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(620) 629-6335

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2017 Community Health Fair set for Oct. 7

August 24, 2017

Southwest Medical Center has announced the 2017 Community Health Fair will take place from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Seward County Activity Center in Liberal. Admission to the event is free.

This annual event features a series of lab tests, including a comprehensive metabolic profile, lipid profile, thyroid screen and a complete blood count at a cost of $35 per person. For an additional $7, men can add PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing, which is recommended for men age 40 and older to test for signs of prostate cancer. Women may have a CEA (carcinoembryogenic antigen) screen for an additional $7 to test for certain types of cancer. An HGB A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test is also available for an additional $7 to help monitor long-term glucose control.

In addition to these tests, clinical breast exams, prostate exams, spirometry testing, pulse oximetry testing and blood pressure measurements will be offered free of charge at other Southwest Medical Center booths. Free screenings offered by the Lion’s Club mobile screening unit will include visual acuity/vision screens, field of vision tests, blood pressure, blood sugar, and hearing tests. Dr. Mona Rane will also provide free skin cancer exams and the Rotary Club of Liberal will be offering blood glucose screens.

More than 50 booths focused on health and wellness will also be on site to provide information about their organization, products, or services, in addition to providing free screenings. The Seward County Health Department is returning to the fair this year and will offer influenza vaccines at their booth. The Liberal Area Coalition for Families will also host a special kickoff to celebrate the Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant awarded by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas. A special presentation will take place at 9 a.m. at the Community Health Fair.

“Routine preventative screenings – such as those offered at the Community Health Fair – can help individuals better track their overall health and make lifestyle changes which benefit them over a lifetime,” Southwest Medical Center’s Marketing and Development Director, Keeley Moree, said. “We have a lot of visitors at our event who take advantage of these screenings to improve their health, which is exciting since the health of each individual contributes to the overall health of our communities here in Southwest Kansas.”

Cimarron Veteran & First Responder Services will cover lab testing costs for the first 100 veterans and first responders (spouses & dependents not included). Veterans are asked to present their military I.D. Veterans interested in testing may contact Chris Hickman at (620) 417-1679 for questions about eligibility.

Several businesses and organizations, including the Seward County United Way, Southern Office Supply, Conestoga Energy, ARSI, National Beef, and Southwest Medical Center, have contributed to this community event so far to keep these health screenings at a low cost.

“We can’t thank our event sponsors enough for their support,” Moree said. “Some visitors rely on these free and low-cost screenings each year, so we are very appreciative of our sponsors who allow us to keep these testing costs low for our attendees.”

Admission to the fair is free for the general public and no pre-registration is required for lab tests or screenings. All visitors interested in having the above lab tests done at the health fair should plan to fast for at least eight hours prior to testing. Concessions will be provided by the Seward County United Way at the Activity Center.

For more information about attending or sponsoring the 2017 Community Health Fair, please contact Keeley Moree at (620) 629-6335 or Rachel Brost at (620) 629-6424.

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Southwest Medical Center welcomes Dr. McGroarty as ER Medical Director

July 24, 2017

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the appointment of Edwin McGroarty, M.D. as the Medical Director of the Emergency Room at Southwest Medical Center.

Dr. McGroarty has been a physician for 20 years and served 10 years of Naval service. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. He is employed by Envision Physician Services, which contracts with SWMC to provide staffing and schedule coverage of the emergency room by highly skilled physicians.

Duties of the ER Medical Director include coordinating with members of the medical staff to provide emergency services to patients, working with support departments to coordinate high-quality services for patients, providing input on EMS systems and disaster planning, and observing community trends to implement care procedures specific to population needs.

SWMC Emergency Department Director, Jandi Head, R.N., explains that Dr. McGroarty’s experience and leadership abilities are a benefit to patients in our community.

“Dr. McGroarty has knowledge in adult and pediatric emergency medicine, flexibility and adaptability to help us keep up with the constant changes in healthcare, compassion for members in our community, the ability to communicate well, and the desire to address issues and concerns to work towards excellent patient care,” Head said. She added that, “Our team loves working with him. He has shown tremendous care to staff, members of our community, and he is great with our patients. We are excited to be working with him to make Southwest Medical Center an excellent place to receive care.”

Dr. McGroarty said he is looking forward to serving patients in Southwest Kansas to continue to serve the medical needs of our community.

“I came to SWMC mainly because of the people here,” McGroarty said. “I knew some of the nurses, docs, and patients, and they were instrumental in convincing me it was the right place for me to be.”

Dr. McGroarty explained that keeping quality healthcare close to home continues to be the mission of the SWMC Emergency Department.

“As a department, our goals are to provide excellent evidence-based care, meet the needs of the community and the local medical providers, and to do so in an efficient manner,” McGroarty said.

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Southwest Medical Center welcomes Dr. Pingal Desai, Orthopedic & Sports Medicine physician

April 17, 2017Desai Hospital

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the arrival of orthopedic and sports medicine physician, Pingal Desai, M.D., to the Liberal community. Dr. Desai joins SWMC’s new Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Care Center.

Dr. Desai was born and raised in India. He says his father, a dermatologist, and mother, an OB/GYN physician, both contributed to his interest in pursuing the field of medicine.

“When I was a kid, I used to help my mom and dad in the hospital by bringing patients in and out for their visits,” Desai said. “That experience at a young age encouraged me to go into medicine.”

Dr. Desai explained that orthopedic medicine and surgery has always held a special interest to him.

“In India, orthopedics was always more of an ‘emergency’ specialty. I watched one of my cousins go through a lot of hardship for treatment of a fractured elbow,” he said. “That really motivated me to fill a need in the world for orthopedic care.”

Dr. Desai completed medical school and orthopedic residency in India before spending more than a decade practicing medicine in academic and private hospitals. In 2007, he moved his family to the United States and has worked in multiple fellowship programs to further his skills and training, including the areas of musculoskeletal oncology, sports medicine, orthopedic trauma, metabolic bone diseases, and joint replacement. He also earned distinction as a Certified Wound Specialist Physician from the American Board of Wound Management in 2016.

Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, says Desai’s role on the medical team is important to keeping quality healthcare close to home.

“Dr. Desai comes to us with a broad range of skills and experience,” Ermann said. “We were very selective in finding an orthopedic surgeon with a sports medicine background so we could bring these services back to Southwest Kansas. Having Dr. Desai on our team gives our community more access to quality orthopedic services, especially for emergency cases.”

Dr. Desai says practicing at Southwest Medical Center will allow him the opportunity to address a variety of patient needs.

“Liberal has a very young population, and many people here play some type of sport. There are many sports medicine issues related to orthopedics, so I want to help patients in this community heal,” Desai explained. “I would also like to help patients using the Wound Care Center here, especially with our diabetic population. I’m here to share my knowledge and experience with my patients to help them reach the best outcome they can, whether it involves surgery or another therapy.”

“In India, I lived in a small town,” Desai added. “Like my hometown, people here are cooperative and they know you by name and face. Everyone in Liberal and at this hospital is very friendly, so I’m excited to come here and be a part of this community.”

Dr. Pingal Desai has joined the new Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Care Center located at 305 W. 15th Street, Suite 102 inside the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center. Dr. Desai accepts new patients and most major insurances, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. For questions about services provided by Dr. Desai, or to make an appointment, please call (620) 624-0732.

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Southwest Medical Center Receives an “A” for Patient Safety in Spring 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

April 14, 2017

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide.  Southwest Medical Center was one of 823 hospitals to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.

“We care about every patient coming into our hospital and care centers,” Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “Because we care, our team has devoted themselves to creating the safest environment possible for our patients to receive excellent care. This ‘A’ rating is a team accomplishment and is reflective of our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to patients and our entire community.”

“Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, ‘have achieved  the highest safety standards in the country,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”

Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.

About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About Southwest Medical Center

Located in Liberal, Kansas, Southwest Medical Center operates as a not-for-profit acute care hospital. Southwest Medical Center is a business entity governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Board of County Commissioners of Seward County, Kansas, and an administration selected by the Board of Trustees. No taxes are levied by the Board of County Commissioners of Seward County, Kansas, for operating, maintaining, equipping and improving the hospital. Since 1964, Southwest Medical Center has become a regional medical center serving patients from a five-state region of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. As the hospital evolves in a changing industry one of our continuing goals is to provide “Quality Healthcare Close to Home.” This means recruiting and retaining highly skilled physicians, investing in state-of-the-art medical technology and providing compassionate patient service.

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Quilting Comfort

April 7, 2017

For members of Liberal’s Grace Lutheran Church, a trip to the receiving dock at Southwest Medical Center means another cycle in their ministry is about to begin.

As dozens of boxes are loaded into vehicles, volunteers gather at the church to receive this new delivery of cotton blankets, sheets, and heavy blankets simply referred to as “gold.” These used fabrics are carried into a classroom at the church which has been filled with bookcases of colorful fabrics, threads and tables on which layers of fabric rest ready to be transformed into quilts for recipients in need of comfort and warmth.

Sherry Fick, a founding member of Grace Lutheran Church’s ministry, explains that quilting has always been a

Grace Lutheran Church quilting volunteer, Sherry Fick, right, and her daughter, Shelisa, load boxes of donated fabric from Southwest Medical Center to be sorted, dyed, and converted into quilts for local recipients.

Grace Lutheran Church quilting volunteer, Sherry Fick, right, and her daughter, Shelisa, load boxes of donated fabric from Southwest Medical Center to be sorted, dyed, and converted into quilts for local recipients.

longstanding tradition for Lutheran churches around the world. Grace Lutheran Church of Liberal began their quilting ministry just over a year ago.

Although their team of around a dozen volunteers felt 100 quilts would be a far-reaching goal, more than 220 quilts were completed in their first year of service. Most quilts completed stay close to the community and are donated to a variety of recipients in need – including fire victims, homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation programs, veteran’s assisted living homes and more.

Producing hundreds of quilts is no easy task, but there are many helping hands which transform these used fabrics along the way. As linens are taken out of use by Southwest Medical Center for patient care, SWMC Environmental Services Director, Pam Toney, reaches out to the group to arrange pick-up of these items. Volunteers then sort fabrics according to size and how the material will be used.

“Once the sheets are sorted, we have a lady at our church who helps dye these,” Fick said. “We never worry too

The Southwest Medical Center logo is found among fabric at Grace Lutheran Church. These dyed sheets are part of the fabric used in quilts which benefit many local recipients of the church’s quilting ministry.

The Southwest Medical Center logo is found among fabric at Grace Lutheran Church. These dyed sheets are part of the fabric used in quilts which benefit many local recipients of the church’s quilting ministry.

much about what colors they’re dyed because miraculously, we always have a top which will match the colors.”

After fabrics are dyed, they’re matched with appropriate fabrics, ironed, and eventually laid out on tables for quilting. Grace Lutheran volunteer, Susie Engelman, typically helps in the matching process and arranges the fabrics to be quilted by others.

The final process involves sewing the final edges together. Fick said this takes about 20 minutes for an adult size quilt on a sewing machine, and that they have a volunteer who stepped in to fill that need.

“One day after church, Lewis Winkler approached us and asked who is in charge of the quilting,” Fick said.  “He said, ‘I could sew your quilts for you.’ So we put him to work while Susie was out for a trip.”

“He’s been doing our bindings ever since,” Engelman said with a laugh.

“There’s something for everybody, you don’t have to have a special talent,” Fick said. “That’s what we try to emphasize – we can also teach you how to quilt and you would be off and running.”

Engelman explained one of the team’s favorite tasks is searching out fabrics for quilt tops. She makes time to

Quilting volunteers Pam Toney, left, April Davis, Sherry Fick, and Susie Engelman, gather together in their “quilting classroom” at Grace Lutheran Church in Liberal. More than a dozen volunteers worked to produce more than 220 quilts in their first year of quilting together.

Quilting volunteers Pam Toney, left, April Davis, Sherry Fick, and Susie Engelman, gather together in their “quilting classroom” at Grace Lutheran Church in Liberal. More than a dozen volunteers worked to produce more than 220 quilts in their first year of quilting together.

search for fabrics with her sister, April, at yard sales and thrift shops. Most often, donated supplies help the quilting team meet the needs of recipients.

“One donation we received are our repurposed quilting tables. All our tables were recycled and built for us by one of our church members, Udell Lofland, to be able to quilt on,” Engelman said. “It’s also really nice to receive the sheets from the hospital. If they’re something others can no longer use, we can take the fabric and turn it into something really special for someone else.”

“These are hand-made pieces of comfort for the people that receive them,” Fick added.

Grace Lutheran Church’s ministry not only benefits the recipients of these quilts, but allows members to fellowship over fabric in a way that’s created lifelong friendships.

“Anytime I have stress in my life, I can come here, spend time with my friends, quilt, and work on something to

help someone else,” Fick added. “When you do that, all your problems see to disappear. We really enjoy the work we’ve done together.”

As the quilting team enters their second year of ministry, they welcome new volunteers to join them in their work – whether through the donation of time, quilting talents, or the donation of supplies. Those interested in the Grace Lutheran Church quilting ministry can contact Sherry Fick at (620) 655-1755 or Susie Engelman at (620) 255-9242.

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SWMC announces 2nd annual #breakthesilence 5K

March 20, 2017SWSAS 5K Logo Small - Copy

Southwest Medical Center has announced its second annual #breakthesilence 5K will take place on Saturday, April 22 at North Blue Bonnet Park in Liberal.

The #breakthesilence 5K fundraiser supports the Southwest Sexual Assault Services (SWSAS) program at Southwest Medical Center, which launched in May 2016.  Southwest Sexual Assault Services is a program comprised of trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE’s) who provide medical forensic exams for victims of sexual assault in Southwest Kansas and the surrounding region. SWSAS is an agency of the Seward County United Way.

Between May and December 2016, 18 sexual assault exams were performed with 22 total patient interactions at Southwest Medical Center, resulting in more than 90 hours spent by SANE nurses performing exams, completing forensic kits, and clinical documentation. Funds raised by this race and community donations support continued educational training and equipment needs for this service.

SWSAS program coordinator, Jandi Head, R.N., explains the name of the race was chosen by SANE nurses at SWMC and community partners from the Liberal Police Department to bring awareness to the services provided by SWSAS and encourage victims to seek the support and treatment they deserve.

“We had more than 45 participants walk or run in our first 5K last September,” Head said. “It was very powerful to see people in our community come together to support this important service in our region. This year we moved our race to the month of April to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and will have information available at the event regarding the SWSAS program and many additional support services in our community.”

Medals will be awarded to the top three runners in each age division. Brown’s Shoe Fit will also be awarding three pairs of athletic shoes. Door prizes will be drawn for all walking and running participants following the race.

The #breakthesilence 5K is scheduled for Saturday, April 22 at North Blue Bonnet Park. Registration is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the park gazebo. The 5K walk begins at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K run is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

Registration for the walk and run is available online at Active.com, or by calling (620) 629-6335. Registration for the benefit 5K is $30 for adults and $15 for kids 16 and under. Participants who register by April 10 are guaranteed to receive a free race t-shirt. Online and on-site registration will increase to $40 for adults and $20 for kids on April 22.

For more information about the #breakthesilence 5K, please call (620) 629-6335 or email kmoree@swmedcenter.com.

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SWMC opens 15th Street Family Care CenterFCC Logo

February 9, 2017

Southwest Medical Center has continued towards expanding medical services for the community this month with the opening of the new 15th Street Family Care Center, located at 555 W. 15th Street in Liberal. The new center combines two primary care clinics which were formerly located inside the hospital’s Medical Office Building, as well as a local pediatric clinic.

The 15th Street Family Care Center features both family medicine and pediatric providers, with the addition of Family Care Centerinternal medicine providers expected in the future. Family Medicine providers at the center include Dr. Rohitha Inturi; Dr. Van Trinh; Linsey Carter, APRN-C; Laura Kane, APRN-C; and Britt Short, APRN-C. Local pediatrician, Dr. Gurpreet Randhawa, and Tracy Fowler, APRN-C have joined Southwest Medical Center as employed providers, and will provide care for patients ages 18 and under at the center.

“Relocating Southwest Medical Center’s primary care clinics became a necessity with the successful recruitment of two general surgeons, Dr. Ehanire and Dr. Azefor; our urologist, Dr. Darwiche; and a new orthopedic and sports medicine physician arriving this spring,” SWMC’s Vice-President of Clinic Operations, Mark Cowan, explained. “As we looked at our available space, it became clear that moving these providers into one location off-campus would best serve patients visiting our new care centers in the future.”

The 15th Street Family Care Center building was purchased in summer 2016 and has been renovated to include Family Care Center Room16 exam rooms. The expanded space allows for these seven providers to care for patients of all ages.

The 15th Street Family Care Center accepts new patients, walk-in patients, and most major insurances, including: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. The care center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with extended evening hours available.

For more information about services provided or to schedule an appointment at the 15th Street Family Care Center, call (620) 624-0702 or visit the center at 555 W. 15th Street in Liberal.

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SWMC Auxiliary celebrates community volunteers

February 3, 2017

Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary volunteers recognized 38 volunteers for more than 60,000 combined hours of service to the hospital and Liberal community during an awards ceremony in January at Southwest Medical Center.

Members of the Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary attended a ceremony during January to celebrate more than 60,000 hours of combined service to Southwest Medical Center and the community.

Members of the Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary attended a ceremony during January to celebrate more than 60,000 hours of combined service to Southwest Medical Center and the community.

Award recipients were presented by Auxiliary President, Linda Staiger, as follows: 50 hours – Leanna Ediger; 100 hours – Connie Posl; 200 hours – Dena Allen, Pam Dorris, Susan James, Sheila Kilgore, Pat Morlen; 300 hours –Linda McCullough;  400 hours –Aleta Arnold, Don Devinney, Marian McCaulley; 600 hours –Jill Pittman, Connie Richmeier; 700 hours – Mary Amerin, Katie Berg, Bob Oblander; 800 hours –Mickey Durbin, Juneil McQueen; 900 hours – Jane Devinney, Sue Farmer; 1,000 hours –Barbara Hanson; 1,100 hours – Judy Shelman; 1,300 hours – Eula Kittle; 1,400 hours – Velma Colter, Barbara Perkins; 1,800 hours – Marilyn Thompson; 2,000 hours – Mary Downs; 2,100 hours – Alice Hill; 2,200 hours – Cheryl Carson; 2,800 hours – Jonice Oblander; 4,200 hours – Aneta Compton, Linda Staiger; 4,600 hours – Sharon Garcia, Connie McPhail; 4,800 hours – Saundra Koochel; 7,400 hours – Jana Widener; 8,000 hours – Susan Zielke; and “Too Many to Count” – Kay Hay.

Staiger and Southwest Medical Center CEO, Bill Ermann, thanked volunteers for their continued efforts in serving the patients and families who visit Southwest Medical Center, as well raising funds for special projects in the hospital through work in the Auxiliary’s gift shop and snack bar.

The Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary welcomes volunteers of all ages to become involved in serving Southwest Medical Center. The annual membership fee for the Auxiliary is $5, which is applied towards medical scholarships. Those interested in becoming a member can contact the SWMC Gift Shop at (620) 629-6899 for more information.

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SWMC welcomes Franklin, New Year’s baby 2017

January 2, 2017

Franklin Jose Samonte takes a nap inside the Southwest Medical Center nursery on Monday morning. Baby Franklin arrived on New Year’s Day as Liberal’s first newborn of 2017.

Franklin Jose Samonte takes a nap inside the Southwest Medical Center nursery on Monday morning. Baby Franklin arrived on New Year’s Day as Liberal’s first newborn of 2017.

Southwest Medical Center celebrated the arrival of Liberal’s first newborn of 2017 during the evening hours on New Year’s Day. Franklin Jose Samonte was delivered by Dr. Lamberto “BJ” Flores at 5:07 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Baby Franklin was born to new parents, Zen and Jun Samonte, of Hugoton. He weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 19.5 inches in length.

The team at Southwest Medical Center cared for 759 total newborn deliveries in 2016.

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SWMC receives stroke readiness designation

November 14, 2016

Southwest Medical Center achieved special designation this month as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital (ESRH) from the Kansas State Stroke Task Force.

ESRH designation is awarded to hospitals who comply with criteria for diagnosis, treatment, and transportation of acute stroke patients in the state of Kansas. Southwest Medical Center joins 66 ESRH hospitals in the state as part of the Kansas Initiative for Stroke Survival (KISS) network.

Southwest Medical Center, which launched telemedicine services for stroke and neurology in January, has also implemented written emergent stroke care protocols, conducted stroke drills, provided comprehensive staff training, and began participation in the state’s stroke quality improvement program this year to attain this designation.

“SWMC is committed to providing excellent care for patients that present to the Emergency Department with stroke symptoms,” said Jandi Head, SWMC ER Nurse Manager and Stroke Coordinator.  “Meeting the quality standards required for the ESRH Designation and partnering with the stroke centers in our region translates into improved outcomes for our patients who are diagnosed with a stroke. We are so proud of our staff and physicians for their commitment to providing highest level of stroke care to our community.  Their teamwork and dedication to this project will save lives and improve outcomes of stroke patients by providing timely identification and treatment.”

Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said stroke readiness continues to be an important component in serving the community.

“Stroke continues to be a leading cause of death in our county. We know that through community education and early intervention, we can help save the lives of stroke victims coming through our doors,” Ermann said. “Our focus is to serve the specific needs of our community, and our achievement in stroke readiness this year has been a reflection of our commitment to do what is best for our patients as we continue to keep quality healthcare close to home in Southwest Kansas.”

ESRH hospitals must annually attest to the Kansas State Stroke Task Force for continued compliance with designation criteria. More information about Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital designation is available at www.kissnetwork.us.

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SWMC Auxiliary earns Gold Award

October 19, 2016

The Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary volunteer team received the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas’s Gold Award for 2016 at the Kansas Hospital Association convention.

The Gold Award is the highest level in the Award of Excellence category, and is provided to auxiliary groups who go above and beyond to promote community health and assist the hospitals they serve. HAK member auxiliaries have more than 7,500 members across 59 participating auxiliary groups in Kansas.

This past year the Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary hosted the District 6 meeting in Liberal and arranged for health education and legislative programs at this event. The Auxiliary also contributed to health career scholarships for local students and participated in membership drives, in addition to providing many additional hours of support to visitors on the surgical floor and inside the Southwest Medical Center Gift Shop.

Another Auxiliary contribution to patients and visitors at Southwest Medical Center this year included providing funds to purchase new furniture to accompany renovations to patient rooms. Recliner beds, glider chairs, and over-bed tables were purchased to furnish patient rooms, in addition to the purchase of a patient lift to be used in the Emergency Department. Overall, these equipment purchases totaled more than $40,000 dollars.

“The Gold Award recognizes the dedication and devotion of our auxiliary volunteers who partner with all of us to provide service to our community,” Southwest Medical Center President & CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “We are appreciative of the investment these volunteers put into our community hospital, and we enjoy working alongside them to provide the very best experience for our patients and visitors.”

Southwest Medical Center’s Auxiliary volunteers are always seeking new members of all ages to serve the Liberal community. Annual membership dues of $5 a year are applied towards local medical scholarships, and members can participate in service activities which support patient care.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the SWMC Auxiliary, please contact the SWMC Auxiliary Gift Shop at (620) 629-6899.

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SWMC welcomes Dr. Imudia Ehanire to Liberal

August 24, 2016Dr Imudia Ehanire

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the arrival of general surgeon, Imudia Ehanire, M.D., M.B.A., to the Liberal community. Dr. Ehanire joined Southwest Medical Center’s surgical team this month as part of the Southwest Professional Physicians (SWPP) General Surgery clinic.

Dr. Ehanire was raised in Nigeria before moving to the United States to complete her education and pursue a degree in medicine. She explains her passion for the medical field began at an early age.

“My dad is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and my mom is an ENT surgeon,” Ehanire said. “My dad was a very good story teller. He would tell us stories about the ancient Greeks and tales from Nigeria, but he would also tell us stories about his work. He talked about patients he had seen, the burns he repaired, and about the bones he had put back together. That really sparked my imagination as a little girl wanting to learn more about medicine.”

Ehanire added her interest in medicine only grew after having the opportunity to travel to work with her father and help check on patients around the age of seven. Years later, she graduated Magna cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Mount Saint Mary’s College, and completed her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ehanire says working as a surgeon came naturally to her as she was deciding upon her medical specialty.

“I knew a lot about surgery and I really enjoy working with my hands. In terms of creativity, I draw a lot and I love putting things together, so the idea of being able to help people by working with my hands pulled me toward surgery,” Ehanire added, “There’s something very gratifying about fixing a problem for someone through surgery.”

In addition to her medical degree, Ehanire also obtained her Master’s in Business Administration.

“I pursued my MBA because I wanted to know more about finance,” Ehanire said. “I’m very interested in hospital administration and the efficient running of a hospital, including quality improvement, cost effectiveness, and excellent patient care.”

Dr. Ehanire says excellent outcomes and providing education for each patient are both important components of her care philosophy.

“I hope patients walk away with a good understanding of what has happened – of what we did and what the outcome was,” Ehanire said. “It’s very important to me that my patients understand their care process and that they are satisfied with the care that they’ve received.”

Dr. Imudia Ehanire will be joining Dr. Jose Maeda at the Southwest Professional Physicians General Surgery Clinic at 305 W. 15th Street, Suite 204 inside the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center. Dr. Ehanire is accepting new patients and most major insurances, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. For questions about services performed by Dr. Ehanire, please call (620) 624-4946 or visit www.swppclinics.com.

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SWMC welcomes Dr. Fadi Darwiche to Liberal

August 2, 2016

Dr. DarwicheSouthwest Medical Center is proud to announce the arrival of a urology physician, Fadi Darwiche, M.D., to the Liberal community. Dr. Darwiche joined SWMC’s provider team this month, bringing new, specialized medical services and many years of experience to the Southwest Professional Physicians (SWPP) Urology Clinic.

Dr. Darwiche grew up in Lebanon as one of four children in his family. He says his love for learning led him to the medical field.

“Nobody in our family had studied medicine before, I was the only one,” Darwiche said. “I was a good student, and I really liked science and biology, so it’s been a good fit for me.”

His passion for learning has carried him and his family around the globe since graduating from Saint-Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon in 2000. Dr. Darwiche went on to complete a fellowship in urologic oncology and reconstructive urology at the Bichat University Hospital in Paris before practicing urology in Lebanon, Qatar, and Saudia Arabia.

“Every day there’s more innovation and discoveries in medicine, as well as changes in treatment techniques,” Darwiche said.

After more than a dozen years of practice in the Middle East, Dr. Darwiche progressed in his career with training in the latest urological practices during clinical fellowships in urologic oncology at the Miami University and Jackson Memorial hospitals. He completed his most recent fellowship training in urologic oncology and robotic surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.

“I have good experience in the field of urology, and I feel I can serve the community well,” Darwiche said.

Dr. Darwiche explained that urology is a specialty practice, and there are many urologic conditions and disorders to treat, including cancer, stones, urinary infections, erectile dysfunction, fertility disorders in men, incontinence in men and women, and neurologic bladder issues. He says this diverse range of conditions and surgical procedures helped draw him towards practicing urology.

“I like surgery – it’s all about hand skills. If you like to work with your hands, you like surgery,” Darwiche explained. “In medicine, you do rotations in different specialties, and something in my mind preferred urology.”

Dr. Darwiche said his goal with each patient is to treat their symptoms or disease, and to provide support to his patients as they overcome their medical condition.

Dr. Darwiche is joined by his wife of 10 years, Hanan, and their two daughters – Aya, 8, and Zeina, 5. He says after all his traveling and training, he’s looking forward to the opportunity to raise his kids in a small community and bring new urology services to Liberal and surrounding areas.

Dr. Fadi Darwiche will be located in the Southwest Professional Physicians General Surgery Clinic at 305 W. 15th Street, Suite 204 inside the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center. Dr. Darwiche is accepting new patients and most major insurances, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. For questions about services performed by Dr. Darwiche, please call (620) 624-4946 or visit www.swppclinics.com.

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SWMC Earns ‘A’ Grade for Patient Safety in April 2016 Hospital Safety Score

May 23, 2016

New Hospital Safety Scores, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide and provide the most complete picture of patient safety in the U.S. health care system, were announced by The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog. Southwest Medical Center was one of 798 hospitals to receive an A, ranking among the safest hospitals in the United States.

“We care about our patients’ safety and comfort,” Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “Because we care, we’ve placed heavy emphasis on how our entire hospital team plays a part in creating a safe environment for our patients to receive excellent care. Our ‘A’ rating is an accomplishment which our whole team and community can celebrate.”

“Avoidable deaths in hospitals should be the number one concern of our health care leaders. Hospitals that earn an ‘A’ from Leapfrog are leaders in saving lives, and we commend them and urge their continued vigilance,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. For the first time, the Hospital Safety Score includes five measures of patient-reported experience with the hospital as well as two of the most common infections, C.diff and MRSA. To see Southwest Medical Center’s full score, and to access consumer-friendly tips for patients and loved ones visiting the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org or follow The Hospital Safety Score on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Hospital Safety Score mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

About The Leapfrog Group

Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey collects and transparently reports hospital performance, empowering purchasers to find the highest-value care and giving consumers the lifesaving information they need to make informed decisions. Hospital Safety Score, Leapfrog’s other main initiative, assigns letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.

About Southwest Medical Center

Located in Liberal, Kansas, Southwest Medical Center operates as a not-for-profit acute care hospital. Southwest Medical Center is a business entity governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Board of County Commissioners of Seward County, Kansas, and an administration selected by the Board of Trustees. No taxes are levied by the Board of County Commissioners of Seward County, Kansas, for operating, maintaining, equipping and improving the hospital. Since 1964, Southwest Medical Center has become a regional medical center serving patients from a five-state region of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. As the hospital evolves in a changing industry one of our continuing goals is to provide “Quality Healthcare Close to Home.” This means recruiting and retaining highly skilled physicians, investing in state-of-the-art medical technology and providing compassionate patient service.

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SWMC challenges community to think FAST

April 29, 2016

If someone you knew were experiencing a stroke, would you know the warning signs?

Southwest Medical Center demonstrated its stroke alert process through a stroke simulation using new telemedicine service technology. Telemedicine services at SWMC provide 24/7 access to trained neurologists for patients who present with a stroke or other emergent neurological condition. The stroke simulation experience walked a mock patient through steps to recognize signs of a stroke, as well as how medical treatment takes place.

EMS

Stacy Michelle, left, with the Seward County EMS crew speaks with stroke demonstration patient, Cheryl Collins, about the signs of a stroke, and how the EMS team works with Southwest Medical Center to initiate a stroke alert during transport. One sign that’s common in a stroke is facial drooping, or the inability of facial muscles to form an even smile.

Dr. Stephen Resnick, Southwest Medical Center’s emergency department Medical Director,  explained that the F.A.S.T. acronym is the easiest way to catch the warning signs of a stroke.

The F.A.S.T. approach stands for: face, arm, speech, and time. When a stroke occurs, the loss of blood flow to certain areas of the brain can disrupt communication and basic body functions, including the following:

  • Face – a person experiencing a stroke may show drooping on one side of their face near the eyes or lips due to loss of muscle control. Look for an uneven smile.
  • Arm – during a stroke, muscle weakness may affect one side of the body. Ask the person to hold their arms in front of them with their palms facing up. Next, have this person close their eyes and continue to hold out their arms. Seeing one arm drift down may indicate muscle weakness.
  • Speech – a person having a stroke may experience trouble communicating. Listen for slurred speech, or responses where the order of words in a sentence becomes mixed up.

The F.A.S.T. acronym ends with “time.” Determining the last time a person seemed normal can be important information in treating possible stroke. Time is also an important factor in recovery. The faster a patient can be treated for stroke, the less damage there is to a person’s brain. Fast treatment can also allow a patient to recover basic functions in speech and muscle movement, whereas others may suffer permanent loss of function or communication abilities.

Dr. Resnick stressed that calling 911 at the first signs of a stroke will help bring the best recovery outcome for a person suffering from possible stroke. Having new telemedicine services available at Southwest Medical Center also leads to faster diagnosis and treatment to improve a person’s survival and quality of life.

When a call to 911 comes in for a possible stroke, responding Seward County EMS crews assist in the early stage of a stroke alert by evaluating a patient during transport and collecting important information about the patient’s health status.  In communication with SWMC’s emergency department, a stroke alert may be issued within the hospital to prepare the stroke response team, physicians, and the Diagnostic Imaging department for the arrival of a stroke patient. Depending on a patient’s initial evaluation, EMS crews may be instructed to unload a patient from the ambulance and transport them directly to CT technologists to conduct a CT scan upon arrival.

Robot

SWMC’s Emergency Department Medical Director, Dr. Stephen Resnick, works alongside Dr. Jeffrey Wagner, a telemedicine neurologist, to set a plan of care for Cheryl Collins, who served as a patient in this simulated stroke alert. During a stroke, time between onset and treatment is essential in helping to reduce damage to the brain and restoring basic functions.

Next, CT images are uploaded immediately for reading by radiologists and neurologists available through SWMC’s telemedicine program. Inside an emergency room, nursing staff and the emergency physician set up a call using a telemedicine robot. This robot serves as a communication tool between the patient, family members, stroke team, ER physician, and an off-site neurologist who can evaluate the patient’s physical condition and CT scan to help determine the best treatment for a patient experiencing a stroke. This fast-paced, well-coordinated response ensures proper treatment is provided as quickly as possible.

When a stroke is identified and treatment is sought quickly, certain medications may be given to possibly reduce or resolve the effects of a stroke. This medication may only be given within 3 to 4.5 hours of the initial onset of stroke symptoms, which is why it is important to act quickly when a stroke is suspected. The effects of a stroke can be life-threatening and debilitating. Southwest Medical Center’s stroke team encourages our community to think F.A.S.T. and dial 911 if you recognize someone showing signs of a stroke.

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SWMC general surgeon Dr. Rory Howard passes away

March 23, 2016

Rory James Howard, M.D., general surgeon at Southwest Medical Center, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, March 21. He was 56.

Dr. Rory Howard

Dr. Howard was a highly respected member of the medical community and was serving as Chief of Staff for Southwest Medical Center’s medical staff at the time of his passing.

An accomplished surgeon, Dr. Howard earned many achievements during his

career in medicine. He was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

In addition, Dr. Howard served our country for many years in the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a preventative medicine specialist for two years preceding his studies at West Point. Prior to medical school, Dr. Howard served more than eight years active duty with one of his last tours as an officer in the medical troop for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda, Germany.

Dr. Howard moved to Liberal from Alaska in April 2012 along with his wife, Rhonda, and his children, Deanna and Rory II. During his career at Southwest Medical Center, Dr. Howard performed thousands of procedures and was instrumental in the launch of our Wound Care Center.

“Dr. Howard’s legacy as a skilled surgeon will be remembered by many in our community,” Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “Dr. Howard provided excellent care to his patients, and was an influential member of our medical team. He took the time to connect with his patients on a personal level and helped set many lives on the path to recovery. We are all thinking of his family during this difficult time.”

Memorial service will be at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, March 28 at All Nations Church with Pastor Jimmy Holman presiding.  Additional services will take place in Buffalo, NY with burial at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Viewing of the body will take place on Monday from 9 to 11:00 a.m. at Brenneman Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be given to the Seward County Community College Foundation for Surgical Technology Scholarships or to All Nations Church.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.brennemanfuneralhome.com.

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SWMC Designated Blue Distinction® Center+ for Maternity Care by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

February 24, 2016

In an effort to help prospective parents find hospitals that deliver quality, affordable maternity care, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas announced Southwest Medical Center has been designated as one of the first hospitals to receive the Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation, a new designation under the Blue Distinction® Specialty Care program.

Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care, an expansion of the national Blue Distinction Specialty Care program, are hospitals recognized for delivering quality specialty care safely and effectively, based on objective measures developed with input from the medical community. To receive a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, a hospital must also meet requirements for cost efficiency. Hospitals were assessed using a combination of publicly available quality information and cost measures derived from Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies’ medical claims.

“Providing the best quality of care for our patients is at the forefront of everything we do,” Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “We have a caring community of providers and team members who commit themselves to the highest standards in medicine not only for maternity care, but across all the services we provide. This designation speaks to the great efforts our team has put into providing quality healthcare close to home in Southwest Kansas.”

“Improving quality of care while also attaining cost efficiency is integral to transforming the health care system, so we are proud to recognize Southwest Medical Center for demonstrating higher levels of quality, expertise and efficiency resulting in better maternity care for our members,” said Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO.

Nearly four million babies are born in the U.S. annually, making childbirth the most common cause of hospitalization. This new Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. Compared with babies born 39 weeks or later, early term infants face higher risks of infant death and respiratory ailments such as respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and respiratory failure, among other conditions. These babies also have a higher rate of admission to neonatal intensive care units.

In addition, hospitals that receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Maternity Care designation agreed to meet requirements that align with principles that support evidence-based practices of care, as well as having initiated programs to promote successful breastfeeding, as described in the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative by Baby-Friendly USA or the Mother-Friendly Hospital program by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through its “Ten Steps of Mother-Friendly Care.” The program also evaluates hospitals on overall patient satisfaction, including a willingness to recommend the hospital to others.

Since 2006, the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program has helped patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery, and transplants. Research shows that compared to other facilities, those designated as Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients. On average, Blue Distinction Centers+ are also 20 percent more cost-efficient than non-Blue Distinction Center+ designated health care facilities.

For more information about the program, please visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.

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SWMC introduces telemedicine services

February 19, 2016

Southwest Medical Center has launched new stroke and neurology services for Southwest Kansas through partnership with Wesley Medical Center’s WesleyCare Telemedicine Network (WCTN).

This telemedicine service available through SWMC uses robotic technology to connect patients experiencing a stroke or neurological event with an off-site neurologist who can work with an SWMC emergency room physician to diagnose and establish a course of treatment for patients.

“Our team will have 24/7 access to board-certified, stroke-trained neurologists who can help make the best call in medical care for the patient and their family,” Southwest Medical Center Emergency Department director, Jandi Head, RN, explained.Telemedicine Robot

Telemedicine technology uses a mobile robotic cart with an onboard computer, monitor, high-resolution camera, and microphone to simultaneously transmit the audio and video portions of a physician consult.  Patient medical records, including radiology scans performed at Southwest Medical Center, can be accessed by the neurologist. The patient, local provider, and the neurologist can conduct online calls anywhere there is an internet connection.

Telemedicine Program developer and neurologist, Dr. Chris Fanale, stresses that every moment counts when handling a stroke, as damage to the brain worsens with time until treated.

“Having this state-of-the-art telemedicine program puts the stroke specialist instantly in the room with a patient and ER physician.  As a stroke neurologist, I can have a conversation with the patient and family, examine the patient’s ability to move and speak, and even zoom in to assess pupil reactivity. We can talk to EMS and ER staff, and assess monitors and vital signs immediately. There is no other system in the region that is currently offering this level of care to stroke victims.”

Neurology services available through SWMC include consults for first-time seizures, status epilepticus, severe headache, neuro-muscular emergencies, subarachnoid hemorrhage, altered mental status, and sub-acute stroke.

Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, says this new telemedicine service helps to provide excellent care for patients close to home.

“Bringing stroke and neurology services to Southwest Kansas using telemedicine allows us to better serve patients’ needs,” Ermann explained. “Southwest Medical Center’s partnership with the neurology group will allow stroke-trained neurologists to decide whether a transfer needs to be made, and in some cases may help to eliminate unnecessary travel and treatment time lost for these patients and their families.”

According to WCTN, there are currently about 200 telemedicine networks, with 3,500 service sites in the United States. More than half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of telemedicine.

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Southwest Medical Center’s SANE-trained nurses accept a donation on behalf of the Southwest Sexual Assault Services program from representatives of the Southern Pioneer Electric Company H.U.G.S team. Pictured from left to right: Yvette Alaniz, RN; Farrah Gomez, RN; Colleen Johnson, RN; Beatriz Alaniz, RN; Jandi Head, RN; Anita Wendt; Adrian Rosas; Dee Longoria; and Jeremy Nix.

Southwest Medical Center’s SANE-trained nurses accept a donation on behalf of the Southwest Sexual Assault Services program from representatives of the Southern Pioneer Electric Company H.U.G.S team. Pictured from left to right: Yvette Alaniz, RN; Farrah Gomez, RN; Colleen Johnson, RN; Beatriz Alaniz, RN; Jandi Head, RN; Anita Wendt; Adrian Rosas; Dee Longoria; and Jeremy Nix.

Southern Pioneer Electric’s H.U.G.S team donates to Southwest Sexual Assault Services

February 11, 2016

The Southwest Sexual Assault Services team has received a donation from Southern Pioneer Electric Company’s H.U.G.S team in the amount of $10,000 dollars, which will be used to fund equipment and training used to provide a timely, sensitive response to victims of sexual assault in Southwest Kansas.

Southwest Medical Center’s Southwest Sexual Assault Services team has partnered with the Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center, Liberal Police Department, Seward County Sherriff’s Department and our local judicial system to create a comprehensive program to care for victims of sexual assault. This team – known as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) – works together to serve victims of sexual assault in our region. The program is expected to begin providing services in March.

Southern Pioneer Electric Company’s H.U.G.S (Help Us Give to Society) team assists community groups or projects using funds collected from recycled materials. Pieces of steel, aluminum, or copper that have been taken out of service due to a repair or rebuild are recycled and turned into dollars to support local programs.

Donations to Southwest Sexual Assault Services are used to fund program equipment needs and cover the cost of specialized SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) training for nurses at Southwest Medical Center. These SANE-trained nurses will be able to assist in treating medical needs for victims of sexual assault, while also collecting medical evidence and providing expert testimony should a victim’s case go to trial.

Southern Pioneer Electric Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pioneer Electric Cooperative, is headquartered out of Ulysses, Kansas. Southern Pioneer Electric Company has local offices in Liberal and Medicine Lodge, Kansas and serves approximately 17,200 customers in 10 counties and 34 communities.

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SWMC Auxiliary celebrates community volunteers

February 8, 2016

Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary volunteers recognized 39 volunteers for more than 50,000 combined hours of service to the hospital and Liberal community during an awards ceremony in January at Southwest Medical Center.

Members of the Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary attended a ceremony during January to celebrate more than 50,000 hours of combined service to Southwest Medical Center and the community.

Members of the Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary attended a ceremony during January to celebrate more than 50,000 hours of combined service to Southwest Medical Center and the community.

Award recipients were as follows: 50 hours – Anita Zielke; 100 hours – Susan James; 200 hours – Katie Berg, Judy Chance, Linda McCullough, Marion McCaulley; 300 hours –Aleta Arnold, Shona Blakely, Don Devinney, Connie Richmeier;  400 hours –Mary Amerin, Bonnie Creamer, Shawne Padilla; 500 hours – Lila Hagaman, Virginia McNitt, Sarah Odom, Jill Pittman; 600 hours –Judy Shelman; 800 hours –Jane Devinney, Susan Zielke; 900 hours – Cathy Corn, Barbara Hanson, Eula Kittle; 1,000 hours –Peggy Bell, Cheryl Carson; 1,200 hours – Velma Colter; 1,300 hours – Barbara Perkins; 1,600 hours – Marilyn Thompson; 1,800 hours – Mary Downs; 1,900 hours – Alice Hill; 2,200 hours – Jonice Oblander; 2,500 hours – Ann Kilgore, Connie McPhail; 3,400 hours – Linda Staiger; 3,800 hours – Sharon Garcia; 3,900 hours – Aneta Compton; 4,000 hours – Saundra Koochel; 6,900 hours – Jana Widener; and “Too Many to Count” – Kay Hay.

Auxiliary Officers were also installed during the awards ceremony. Officers for 2016 include: Linda Staiger, President; Katie Berg, First Vice-President; Saundra Koochel, Second Vice-President; Aneta Compton, Secretary; and Jana Widener, Treasurer.

The Southwest Medical Center Auxiliary welcomes volunteers of all ages to become involved in serving Southwest Medical Center. The annual membership fee for the Auxiliary is $5, which is applied towards medical scholarships. Those interested in becoming a member can contact the SWMC Gift Shop at (620) 629-6899 for more information.

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SWMC installs new ultrasound units

January 15, 2016

Southwest Medical Center introduced technology upgrades for patients this month with the installation of two Ultrasound Unitnew ultrasound units in the Diagnostic Imaging department.

Patients receiving ultrasound imaging at Southwest Medical Center will have higher quality images available through this new equipment, in addition to many other benefits.

“Patients entering our department are cared for by highly skilled members of our team who have excellent imaging technology available,” SWMC’s Diagnostic Imaging director, Kelly Denton, explained. “Installing these two new ultrasound units will improve the comfort of our patients, as these faster ultrasound units will reduce the amount of time our patients spend holding their breath or body positioning during a scan.”

Ultrasound units send high-frequency sound waves through a patient’s body to capture real-time, moving images of organs and blood vessels to diagnose for a number of conditions. The two identical units installed recently feature “Superb Microvascular Imaging” software, which can be used to record images of a patient’s smallest blood vessels for better detail of blood flow. This improvement in image quality also better assists with guide procedures, such as needle biopsies.

“Having two fast, high-quality units also means patients will have a shorter wait time before their scheduled ultrasound appointment,” Denton added, “This allows us to better serve patients and their providers who depend on these images for an accurate diagnosis.”

The addition of these ultrasound units followed installation of a 64-slice CT scanner in 2015 and a dual-head nuclear imaging camera during 2014 inside Southwest Medical Center’s Diagnostic Imaging department.

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SWMC introduces Ian, New Year’s baby 2016

January 4, 2016

Southwest Medical Center welcomed Liberal’s first newborn of 2016 during the early hours of New Year’s Day. NYBaby2016 IanIan Jesus Vazquez was delivered by Dr. Dennis Knudsen at 2:14 a.m. on Jan. 1.

Baby Ian was born to new mother, Pamela Aileen Rosales Gandarilla, of Liberal. He weighed in at 9 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 21 inches in length. Ian is the grandson of Claudia Gandarilla and Guillermo De La Torres.

The team at Southwest Medical Center cared for 778 total newborn deliveries in 2015, up from 760 deliveries during 2014.

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SWMC opens new Wound Care Center

November 9, 2015

Southwest Medical Center expanded treatment services this week for patients in Southwest Kansas with the opening of the medical center’s new Wound Care Center in Liberal.

SWMC’s Wound Care Center opened November 9th following completed construction of the second floor of the Physician Office Building at Southwest Medical Center. The center provides expanded space for wound care procedures already performed by Southwest Medical Center’s general surgeons, Dr. Rory Howard and Dr. Jose Maeda. In addition, the center has brought in new patient care team members, including nurse practitioner, Britt Short, to assist in wound care treatments.

Services provided by the Wound Care Center include various skin graft applications, as well as an antimicrobial collagen based wound matrix, which assists in the treatment of complicated wounds, chronic wounds, and compromised grafts. The new Wound Care Center also accommodates space for a new wound care service – Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).  Using hyperbaric chamber technology, HBOT treatments are used to heal patient wounds which resist standard methods of care, such as skin grafted wounds, diabetic leg or foot ulcers, seriously infected wounds, and wounds caused by radiation therapy.

Southwest Medical Center President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said launching this new service meets the needs of many patients in our area who rely on this service to maintain their quality of life.

“SWMC recognizes the need to keep services close to home,” Ermann said. “We have skilled providers and a quality care team who have dedicated themselves to making this service available because it’s the right thing to do for our patients. Treatments provided in our Wound Care Center will have a very positive impact on the lives of patients who are concerned about wounds which present serious health risks.”

Patients can be referred for wound care services through the Southwest Professional Physicians General Surgery Clinic, which is adjacent to the Wound Care Center.

The Wound Care Center is located 305 W. 15th Street, Suite 204 in Liberal. For questions about services, please contact Southwest Medical Center’s Wound Care Center at (620) 624-2243.

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SWPP General Surgery Clinic relocates

November 9, 2015

Providers and team members from the Southwest Professional Physicians’ General Surgery Clinic are now performing treatments and caring for patients at a new location.

The SWPP General Surgery Clinic reopened November 9th on the second floor of the Physician Office Building, 305 W.15th Street, Suite 204, in Liberal. Southwest Medical Center’s general surgeons, Dr. Rory Howard and Dr. Jose Maeda, have transitioned into this new clinic space with their patient care team.

Relocating from the former 555 W. 15th Street location, the new clinic space is in closer proximity to Southwest Medical Center, adding convenience for patients accessing additional hospital services, such as the laboratory, diagnostic imaging department, and cafeteria.  Southwest Medical Center’s grounds also include a CityBus stop near the Physician Office Building entrance, bringing added benefit to patients with limited transportation.

The transition to the new clinic address allows access to more sophisticated equipment, which enables surgeons to obtain a more precise diagnosis. The clinic is also adjacent to Southwest Medical Center’s Wound Care Center, where all wound care services will now be performed. General surgeons refer and treat patients needing these wound care services.

For more information about the SWPP General Surgery Clinic, please call (620) 624-4946 or visitwww.swppclinics.com.

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Trinh
SWMC welcomes Dr. Van Trinh to SWPP clinic

September 2, 2015

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the arrival of family medicine physician, Dr. Van Trinh, back to the Liberal community.

Dr. Trinh grew up in Liberal, and explains that a number of life experiences drew her into the medical profession with a focus on returning to Southwest Kansas.

“I was born in Vietnam and moved to Liberal when I was 9 years old. Originally my whole family moved to California, and for two years we lived there while my parents struggled to find jobs,” Trinh explained. “They knew a family friend here in Liberal who worked at National Beef, so my dad decided to relocate us.”

Dr. Trinh’s parents both worked jobs at National Beef while raising their family. Trinh graduated from Liberal High School in 2001 before moving on to complete dual-major undergraduate studies in Human Biology and Cytotechnology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

Dr. Trinh said her passion for medicine grew through her undergraduate studies.

“I was actually named after a very famous physician in Vietnam. It was my dad’s dream for me to become a doctor,” Trinh said. “Once I got into human biology, I became very interested in the study. I shadowed a lot of doctors and did a lot of research on my own and fell in love with it from there – that’s when it became my dream as well.”

Following the death of her father in 2004, Dr. Trinh said returning to Liberal to serve patients became her focus after the Liberal community pulled together to support her family. She decided to enter her career as a family medicine physician during her residency.

“Both my parents had medical problems, and as a patient the first physician you visit is in primary care. Primary care providers solve the first piece of the puzzle and can guide and refer you on to specialty physicians,” Trinh said. “One thing that I want my patients to know is I genuinely care about them. I see them as if I’m treating my own family member. I ask myself, ‘how would I want my parents to be treated in a physician’s office?’”

Dr. Trinh finished medical school and her family medicine residency through the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan. She says choosing to practice at Southwest Medical Center was influenced by her experiences over the years.

“My older brother Khai was an RN here for seven years, and he had a great experience. I’ve shadowed Dr. Lucero and Dr. Fitzgerald, who both brought me in and introduced me to everyone,” she said. “You feel very comfortable in this hospital’s environment with the atmosphere and the staff here.”

Dr. Trinh has moved back to Liberal with her new husband, Andy Phan, who will be working as the pharmacy manager at Liberal’s new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

Dr. Trinh will be located inside the Southwest Professional Physicians Primary Care clinic at 305 W. 15th St., Suite 102 inside the Physician Office Building at Southwest Medical Center with nurse practitioner Laura Kane. Dr. Trinh accepts most insurance plans, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. To make an appointment with Dr. Trinh, please contact (620) 624-0702.

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SWMC welcomes new administrators

August 28, 2015

Southwest Medical Center announced the addition of two new senior leaders this month in the hospital’s Operations division.

Robert Whitaker

Robert Whitaker joined the leadership team of Southwest Medical Center as Vice-President of Operations and Business Development mid-August. Robert brings a successful track record with more than 11 years of experience in operations and finance management from various acute care hospitals, as well as larger health systems. Robert is relocating to Liberal with his wife, Amy, and five children from Las Vegas, where he recently worked as an associate administrator for a 190-bed hospital. Robert also served in the US Marine Corps Reserve for eight years, obtaining a rank of E-5. He earned his B.S. of Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston and his Master of Public Health degree from Yale University. Robert and his family are excited to join SWMC and the Liberal community.

Mark Cowan

Mark Cowan, RRT, RPSGT, RST, CPM, has stepped into a new position as Assistant Vice-President of Operations and Business Development at SWMC. Cowan had formerly served as Interim VP of Operations while also directing the Respiratory Therapy, Sleep Lab, and Cardiac Rehabilitation services. He began employment at Southwest Medical Center more than 23 years ago, starting as a respiratory therapy student in October 1991. Cowan brings experience in implementing and directing several successful clinical support services during his time at SWMC. He graduated from Seward County Community College with an Associates of Applied Science in Respiratory Care, and from the Kansas University Certified Public Manager program. Cowan is currently earning his B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in healthcare administration from Tabor College. Mark and his wife of 25 years, Melissa, have a son attending SCCC/ATS and a 10-month-old grandson.

Together, both leaders will oversee ancillary departments throughout the hospital, as well as SWMC’s Southwest Professional Physicians Clinics. Cowan and Whitaker join the administrative team of President and CEO, Bill Ermann; Vice-President of Patient Care, Jo Harrison, RN; and Vice-President of Finance, Amber Williams.

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2015HealthFairLogo copy
SWMC announces 2015 Community Health Fair

August 25, 2015

Southwest Medical Center has announced the 2015 Community Health Fair will take place from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Seward County Activity Center in Liberal.

This annual event features a series of lab tests, including a comprehensive metabolic profile, lipid profile, thyroid screen and a complete blood count at a cost of $35 per person. For an additional $5, men can add PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing, which is recommended for men age 40 and older to test for signs of prostate cancer. Women may have a CEA (carcinoembryogenic antigen) screen for an additional $5 to test for certain types of cancer. An HGB A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test is also available for $5 to help monitor long-term glucose control.

In addition to these tests, clinical breast exams, spirometry testing, pulse oximetry testing and blood pressure measurements will be offered free of charge at other Southwest Medical Center booths. Free screenings offered by the Lion’s Club mobile screening unit will include visual acuity/vision screens, field of vision tests, blood pressure, blood sugar, and hearing tests.

More than 50 booths focused on health and wellness will also be on site to provide information about their organization, products, or services. The Seward County Health Department is returning to the fair this year and will offer influenza vaccines for a special discounted price at their booth.

Whirlwind Career and Counseling Services will cover the lab testing cost for veterans. Those veterans interested in attending the fair may contact Kay Burtzloff at (620) 629-0203 for more information. Veterans are encouraged to bring their military I.D.

Several businesses, including Southern Pioneer Electric, Mead Lumber, The Community Bank, ARSI, Heifer Source, and Southwest Medical Center, have contributed to this community event so far to keep these important health screenings at a low cost.

“Our Community Health Fair continues to grow each year as more local groups and sponsors come together to focus their energy on improving the overall health of our community.” Southwest Medical Center’s Marketing and Development Director, Keeley Moree, said. “Last year we welcomed visitors receiving preventative screenings who traveled from more than 30 different cities and towns in our region. These screenings have helped many people identify how to better care for themselves and each other, and that’s something we know will help make our community a better place to live.”

Admission to the fair is free for the general public. All visitors interested in having the above lab tests done at the health fair should plan to fast for at least eight hours prior to testing. Concessions will be available at the Activity Center.

For more information about attending or sponsoring the 2015 Community Health Fair, please contact Keeley Moree at (620) 629-6335 or Rachel Brost at (620) 629-6424.

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A member of the Southwest Medical Center care team helps perform a CT scan on a patient Friday afternoon inside a new 64-slice CT scanner located in the Diagnostic Imaging department.

SWMC introduces new CT scanner

August 17, 2015

Southwest Medical Center introduced new technology upgrades for patients this month with the installation of a new 64-slice CT scanner in the Diagnostic Imaging department.

Patients undergoing a computed tomography (CT) scan at Southwest Medical Center will have higher quality images available through this new equipment, which leads to faster, more accurate diagnosis of health conditions such as stroke.

“Patients entering our department are cared for by highly skilled members of our team who have very sophisticated technology available, such as our 1.5 Tesla MRI and dual-head nuclear medicine camera,” SWMC’s Diagnostic Imaging director, Kelly Denton, explained. “The addition of this 64-slice CT scanner further enhances the quality of care we are able to provide our patients.”

CT scanners send X-rays through a patient’s body to capture images of structures and organs to detect conditions such as tumors, blockages, infections, blood vessel issues, and more. During stroke evaluation, a CT scan is one of the first tests performed on a patient to show possible abnormalities in the brain related to a stroke. Faster scans available using this new CT scanner will improve the response time for stroke evaluations and treatment at Southwest Medical Center.

“Stroke readiness in our Emergency Room has been a focus of ours for many years,” SWMC Vice-President of Patient Care, Jo Harrison, BSN, explained. “With this state-of-the-art upgraded CT scanner, we will be able to incorporate these high-quality images with our upcoming telemedicine program to consult with neurologists across the state and determine the best plan of care for patients suffering from stroke.”

In addition to improved images and faster scan times, the new CT scanner also allows for CT angiography of lower extremities. This scanner also gives patient care teams the ability to administer lower contrast amounts to patients, which reduces their risk of renal problems.

In 2014, Southwest Medical Center performed 3,840 total CT scans in the Diagnostic Imaging department.

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Southwest Medical Center's new hyperbaric chamber

SWMC nears completion of Wound Care Center construction

July 15, 2015

Construction of Southwest Medical Center’s new Wound Care Center has reached a new milestone with the installation of the center’s hyperbaric chamber this month.

This hyperbaric chamber will be used by the Wound Care Center to provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to patients with a variety of medical conditions. During HBOT treatment, patients rest inside the 7-foot-long chamber which becomes pressurized and filled with 100 percent pure oxygen.

Most HBOT treatments are performed to help treat wounds which resist standard wound care, such as skin grafted wounds, diabetic leg or foot ulcers, seriously infected wounds, and wounds caused by radiation therapy. Healing takes place as patients breathe pure oxygen inside the chamber. This increase in oxygen is absorbed into the bloodstream and carried to areas of body tissue in need of healing. HBOT treatments typically last one to two hours and may be scheduled daily over the course of 20 to 30 days, depending on the patient’s medical needs. Patients can be referred for HBOT treatments by Southwest Medical Center’s general surgeons.

Southwest Medical Center general surgeon, Dr. Jose Maeda, explained that HBOT can be used to treat a variety of wounds and conditions in a way that surpasses conventional treatments.

“HBOT has been used as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of non-healing wounds, compromised skin grafts, and other wounds,” Dr. Maeda said. “The use of HBOT for these indications has demonstrated faster and better results than traditional care and methods.”

SWMC President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said launching this new service will meet the needs of many patients and families in Liberal and surrounding areas.

“SWMC recognizes the need to keep services close to home,” Ermann said. “We are proud to have surgeons who have special expertise in advanced wound care, which is a greatly needed service in our community. Treatments provided in our Wound Care Center will have a very positive impact on the lives of patients who are concerned about wounds posing serious health risks.”

The Wound Care Center will be located on the second floor of the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center in Liberal. SWMC’s general surgeons, Dr. Rory Howard and Dr. Jose Maeda, will work in conjunction with a nurse practitioner to oversee HBOT treatments. The clinic is expected to begin accepting patients in August.

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Check-In Kiosk

SWMC introduces new check-in process

July 15, 2015

Patients arriving at Southwest Medical Center for medical services or admission have more convenient access to their registration following a new check-in system installed this week.

New check-in kiosks located in the front lobby at Southwest Medical Center allow patients to check-in by entering their name on a simple touch-screen monitor. Once a patient’s name is submitted at check-in, SWMC’s admissions team receives real-time notification that a patient is ready for their registration.

Patients are also able to view their name or a confidential assigned number on a screen in the waiting room area. The screen displays names or confidential numbers in order of check-in time, so admissions clerks can welcome patients for their registration in order of arrival.

“This system has been created to improve the patient experience at Southwest Medical Center,” SWMC President and CEO, Bill Ermann, said. “Using this new system allows our team to keep better track over which patient is up next for their registration, even if a team member has stepped away from the lobby to direct or assist our patients and visitors.”

The system is designed not only to keep patient waiting times to a minimum, but to enhance patient privacy as well. Patients have control over whether or not their name appears on a waiting room monitor when they submit their name in the check-in kiosk.

Patients can use these check-in kiosks during normal registration hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the exception of holidays. Registration on weekends, evenings, and holidays takes place at the emergency department’s admission desk.

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SWMC5

Community unites to provide care for victims of sexual assault

April 30, 2015

Sexual assault victims will soon have a higher level of care locally, as Southwest Medical Center has been collaborating with local agencies and resources to bring specialized training to registered nurses in the Liberal area.

“Southwest Medical Center’s values focus on providing high quality, respectful and accessible health care services to the people and neighbors of our community,” SWMC President and CEO, Bill Ermann, explained. “This specialized training will ensure that victims of sexual assault have access to quality crisis intervention, as well as a full range of indicated medical, forensic and coordinated support services.”

SWMC Emergency Department Director, Jandi Head, RN, explained that while care has always been provided to anyone coming in for emergency care, law enforcement currently transports sexual assault victims directly to Great Bend in Barton County due to a lack of nurses trained in sexual assault care and evidence collection in Southwest Kansas. Barton County is one of only 20 counties in Kansas to have a specialized program in place to provide comprehensive care for victims of sexual assault.

“The state of Kansas does not require nurses to be certified to perform sexual assault exams, but completing the training and certification greatly enhances the quality of care for victims, improves the quality of evidence collection, and potentially increases prosecution rates,” Head said. “Victims of sexual assault need and deserve a group of people to care for them that have knowledge and specialized training in performing these exams, as well as handling any other issues they may present with.”

This specific, specialized training program is known as SANE-SART, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Sexual Assault Response Team. The response team is comprised of nurses, law enforcement, sexual assault victim advocates, prosecutors, and others who have been trained to work together in caring for the physical and emotional needs of victims of sexual assault. This team also handles evidence, investigates the crime, and prosecutes the offenders. Head added that through SANE-trained nurses, a sexual assault exam could be performed at Southwest Medical Center and not be reported to law enforcement if the victim wishes. Evidence from these cases would be securely saved for a period of time, and if a victim has chosen not to report the crime, the evidence would then be destroyed.

Together, Southwest Medical Center, the Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Services (LARC/DVS) and the Liberal Police Department began working to research the training needs and associated costs of bringing SANE-trained nurses to the Liberal area. LARC/DVS executive director, Lori Hensley, explains that a community approach is crucial in having a SANE-SART program.

“In creating a Sexual Assault Response Team the important agencies are: Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Services, Inc. advocates, Liberal Police Department, Seward County Sheriff’s Department, Seward County Attorney’s Office, Southwest Medical Center, Southwest Guidance Center, and Liberal/Seward County Fire/EMS departments,” Hensley said. “All of these agencies bring different skill sets to the healing process for sexual assault survivors. With assistance from these agencies, it allows a victim to begin the healing process as soon as it is reported.”

SANE Team Leader, Jessica Albers, RN, from Hays Medical Center describes the many processes which nurses learn during the SANE-SART training course.

“Registered Nurses who are interested in becoming a SANE-nurse take an initial 40 hour SANE-SART course, and complete a minimum of 40 hours of clinical training, some of which includes hands-on patient care for victims of assault, evidence collection techniques, and special equipment training,” Albers stated. “SANE’s are trained to provide high-quality, comprehensive medical care, be objective, maintain evidence chain of custody, know mandatory reporting requirements, and know how to testify in court.”

Albers further described the care process for sexual assault survivors, adding that patients treated by SANE-trained staff often report less anxiety, feel more secure alone, feel well informed, and have a sense of more control during an exam.

“During a SANE exam, the trained RN spends one-on-one time with the patient, allowing them to establish a rapport before beginning the medical-forensic examination. This exam includes taking a history of the assault, a head to toe assessment, photo-documentation of injuries, evidence collection, education and resources,” Albers said. “If the patient meets certain criteria, they can also receive medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. If needed, the SANE may also collaborate with the ED Physician to ensure comprehensive medical care is provided.”

Detective Josh Olson of the Liberal Police department explained that SANE-SART programs are essential to creating a safe community, as the quick and accurate collection of forensic evidence by both law enforcement and the SANE-SART nurse is a key component in convicting sexual predators.

“When this program is available locally, we will be better able to provide care for victims not only in our community, but other communities in western Kansas that would otherwise have to travel to central Kansas just to receive this examination,” Olson said.” It will also increase the response to sexual assaults by preserving evidence that may be otherwise lost in the hours it takes to coordinate and travel to hospitals in other communities.”

Southwest Medical Center is currently creating policies, receiving quotes on equipment items, and will begin interviews soon to determine the appropriate registered nurses to include in the first training phase.

“Developing a SANE-SART program in the Liberal area will take many months,” SWMC Vice-President, Jo Harrison, RN, said. “Initially, five to six nurses working at Southwest Medical Center will attend a SANE-SART program training course. They will also receive additional skills training under the supervision of other SANE-SART providers.”

Community support for this initiative has proven strong so far. Hensley explained that local sororities, women’s clubs, and individuals have made financial contributions already towards assisting in SANE-SART training courses, equipment, and operational costs. An estimated $60,000 dollars in program funding will be needed initially, with ongoing program training and operation costs each year. A fund for SANE-SART has been established through LARC/DVS to benefit this program locally.

Head added that the community can continue support of this new program by spreading the word about how this training will assist sexual assault victims who seek care locally.

“According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 68 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police. We want people to know we are here for them,” Head explained, “So our hope is with providing this service, victims in our area know they are not alone, they can feel safe reporting, and know that Southwest Medical Center and supporting agencies will be able to provide them with respectful, knowledgeable care and assist them in their healing process.”

Individuals or businesses interested in supporting the SANE-SART program fund for the Liberal area may contact Lori Hensley at (620) 624-8818.

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SWMC launches Cardiac Rehabilitation serviceCardiacTreadmill

January 16, 2015

The road to recovery for area residents suffering from a cardiac event will be more convenient with the addition of Southwest Medical Center’s new cardiac rehabilitation service beginning this month.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialized service which is available to qualifying patients who are recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery, or a procedure such as stenting or angioplasty. Through patient education, counseling, and supervised exercises, patients are able to both improve their physical health and lower their risk of future cardiac events.

Southwest Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program will use registered nurses and hospitalist physicians to monitor patients as they progress through three sessions per week for the six to 12 weeks of rehabilitation typically prescribed by cardiologists.

“In looking closely at feedback from our community, access to cardiac rehabilitation services has been an important area of interest for our patients,” Southwest Medical Center President and CEO Bill Ermann explained. “We are focused on keeping quality healthcare close to home for the comfort and convenience of the residents we serve. We care about our patients and have added the cardiac rehab program to lessen the travel time otherwise needed for this specific treatment.”

Patients can bring in their prescription or contact SWMC Rehabilitation at (620) 629-6390 to begin the process of becoming pre-certified for treatment with their insurance provider. The cardiac rehabilitation service will be available at Southwest Medical Center, 315 W. 15th Street in Liberal, alongside the physical therapy care area.

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Pictured, left to right, are Southwest Medical Center hospitalists Andrey Ilyasov, M.D.; Rama Chanda, M.D.; and Akshath Kamath, M.D. The hospitalist program launched in April 2014.

Pictured, left to right, are Southwest Medical Center hospitalists Andrey Ilyasov, M.D.; Rama Chanda, M.D.; and Akshath Kamath, M.D. The hospitalist program launched in April 2014.

 Physician staffing complete for SWMC’s hospitalist program

December 19, 2014

Southwest Medical Center is pleased to announce the hospitalist program launched for inpatients in April 2014 is fully staffed with physicians following the addition of Rama Chanda, M.D., in November.  Dr. Chanda joins fellow SWMC hospitalists, Dr. Andrey Ilyasov and Dr. Akshath Kamath, in providing care for patients admitted to the regional healthcare facility.

Born in India, Dr. Chanda completed medical school at Zaporoshye State Medical University in the Ukraine before returning to India to work and finish his medical boards. During that time, he married Dr. Rohitha Inturi, who began work with SWMC as a family medicine physician in August. Dr. Chanda worked two years as a hospitalist and clinic physician in Jamaica before joining his wife in a family medicine residency at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa, Okla. He said accepting a position in Liberal came naturally.

“I grew up in a small town in India, and I appreciate that sense of community,” Chanda said. “My wife and I were searching for a good location in a rural area where we could both work and raise our kids. We really like the people here – this has been a good community for us.”

Hospitalists partner with a patient’s primary care physician to provide treatment to that patient during their hospital stay. Both internal medicine and family medicine physicians have the option to partner with and refer their patients to hospitalists. As with many hospitalist programs, Southwest Medical Center’s program allows primary-care physicians to check in on their patients and receive consistent updates on their condition.

“Dr. Chanda is an excellent addition to the exceptional team of medical providers serving our community,” SWMC President and CEO Bill Ermann explained. “Bringing in this team has allowed for inpatients to have immediate access to a physician on-site and for physicians to have more time in their clinics to see more patients. We are very pleased with the positive benefits this program has brought to our patients, our community and our physicians.”

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More improvements, renovations on the way at SWMC

November 14, 2014

Patient rooms at Southwest Medical Center will soon get a facelift, alongside many other renovations to the SWMC campus, following unanimous approval of construction plans by both the Southwest Medical Center Board of Trustees and Seward County Commission during the month of October. This new round of changes at SWMC will improve upon an excellent standard of comfort for patients and visitors while also bringing in new, advanced services to patients in our region.

Vice-President of Operations, Michele Gillespie, explained that changes to the Medical Office Building (MOB) will involve building out one remaining suite on the first floor to accommodate for an OB/GYN practice. The second floor will also be completed to house the Central Care Cancer Center, a treatment area for new advanced wound care services, and clinic space for Southwest Medical Center’s surgeons.

“SWMC recognizes the need to keep services close to home,” SWMC President and CEO, Bill Ermann, explained. “We are proud to have surgeons who have special expertise in advanced wound care, which is a greatly needed service in our community. Part of our floor plan of the MOB includes space for a hyperbaric chamber and other specialized technology so we can offer excellent wound care services in Liberal.”

Completion of the MOB will also include added convenience for physicians on the second floor of the MOB, as a connecting corridor will be built to flow directly into the operating rooms on the second floor of the Patient Tower. Renovation to the second floor of the Patient Tower also includes a remodel of the sterile processing space needed to prepare instruments for surgeries.

Many changes to the third and fourth floors will include updates to enhance patient comfort and adapt staff areas to accommodate for changing technologies and processes.

Patient rooms on the third and fourth floors will be repainted and renovated to match the color scheme found throughout newer portions of SWMC. Rooms will also receive new patient rocker/recliners, visitor side chairs, patient tables which can be moved over beds, and flat-screen mounted televisions to replace aging furniture and technology.

“Our patients have offered suggestions on how to enhance their SWMC experience and we have listened,” Vice-President of Patient Care, Jo Harrison, said. “As common spaces and rooms are updated, essential elements will be added for the comfort of both patients and their families.”

The third and fourth floors will also receive ADA compliant public restrooms, updated waiting areas, and new flooring. New nursing stations will also be designed to enhance workflow in the intensive care unit and on the third floor.

The project will be funded through board designated funds and residual bond dollars from the 2010 renovation and expansion project. Southwest Medical Center remains one of only two hospitals in the state of Kansas that has not levied local taxes to pay for facility upgrades, services or operation costs.

The project is being handled by the same two companies, Health Facilities Group and Nabholz Construction Services, who brought in their expertise on the most recent construction and remodel of Southwest Medical Center.

“Our team is very excited for this opportunity to make facility upgrades and add new services to our regional hospital,” Ermann said. “We have received a lot of positive feedback over the past couple of years from visitors and patients about the newer portions of Southwest Medical Center, as well as they quality of care our patients receive.”

Construction and renovation is expected to begin early next year, with expected completion in October 2015.

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SWMC welcomes Dr. Inturi to SWPP clinic
August 14, 2014

 

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the arrival of family medicine physician, Dr. Rohitha Inturi to the Liberal community.

Dr. Inturi was born and raised in India, where she learned at a young age the career path she would take after her father had a heart attack and passed away.

“I was 8 years old when he died. My father was the first person who laid the thought of being a doctor in my mind,” Inturi explained. “As parents, you make plans for your kids and hope for them to be successful. My parents wanted my brother to be an engineer and for me to become a doctor, which we both did achieve.”

Inturi says learning of her father’s final moments in the hospital motivated her to enter the field of medicine, while her mother’s support helped her along the way.

“It’s my mom who really helped me understand what I was dealing with and how to go through my life to become a good person and achieve their dreams for me,” she said. “My mom was our foundation, our support, our backbone – everything for us.”

Dr. Inturi completed her undergraduate degree and medical school in India, where she also married her husband, Dr. Rama Chanda, before arriving in the United States to continue her studies. She worked on her master of sciences degree in clinical investigation at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio before entering her family medicine residency program at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She says her experience in the U.S. helped guide her towards family medicine.

“In India, the idea of family medicine hasn’t really bloomed, so we don’t know much about it. We know the main areas – general medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN,” she explained. “I’m someone who is very family oriented, so after I came here and learned more about family medicine – dealing with pediatric to geriatric-age patients, being more close to a family rather than treating individuals – that was something I found to be most interesting.”

Dr. Inturi says her focus on family matters is the main reason she and her husband – who will be joining the Southwest Medical Center physician team as a hospitalist later this year – chose Liberal as their new home. After making the decision to relocate to Liberal earlier this year, the couple discovered they will be new parents with a set of twins due later this fall.

“The number one thing I was looking for was a place where we could start a family, as we’re doing right now,” she said. “I wanted the chance to start our family in a small and peaceful place, a place where my husband and I could finally be together. It’s a great place for us to be.”

Dr. Inturi will be located inside the Southwest Professional Physicians Family Medicine clinic at 305 W. 15th St., Suite 101 inside the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center with nurse practitioner Linsey Carter. Dr. Inturi accepts most insurances, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. To make an appointment with Dr. Inturi, please contact (620) 624-0705.

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SWMC welcomes Laura Kane to SWPP clinic
August 8, 2014

 

Southwest Medical Center is proud to announce the addition of nurse practitioner, Laura Kane, to the team of care providers at the Southwest Professional Physicians Internal Medicine clinic.

Laura grew up in Fritch, Texas and says she knew in high school she wanted to enter the medical field, and that a neighbor helped turn her towards her career as a nurse practitioner.

“Growing up we had a good family friend who has an RN while I was in school. I watched her and listened to her stories and thought what she did was the coolest thing in the world,” Kane explained. “I wanted to help impact people’s lives in a positive way. After graduating high school, she went on to become a nurse practitioner and that’s when I realized it was a really neat career pathway.”

It was that career pathway which first led her to Southwest Medical Center in the early 1990’s, where she worked full-time in the medical-surgical unit and obstetrics unit while taking part-time nursing classes in Garden City. Kane went on to complete her bachelor of science in nursing from Fort Hays State University before earning her master of science in nursing from the University of Kansas in 2008.

Upon receiving her family nurse practitioner certification, Kane returned to caring for patients in Liberal where she worked in clinics with Dr. Ian Yeats, Dr. Brandi Boller, and most recently with pediatrician, Dr. Gurpreet Randhawa. Kane also has experience serving as a nurse practitioner at the Stevens County Medical Clinic in Hugoton and on the Emergency Physician Services team at Via Christi in Wichita.

Laura explains that as a long-time resident of Liberal, she’s had the chance to become familiar not only with Southwest Medical Center, but the many patients throughout the community that she has served over the years.

“I have a lot of patients that I’ve treated as young people, and then I’ve treated them as older people, then as moms and dads,” Kane said. “I think it’s fun to get to see families grow like that. For some of the people I’ve cared for, I was there when they were born as I worked labor and delivery here.”

Kane added that for her and her husband, Scott, Liberal is their hometown of choice.

“I will always be in service to this community,” she said. “I don’t ever see us leaving – I like Liberal and I think it’s a great place to live.”

Laura Kane, ARNP, is now seeing patients in the Southwest Professional Physicians Internal Medicine clinic at 305 W. 15th St., Suite 102 inside the Medical Office Building at Southwest Medical Center. Kane is accepting new patients of all ages and accepts most insurances, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Kansas and Oklahoma Medicaid. To schedule an appointment, please call (620) 624-0702.

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Dr. Valdez Announces Relocation
July 28, 2014

 

William Valdez, M.D., recently announced his resignation from Southwest Medical Center after making the decision to relocate to the Wichita area.

Dr. Valdez, a physician for the Southwest Professional Physicians Internal Medicine clinic, began serving patients in the Liberal area in October 2010. Southwest Medical Center wishes Dr. Valdez and his family the best as he prepares to move in August.

“We were pleased to have the professional services offered by Dr. Valdez, he provided excellent care for his patients,” said Bill Ermann, President and CEO of Southwest Medical Center. “We wish Dr. Valdez and his family all the best in their future.”

Letters will be sent to Valdez’s patients informing them of his last day at Southwest Medical Center’s Medical Office Building. Medical records for Valdez’s patients will continue to remain confidential and secure.

“Dr. Valdez’s patients’ records will remain under our care at the SWPP Internal Medicine clinic,” explained Cathleen Bulot, Director of Health Information Services at SWMC. “If patients would like a copy of their records or need them transferred to another care provider, they may contact the clinic office at 620-624-0702.”

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SWMC Earns Excellence Through Insight Award for Overall ER Patient Satisfaction
July 25, 2014

Southwest Medical Center was recently recognized with an Excellence through Insight award for “Overall Emergency Department Patient Satisfaction” for medium-sized hospitals by HealthStream, Inc.

Southwest Medical Center was awarded this honor for its commitment to excellence in patient care. To qualify for an award, a hospital must have been a patient satisfaction-tracking client of HealthStream in 2013, scored in the 75th percentile or higher, and surveyed a minimum of 100 patients. Southwest Medical Center was chosen for receiving the highest ratings in emergency department patient satisfaction from among HealthStream’s clients, as well as for exceeding industry standards. With 634 medium-sized emergency departments in the HealthStream database, Southwest Medical Center made the most improvement in scores of those 634 emergency departments during 2013.

HealthStream CEO Robert A. Frist, Jr. said, “We applaud Southwest Medical Center’s high-level commitment to excellence in healthcare, and are pleased to recognize their achievement through our presentation of an Excellence through Insight award.”

Southwest Medical Center CEO Bill Ermann said, “This award is one that is truly deserved by not only our emergency department, but every team member and care provider at Southwest Medical Center. We have made great strides in improving the patient experience throughout our hospital, and our emergency department has been a shining example of the quality of care we aim to provide to each patient walking through our doors.”

About HealthStream
HealthStream (NASDAQ: HSTM) is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through the development of healthcare organizations’ greatest asset: their people. Our unified suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions is contracted by, collectively, approximately 3.85 million healthcare employees in the U.S. for workforce development, training & learning management, talent management, performance assessment, and managing simulation-based education programs. Our research solutions provide valuable insight to healthcare providers to meet HCAHPS requirements, improve the patient experience, engage their workforce, and enhance physician alignment. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, HealthStream has additional offices in Laurel, Maryland, Brentwood, Tennessee, Pensacola, Florida, and Jericho, New York. For more information, visit http://www.healthstream.com or call 800-933-9293.

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SWMC offers new Patient Portal tool

July 1, 2014 

Southwest Medical Center is pleased to announce the launch of our new Patient Portal tool. This interactive web portal empowers our patients and their families to take a more active role in their care by providing easy-to-use, secure access to their health information through Southwest Medical Center’s services and care providers at our Southwest Professional Physicians (SWPP) clinics.

Patient Portal gives patients instant access to their health information, including most laboratory results, medications, allergies, demographic information, visit history, discharge/aftercare information, and more. Patients can also access their hospital or SWPP clinic billing statements to view charges and outstanding balances. Online bill pay will also be available in the future through the Patient Portal. In addition to handling your own care, parents and health care proxies will have the ability to access the records of those individuals for whom they manage care with authorized consent.

Anyone interested in enrolling in the Patient Portal should contact the Medical Records department at (620) 629-6230 for information on setting up an account. For more information about the Patient Portal, visit www.swmedcenter.com. Southwest Medical Center encourages all hospital and SWPP clinic patients to enroll in the new Patient Portal, as it presents a valuable opportunity for patients and their families to actively participate in their care.

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SWMC Awarded Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month
May 2, 2014

 

Placing focus on perfecting the patient care experience has earned Southwest Medical Center recognition as the Studer Group’s Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month for May 2014.

The Studer Group is a consulting group which works with hundreds of hospitals across the country to achieve and sustain clinical, operational and financial success using evidence-based leadership development and patient care tools. Southwest Medical Center’s team of employees, physicians and board members agreed to enter into a partnership with the Studer Group in September 2012.

Using Studer Group’s patient satisfaction tools, focusing on leadership development and working closely with their coaches, SWMC has achieved sustained improvements in areas of patient care and employee retention. The overall rating of the Emergency Department for 2013 shows a nearly 13 percent increase in patient satisfaction compared to scores prior to SWMC’s partnership with the Studer Group in 2012. Employee turnover rates fell nearly 6 percent from 2012 to 2013 while full-time and part-time RN turnover fell 7 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“Every month, Studer Group honors an organization that stands out from its peers and serves as a premier example of what is right in healthcare with a Healthcare Organization of the Month award,” Studer Group explained in a letter, “Each recipient is considered a ‘Fire Starter’ hospital – which is one that keeps the true essence of the organization alive and thriving…Fire Starters ignite the flame of service and caring for others that guides and supports the organization and results in measurable positive outcomes.”

Studer Group initiatives implemented at Southwest Medical Center include quarterly Leadership Development Institute training for managers and supervisors, employee forums, hourly rounding on patients, rounding on employees, improved communication with patients, organizational goals, thank you notes, discharge phone calls and more.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our journey with the Studer Group, it’s that change can be difficult. However, when you have the right goals, the right team, and the right processes in place, change becomes not only attainable, but very exciting,” SWMC President and CEO Bill Ermann said, “Our employees consistently receive comments from patients and visitors that something about Southwest Medical Center is different – that employees go out of their way to assist them or that patient care staff take more time to explain processes to patients and families. Our community is recognizing our efforts and that’s the most encouraging sign of all – we are pleased to hear about the positive impact our team has made in improving people’s lives.”

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