cotton O’Neil Neuro & Spine Center Now Open and Delivering Comprehensive Coordinated Spine Care

    Monday December 5, 2016

    The Cotton O’Neil Neuro & Spine Center is now open and seeing patients on the first floor (main level) in the Cotton O’Neil Kanza Park building, located at 2660 S.W. Third St., north of Sixth and MacVicar.  

    Advanced, comprehensive spine care is now available at one convenient location. This new center includes five board-certified spine surgeons, a neurologist, specially trained advanced practice providers, physical therapy located on the same floor at Cotton O’Neil Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy, and onsite digital X-ray, with space for future MRI imaging. Surgical suites are located in the lower level of the building at Stormont Vail Single Day Surgery.

    A care manager at the Neuro & Spine Center will coordinate all aspects of a customized care plan with the patient and their primary care physician.

    “Patients with neck and back pain are best served by comprehensive evidence-based protocols,” said Matthew Wills, M.D., medical director for the center.

    The 10,000 square foot space offers beautiful views and has easy access from I-70. Parking and entrance for this service is on the west side of the building.

    Talk to your primary care physician about a referral to this specialty center.

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  • Stormont Vail Hospital Receives National Recognition for Excellence in Financial Interactions with Patients

    Tuesday November 22, 2016

    Stormont Vail Hospital has achieved recognition as an Adopter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA) Patient Financial Communications Best Practices®. As a best practices adopter, Stormont Vail Hospital demonstrated that it follows nearly 100 best practices covering all aspects of financial interactions that take place in a variety of care settings.

    “In a time when patients are paying more out-of-pocket for their health care, the financial conversations we have with patients have never been more important,” said Kevin Han, Stormont Vail Health vice president & Chief Financial Officer. “We have taken steps to ensure that patients are treated with compassion and respect in financial matters, and this recognition confirms that.”

    “When people are dealing with health issues, they should be focusing on their health, not trying to decipher confusing financial information,” said HFMA president and CEO Joseph J. Fifer. “Stormont Vail Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that patients have a good experience when it comes to the financial aspects of their care.”

    Stormont Vail Hospital joins a select group of hospitals, health systems and physician practices that have received this first-of-its-kind, national recognition. A blue-ribbon task force developed these best practices to help improve communication between health care providers and consumers about financial matters. The task force included representatives from major industry groups, including the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the National Patient Advocate Foundation, among others. The best practices are part of HFMA’s Healthcare Dollars & Sense® initiative. More information is available at hfma.org/dollars.

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