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Attorney General Approves Agreement Between Phoebe and Sumter

Posted on 06/10/2009
ALBANY, Ga. - The Georgia Attorney General Office has approved the lease agreement between the Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, an affiliate of Phoebe Putney Health System.

The approval follows a public hearing last month. Senior Assistant Attorney General Hearing Officer Shereen M. Walls wrote the Report of Findings approving the 40-year lease agreement, which is effective July 1.

In her ruling, Walls said that the Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority and Phoebe Putney Health System have taken the appropriate steps to ensure the transaction is authorized, that the value of the charitable assets is safeguarded, and that any proceeds of the transaction are used for appropriate charitable health purposes.

"We look forward to building a medical destination that provides for the health and wellness of the community and attracting a medical community of expert physicians and clinicians," said Joel Wernick, president and CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System.

The Phoebe Sumter Medical Center will be a medical village on 40 acres behind Granny's Kitchen, at the intersection of Highway 19 and 280. Wernick said a two-story medical office building will be first on the construction list to accommodate the needs of physicians who will be moving to the community. A second medical office building will also be constructed adjoining the hospital. A 76-bed replacement hospital is expected to be completed in 2011.

On March 1, 2007, Sumter Regional Hospital was destroyed by a tornado and much of the medical community was forced to leave. In October 2008, Phoebe Putney Health System responded to a request from the Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority to be a partner in rebuilding the Sumter hospital, which will be renamed Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

In the approved lease agreement, Phoebe Putney Health System agrees to pay no less than $25 million toward the construction of a replacement hospital and the re-building of the physician community. The approved agreement also requires Phoebe Putney Health System to guarantee the financial obligations and commitments of Phoebe Sumter.

"We are encouraged by this decision in moving forward with a progressive new medical destination," Wernick said. "A great board of local community volunteers is in place and everyone is ready to begin the work of rebuilding."

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is a part of Phoebe Putney Health System, which has several other affiliated entities, including Phoebe Worth Medical Center, Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center, Morningside of Albany, and several health clinics and medical outreach programs over Southwest Georgia."



Dr. Douglas R. Joyner Joins Sumter Regional Medical Group

Sumter Regional Hospital is pleased to announce that Dr. Douglas R Joyner, General Surgery, has joined Sumter Regional Medical Group and is currently seeing patients at 151-E Mayo Street, Americus. For an appointment call 229-931-1159.


Sumter Regional Hospital is keeping a close eye on the Swine Flu Outbreak

The first case of swine flu was recently confirmed in Georgia at the West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange, and more cases are expected to be confirmed in Georgia in the coming days.

Officials at Sumter Regional Hospital have been monitoring the situation and want the public to know that steps are in place to actively deal with a potential outbreak in Georgia.

"As a result of intense planning over the past few years, Georgia hospitals are better prepared than ever before to respond to a potential swine flu outbreak," said David Seagraves, President & CEO of Sumter Regional Hospital . "In fact, through the leadership of the Georgia Hospital Association, in the past three years, every hospital in Georgia has developed a comprehensive flu plan. We are currently in constant communication with the Georgia Division of Public Health and we are also receiving regular updates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to remain current with this evolving situation."

"The swine flu virus is not unlike other strains of flu in that its symptoms are similar and it is transmitted the same way as other influenza viruses," said Dr. Sandra Zornes, Chairman of Infection Control Committee at SRH. "The major problem is that this strain is relatively new to public health officials and humans have little or no immunity to the virus. Consequently, there are currently no vaccines for it."

"Individuals who have flu-like symptoms (which could be defined as fever greater than 100 degrees plus one or more of the following: nasal congestion, sore throat, cough) and meet current CDC criteria, listed below, should be screened for possible swine flu (H1N1) virus," said Zornes.

Close contact with a person who is confirmed, probable, or suspected case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, within the past 7 days OR
Travel to a community either within the United States or internationally where there are one or more confirmed swine influenza A (H1N1) cases within 7 days

Hospital officials, the CDC and the Georgia Division of Public Health all urge local citizens to follow normal precautions when dealing the flu or other contagious diseases.

Wash your hands often
Utilize alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water is not available
Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing
Avoid touching nose, mouth, face or eyes
If you are sick, stay home from work or school
If you do develop flu-like symptoms, visit your primary physician

Seagraves said that Georgia has been proactive when it comes to disasters and other threats, and this instance would be no different.

"Years ago, all Georgia hospitals signed a Mutual Aid Compact in which hospitals agree to assist each other in a public health crisis," said Seagraves. "This agreement is unique in the country and underlines the spirit of collaboration within the Georgia hospital community. It puts the state's hospital community in a much better position to save lives in a public health crisis."

As part of the Mutual Aid Compact, the Georgia Hospital Association created an innovative 911 Web Site which allows hospitals throughout the state to communicate and assist each other in times of crisis. Seagraves says the site also provides access to a wide variety of emergency preparedness resources that are designed to assist hospital caregivers in a crisis.

"We have seen this system in action during Hurricane Katrina and of course our own personal situation with the March 1 tornado," said Seagraves. "No one has to tell our staff that anything can happen, and just as before we will continue to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. We know how important planning and being prepared can be, and we will continue to have that type of thinking during these times."

Seagraves said that right now everyone is taking it day by day and monitoring the virus closely.

"This is a fluid situation that has the potential to change rapidly. Neither the CDC nor the Georgia Division of Public Health really knows what to expect in the coming days," said Seagraves. "The same is true for hospitals and other health care providers. While we don't know how bad this could get or how many patients may need hospitalization, we do know that every hospital is prepared."

Patients who suspect they might have a case of swine flu should first call their primary care physician.

"We strongly urge that patients do not go to hospital emergency rooms unless they are experiencing severe signs of illness," said Seagraves. "This will help prevent the spread of the virus."

Official information about the outbreak of the virus and its spread throughout Georgia can be obtained from either the Georgia Division of Public Health and/or local county health officials. This includes updated data on any possible hospitalizations of patients.

Also, the following Web sites are full of helpful, frequently updated resources on the evolving swine flu situation:

Georgia Hospital Association - www.gha.org
Georgia Division of Public Health - http://health.state.ga.us
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - www.cdc.gov




Sumter-Phoebe Letter of Intent


Public Hearing-Phoebe Lease Dec 22, 2008




ATTENTION:

Sumter Regional's Oncology & Hematology Clinic will be moving its services from Magnolia Manor to Sumter Regional Hospital (SRH) East. The first day of operation at SRH East will be Monday, April 6th.



CDC Swine Flu Information


What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).

How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possible for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.

What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.

What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.

What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact their health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.

If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

Fast breathing or trouble breathing
Bluish skin color
Not drinking enough fluids
Not waking up or not interacting
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
Sudden dizziness
Confusion
Severe or persistent vomiting




Phoebe Putney names Phoebe Sumter Board

The Phoebe Putney Health System (PPHS) Board of Directors has named a governing board for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center to oversee hospital operations when the lease of Sumter Regional Hospital to Phoebe Putney Health System is finalized this summer.

The Americus and Sumter County Hospital Authority and PPHS entered an agreement last October for the construction and subsequent operation of the facility to replace the hospital destroyed by the March 2007 tornado.

The new board members are Connie Blanchard, Ph.D.; Michael Shane Busman, M.D.; Lara Pennington Gill; Brad Lafevers; Robbie S. Latimore, Ed.D.; Frederick McLaughlin, Ed.D.; Frank Faison Middleton III, M.D.; Kerry Loudermilk; and Joel Wernick.

"With the selection of an initial local board of proven leaders who have an interest in serving the hospital, we will go forward as a team to build a medical destination that provides for the health and wellness of the community and attracts a thriving medical community of expert physicians and clinicians," said Lem Griffin, PPHS board chairman.

Joel Wernick and Dr. Frank Middleton were elected temporary chairman and vice chairman respectively and are expected to serve for the transition period.

"The new board members will be working in the governance of the new hospital, and they will come to know and respect each other's unique contributions over the coming months," said Wernick. "I fully expect that by the first of the year, as the operation has matured and moved forward through the transition, a new chair and vice chair from among the Sumter County members will have been chosen."

The closing of the lease agreement is expected to take place in July.

Copyright 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.




On the Job: Smitty Eason, OT, Sumter Regional Hospital

Robert Griffin
The Americus Times-Recorder
AMERICUS April 15, 2009 12:06 am


Family tradition is a very predominant aspect of southern culture. Mothers and fathers pass on traits and legacies to their children, hoping to raise them in the right way, and steering them in a path for success.
Growing up on a farm in Schley County, Smitty Eason always thought that he would follow in this same tradition and take up farming alongside his father. Farming was in the Eason family's blood. Eason's father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all worked the land.

Eason chose a different path in life though. Influenced by a high school counselor, who gave him a brochure on the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), and his brother, who worked as an x-ray technician for Sumter Regional Hospital, Eason decided on being a healer.

"They both opened my eyes to the different professions that there were besides nursing and being a doctor," said Eason. So Eason studied at MCG and graduated.

With degree in hand, Eason returned to Schley County where he helped his father out on the family farm. Of those two years, Eason said, "It was the two worst years that we ever had in farming history. So, I decided to use my degree." Eason did use his degree, and he has been working as an occupational therapist for the past 32 years. In that time, Eason has learned to not forget the time growing up and working on the farm.

"Growing up on the farm was one of the better parts of my education," Eason said, "because I'm convinced now, no matter how much college you give some folks, they will never have any common sense."

Sometimes his patients don't know what Eason does. "Sometimes when I go out to Magnolia Manor, " he said, "they will say 'occupational therapist, I don't need a job.' I have to tell them that their job is looking after themselves." Occupational therapy is defined by Eason as "skills for the job of living."

"I'm more of a general practitioner as far as OTs go," said Eason. "Some OTs are specialized in hands or pediatrics, but I do a little bit of it all. The main thing I deal with is adult physical disabilities, and I do a good amount of hand therapy, and stroke therapy."

Eason states that meeting people and helping them are the most rewarding parts of his job. "It's a helping profession," said Eason, "I enjoy seeing people progress from the point where they thought it was a disaster and they would never get better, to where they are getting back to their old selves."

A typical day for Eason begins around 7:30 a.m. with a visit to Magnolia Manor to check in on patients. After spending some time there, Eason will travel to Sumter Regional Hospital East to check on his patients there. After those patients are checked on, Eason handles two patients an hour until 4 p.m. "A lot of the times I put in 60-hour weeks, and it's not that big a deal," he said.

In his spare moments Eason enjoys playing guitar, singing, reading and doing handyman work around the house. He is very active in the First United Methodist Church in Americus, where he serves on the Board of Trustees, teaches Sunday School and sings in the choir. "My faith is the greatest legacy that I received from my parents," said Eason. "I have a strong faith in God, regardless of situations, there is always something for us to learn from it."

Eason and his wife Linda live in Americus. They have three children, with the two eldest daughters having also become occupational therapists, following in the footsteps of their dad.

Copyright 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Note: The information contained in this message and any attachments may be privileged and confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any reading, dissemination, distribution, copying, or other use of this communication or any of its attachments is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by replying to this message and deleting this message, any attachments, and all copies and backups from your computer. If you have received this communication in error and are unable to reply to this message, please notify the sender immediately by telephone at (229) 924-6011. Thank you. Sumter Regional Hospital.




Occupational Therapy Helps Individuals Live Life to It's Fullest

Occupational therapy enables people of all ages live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent-or live better with-injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and "best practices" that have been developed and proven over time.

April is National Occupational Therapy Month, and Sumter Regional Hospital East is proud to recognize its Rehabilitative Medicine Department as the only Occupational Therapy provider in Sumter County.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on "doing" whatever occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. It is occupational therapy's purpose to get beyond problems to the solutions that assure living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.

When working with an occupational therapy practitioner, strategies and modifications are customized for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Through these therapeutic approaches, occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments (e,g., home, school, or work) and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive.

By taking the full picture into account-a person's psychological, physical, emotional, and social makeup as well as their environment-occupational therapy assists clients to do the following:

Achieve goals

Function at the highest possible level

Concentrate on what matters most to them

Maintain or rebuild their independence

Participate in daily activities that they need or want to do.

Sumter Regional is proud of its Occupational Therapy department, which is led by Smitty Eason. Eason has more than 23 years of experience in Occupational Therapy, including 20 at SRH. He is respected by his peers throughout the state, and in 2003 he was named the Occupational Therapist of the Year.

To find out more about occupational therapy and how it might help you, please call (229) 931-1274 or visit the American Occupational Therapy Association's Web site, www.aota.org.

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA's major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "srhmail" claiming to be www.aota.org.

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