UMH Implements Reach Out and Read Program

New Physician To Join Community in July

Newly Certified Babysitter’s in Town

Dr. Jared Reading Gives Covid-19 Update

Eight Confirmed Covid-19 Cases In The Last Week

Four Additional Covid-19 Cases Brings Count to Five Active This Week

Seventh Positive Case of Coronavirus Confirmed

82-Year-Old Female Patient Being Treated at UMH

UHA Announces Sixth Positive Covid-19 Case

UMSA and The Sabinal Health Clinic Now Offering Telehealth Services

UHA Has Announced Fifth Positive Covid-19 Case

Uvalde Health Authority Announces Two Additional Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Cases

Uvalde County’s 2nd Positive COVID-19 Case

UMH Updated Visitation Guidelines Effective 03/27/20

Myths and Facts About COVID-19

UMH Updated Visitation Guidelines

Uvalde County First Positive COVID-19 Case

Temporary Changes at UMH due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Update

Early Bird Registration Available for 2nd Annual Behavioral Health Symposium

Nursing Scholarship Applications Accepted Until June 8th

Sandra E. Boenig, D.O. Top General Surgeon 2019

UMH Rehabilitation Welcomes Sydney Buchanan

New Years Baby 2020

Newly Certified Babysitter’s in Town

Replacement Hospital Project Turning Dirt in December

Newly Certified Babysitters in Town

UMSA and Sabinal Health Clinic Recognized for Patient Care Strategies

New Nurse Practitioner Joining Community

Uvalde Memorial Hospital Celebrating National Rural Health Day

Cancer and Medical Center Updates from the CEO

UMH Hospice Celebration of Life Service

UMH Welcome Veterinarians to Tour Imaging Department

UMH Women’s Imaging Open House

Modern Healthcare’s 2019 Best Places to Work in Healthcare

Kelley Kitley, LCSW, is set to speak at Women’s Health Expo

Women’s Health Expo 2019

UMH Rehabilitation welcomes Abi Guerra

Influenza Vaccines Are Available

UMH has received re-designation as a Level IV Basic Trauma Facility

Newly Certified Babysitters

First in Region to Offer Genius 3D Mammography Exams

UMH Auxiliary 2019 Scholarship Recipients

Laboratory Department Earns The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval

New Nurse Practitioner Joins UMSA and Sabinal Clinic

UMH Auxiliary June 2019 Meeting Summary

10th Anniversary Wellness Run Held

New Auxiliary Officers Announced

One of a Kind Mental Health Event to be Held

UMH Hosts Annual Banquet for Volunteers

Healthy Minds Matter Conference To Be Held

Newly Certified Babysitters

UMH AUXILIARY FEBRUARY 2019 MEETING SUMMARY

UMH Hosts Heart to Heart Forum

UMH Plans Full Slate of Events

UMH Offers New Service-Cardiac Rehabilitation

UMH Receives State Five Star Award

Hospice Recognized as a We Honor Veterans Partner

UMH Recognizes National Rural Health Day-Nov.15

UMH Begins Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) Project

UMH Auxiliary November 2018 Meeting Summary

Uvalde Memorial Hospital recognized as No. 21 of Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2018

UMH Presents Community Health Development, Inc. with Resolution

UMH Auxiliary September 2018 Meeting Summary

Newly Certified Babysitters

UMH Auxiliary Awards Fall 2018 Scholarship Recipients

Stuff the Bus Donation

Blue Cross Blue Shield Contract Update

Board of Directors

Hospital Celebrates Success of Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center

New Physician To Join Community in August

UMH Partners with Uvalde EMS

UMH Named Best Place to Work

Newly Certified Babysitters

America’s Opioid Crisis

UMH Board Member Named to Statewide Texas Healthcare Trustees Board

9th Annual Wellness Run Results!

UMH Hosts Annual Volunteer Banquet

UMH Auxiliary Nursing Scholarship Deadline Approaching

National Hospital Week

Mental Health Month

Official Proposals Received for New Building Project

New Addition to UMSA Orthopaedic Team

Hospital Replacement Project Continues To Design Phase

Newly Certified Babysitters

BCBS Contract Changes

Newly Certified Babysitters

Five Star Service Award

UMH Receives Guardian of Excellence Award

Replacement Hospital Project Brings Excitement

UMH Auxiliary Awards Fall 2017 Scholarship

TEXAS RURAL HOSPITAL CLOSURE CRISIS HEATS UP

Laboratory Services Earns Accreditation

Environmental Assessment Report

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

UMH Welcomes New Rehabilitation Director

UMH Adds Breakthrough MR Scanner

2015 Five Star Service Award Recognition

UMH Receives Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award

Hospital Receives National Recognition

Jun 26, 2020 /

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Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) is thrilled to announce the implementation of Reach Out and Read. The new program promotes early literacy beginning with newborn patients in the hospital’s Women’s and Newborns’ Center, and carrying on through age five at the child’s wellness visits with participating local family medicine providers.

Reach Out and Read is a national program that understands the best opportunity to influence a child's literacy future is in the first five years of their life. The program helps ensure children are exposed to books in these early, crucial years to develop a strong foundation. Most importantly, the program encourages families to read aloud and engage with their infants, toddlers and preschoolers every day.

As a Reach Out and Read site, UMH will give a book to each child born in the hospital’s Women’s and Newborns’ Center beginning July 1. Additionally, local providers who opted in to the program with UMH will distribute a book to children during well-child visits at Sage Family Medicine Associates and Uvalde Family Practice Association. Children will receive a brand-new, age appropriate book at each of their 2, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24-months appointments, as well as 3, 4 and 5-years.

“We firmly believe in the program’s methods to encourage reading and are eager to begin providing books to the children of our community,” said Karla Radicke, marketing manager at UMH.

Participation in the program stems from findings of the hospital’s 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in which an opportunity was identified to assist with promotion of early literacy. With that finding in mind, representatives from UMH reached out to UCISD and El Progresso Memorial Library for a brainstorming session in early 2019. Shortly after, library director Mendell Morgan shared a program he’d come across called Reach Out and Read. The program proved to be the perfect way for a healthcare facility to partner in early literacy efforts.

The hospital began the process of becoming a Reach Out and Read site and training for interested providers took place into early 2020. In March 2020, UMH received their official designation as a Reach Out and Read site partner.

The program will help integrate reading into pediatric practices, advise families about the importance of reading with their children, and share books that serve as a catalyst for healthy childhood development.

Effectiveness of the Reach Out and Read model is recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics in a policy statement that recommends early literacy promotion as an essential component of pediatric care. Reach Out and Read currently serves 4.7 million children in the United States.

Jun 25, 2020 /

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Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) is pleased to announce Vinu Madhu, M.D. will be joining the medical staff team and the Uvalde community in July 2020. Dr. Madhu will practice hematology and medical oncology (chemotherapy) for Uvalde Memorial Hospital at Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center in suite 200.

Following Texas Oncology’s decision to cease services in Uvalde in November 2019, UMH set out to find a solution for quality hematology and medical oncology provided locally for the service region.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Madhu joining our community, medical staff, and UMH team. We know there’s been a huge void for cancer care over the last 6 months and we are excited to have found a solution that will provide the very best oncology and hematology services to our region,” stated Tom Nordwick, UMH CEO.

Dr. Madhu graduated from the University Of Kerala in India with his medical degree in 2004 and received his Master of Science in Molecular Biology from West Virginia University in 2007. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

Dr. Madhu went on to complete a fellowship in hospice and palliative care medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, a fellowship in investigational cancer therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

With board certifications in medical oncology, hematology, hospice and palliative care, and internal medicine, Dr. Madhu currently serves as an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio.

“I’ve very much enjoyed my time at UT MD Anderson San Antonio, but I’ve missed doing a little bit of everything in hematology and oncology, like I was doing in rural West Virginia,” stated Madhu regarding his move to Uvalde.

While at UT MD Anderson San Antonio, Dr. Madhu has taken care of many patients from Uvalde and nearby areas who shared with him they were forced to drive up to 2 hours for cancer care.

“It felt like an unreasonable burden for those who deserve quality care in their town, where they have their family, friends, and a support system,” Dr. Madhu said.

“I’ve missed being in a close-knit community with a smaller population; a setting where your colleagues become your friends. A community where doctors get to know their patients, families, and friends. I’m looking forward to having that again,” shared Dr. Madhu.

Dr. Madhu brings with him his wife, Sandhya, and their two daughters, ages 9 and 2. The couple says the wide-open spaces of the Uvalde area is an ideal setting for raising their children. Fresh, clean air, access to local fresh produce, and virtually no commute are all things they are looking forward to.

“My older daughter is a nature lover who can’t wait to explore the outdoors. We’re looking forward to hiking and seeing Garner State Park. Our 2-year-old is a bundle of energy who will definitely enjoy a home with a big backyard and playset,” Dr. Madhu said.

Dr. Madhu will begin seeing patients August 3. New patient applications can be submitted to UMH Hematology and Medical Oncology located at 1195 Garner Field Road, Building A, Suite 200 beginning July 6. For additional information on becoming a patient, please contact the office, beginning July 6, at 830-407-8415.

Jun 23, 2020 /

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After completing the Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on June 22, 2020 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH), 8 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by UMH community health worker, Rosie Verdusco, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion. This course was limited to 8 students to ensure safe social distancing, and masks were worn throughout the entirety of the class.

The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

“Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Rosie Verdusco, certified course instructor.

Participants included (pictured, L-R) Isis Chapa, Emily Gonzalas, Jesus Perez, Isabela Mariscal, Makayla Perez, Lauren Hynes, Meghan Hynes, Celia Navarro, and UMH Community Health Worker Rosie Verdusco.

The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held July 8, 2020. There is a $35 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

Jun 2, 2020 /

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Update from Dr. Jared Reading regarding questions on when the county should revert back to a 25% occupancy for retail and restaurants: 

The governor’s order set out three criteria for when a county should revert back to 25% occupancy, from the 50% occupancy at which Uvalde is currently. 

The 3 conditions are: 

  1. Five consecutive testing/tracking intervals with positivity rates greater than 12% in that interval.
  2. The county has more than 3 positive cases per 1000 residents.
  3. Less than 15% of the surge capacity in hospitals for the catchment area is available. 

Positivity is a measure of how many tests are being performed and how many result positive. It will help you decide if the county is doing enough testing. A lower positivity rate is better. 

Uvalde County had 8 cases turn positive from May 26 to June 1. During that time, 142 Uvalde County residents were tested yielding a positivity rate of 5.6%, well below the 12% threshold. 

Uvalde County has approximately 27,000 residents so it would take 81 active cases to revert to 25% occupancy. Again, Uvalde County is well below that threshold. 

Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) has 6 dedicated rooms that are kept for COVID patients. More severe cases will be sent to San Antonio. Neither UMH nor San Antonio are at the 15% surge capacity threshold. 

Based on the governor’s disaster declaration mandates, Uvalde County is not required to shutdown at this time. 

For the governor’s opening guidelines for sports and other activities, visit: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas 

Sports activities, pools and many other activities are not required to be shutdown at this time, but they may choose to do so if they do not have the ability to safely open per the guidance given by the governor’s office. 

The governor’s office is expected to give more guidance on opening on June 3, 2020.

Jun 1, 2020 /

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  • 8 new cases in Uvalde County in the last week. 6 cases are in the zip code 78801 and 2 from 78881. Timing of 6 of the cases is consistent with Memorial Day activities. The 7th case is from sometime in mid-May and is community spread, the source will never be known.
  • By the Governor’s mandate, the staff and residents of nursing homes are being tested; this includes approximately 320 persons locally. Results take 3-5 days. Testing is being performed by the National Guard on May 31, 2020 and June 1, 2020.
  • Pandemic planning for Uvalde, TX using Centers for Disease Control (CDC) best current estimates for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

The CDC lists 5 scenarios for pandemic planning on the site. The following numbers are using scenario 5 for Uvalde County. Scenario 5 is what the CDC states is their current best estimate based on existing data. 

  • Uvalde County has 27,000 residents, 16.8 percent of which are over 65. (https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/uvaldecountytexas#)
  • Current best estimate is that 35 percent of all infections are asymptomatic. 
    • 27,000*0.35=9,450 people wouldn’t know they have the disease (asymptomatic). 
    • Leaving 17,550 who become symptomatic.

Mortality estimates: 

  • 1 of every 2,000 people ages 0-49 who became symptomatic would die.
  • 1 of every 500 people ages 50-64 who became symptomatic would die.
  • 13 of every 1,000 people (1.3%) over 65 who became symptomatic would die.
  • Overall, 0.4 percent of symptomatic persons would die or 70 Uvaldeans; 58 of whom would be over 65.
  • When you add in the asymptomatic persons, overall mortality is 0.26 percent per the current best estimate of CDC epidemiologists.

Hospitalization estimates:

  • 17 of every 1000 people (1.7%) ages 0-49 who became symptomatic would be hospitalized.
  • 45 of every 1000 people (4.5%) ages 50-64 who became symptomatic would be hospitalized.
  • 74 of every 1000 people (7.4%) over 65 who became symptomatic would be hospitalized.
  • Overall its 3.4 percent of symptomatic person would need hospitalization or 597 people, 336 would be over 65. 

This is assuming the CDC’s estimate of 100 percent infection of the population. The goal of flattening the curve is to make it manageable for the healthcare systems so that those who need hospitalization will have it available at that time. The state epidemiologists believe a manageable infection rate is 3 active infections per 1000 population; or 81 active infections for our county of 27000 people. 

UMH currently does not have access to the only known drug to decrease illness severity. Any patient with overwhelming disease, comorbidities, or who may need ventilation will be sent to a COVID center in San Antonio.

May 29, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has confirmed four additional cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Uvalde County today. These cases bring the Uvalde County active case count to five; and total confirmed cases to eleven. 

Three of today’s cases are directly linked to the positive case confirmed yesterday, May 28. The individuals have been in quarantine since earlier this week when another household member was tested for COVID-19 at the hospital’s emergency room. 

The fourth case is independent and an elderly woman. The Uvalde County resident is being treated at a facility in San Antonio. The case is still under investigation. 

“The source of yesterday’s case and today’s independent case are still not yet known. They appear to be active community spread, meaning the source of the case cannot be located. These cases are not related to travel or known high risk exposure,” said Dr. Jared Reading with Uvalde Health Authority. 

All high-risk contacts and high-risk locations are being notified, and will continue to be notified, by the state. 

“Results from contacts of current active cases will continue to trickle in as high-risk people are contacted and tested. As these come in we can expect to see the case count continue to rise,” Dr. Reading added. 

All individuals are being monitored by Uvalde Health Authority and will remain in quarantine until meeting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria for release.

May 28, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has confirmed the seventh positive case of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Uvalde County.

“This patient is a Uvalde County woman in her 20’s. She came to the hospital emergency room on Tuesday and we received her results today,” said Dr. Jared Reading with Uvalde Health Authority.

The individual and household members have been in quarantine since testing was done earlier this week. The patient is recovering at home and the family is being monitored at home for symptoms. They will remain in quarantine until meeting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria for release. 

The case is currently under investigation by TDSHS and Uvalde Health Authority. It is unknown at this time whether the case is travel related or community spread.

May 8, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has announced that an 82-year-old female confirmed positive for COVID-19 is currently being treated at Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH). The individual resides in another county and will not be counted in Uvalde Healthy Authority’s Uvalde County case count. The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) is handling the contact tracing for the county of residence, and management of the patient’s caregivers while she was in that county. 

Sentinel testing of UMH hospital personnel who have had contact with the patient is being performed out of an abundance of caution. 

Uvalde County has had only six positive COVID-19 cases since March 26, all of which have recovered, and no new positive cases since April 8. For additional information, please visit www.uvaldehealthauthority.org.

Apr 9, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has confirmed the sixth positive case of coronavirus, or COVID- 19, in Uvalde County. 

The case has been traced to travel from the Illinois area. “This patient has known immune compromise and was tested due to lingering symptoms,” said Dr. Jared Reading with Uvalde Health Authority. 

The individual has been in quarantine for over 14 days and will remain in quarantine until meeting Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria for release. 

All Uvalde County active positive COVID-19 cases, and their close contacts, are in home isolation and monitored at least daily.

Apr 7, 2020 /

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In response to COVID-19, Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates and The Sabinal Health Clinic are now offering teleheath and drive-up services for patients. We understand that during this time, health and safety are of utmost importance. To schedule your appointment, please call the office to discuss your visit options!

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Apr 3, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has confirmed the fifth positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID- 19, in Uvalde County.

“This case, as all the others, can be traced to out of state travel or contact with a known positive case within the state or county. This person has been home caring for one of our earlier cases,” said Dr. Jared Reading with Uvalde Health Authority.

The individual had been in isolation for 7 days, was evaluated for developing symptoms and tested, and returned home for continued isolation.

All positive cases and their close contacts are in home isolation and monitored at least daily. Uvalde emergency preparedness response teams have been notified of all known cases and will continue to respond to community needs.

Representatives from the Uvalde Health Authority will host a press conference at 1:30PM on the east side of the Uvalde County Courthouse.

Apr 1, 2020 /

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Uvalde Health Authority (UHA) has announced two additional confirmed positive cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Uvalde County. The two cases are unrelated to one another but both patients were seen in the hospital’s emergency room outdoor patient screening lane. Both individuals were at home in quarantine due to suspected exposure, reported to the emergency room for testing as directed, and returned home for quarantine. Hospital personnel who treated the patients were fully protected by personal protective equipment (PPE). 

“Both cases can be traced to a known positive contact, there is not yet sustained community transmission,” said Dr. Jared Reading with Uvalde Health Authority. 

Although these individuals have both been in quarantine, local and state health teams are already working quickly on contact tracing to reduce risk of further infection within our area. Both patients are being monitored by Uvalde Health Authority.

Mar 28, 2020 /

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Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) has announced their second confirmed positive case of coronavirus, or COVID-19. The patient was seen at the hospital’s emergency room outdoor patient screening lane on the afternoon of Thursday, March 26. The individual has been at home in quarantine since that time. Hospital personnel who treated the patient were fully protected by personal protective equipment (PPE).

The news of the second case comes just after yesterday’s announcement by Uvalde County Judge William R. Mitchell and Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. appointing Dr. Jared Reading as the local health authority for the county and the city. Dr. Reading is a board-certified radiologist and the medical director of the hospital’s imaging department. He is chairman of the board of Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates and a member of the Uvalde EMS board of directors.

UMH continues to work closely with City and County officials to take precautions and mitigate the spread of the virus within the community.

Local and state health teams are already working quickly on contact tracing to reduce risk of further infection within our area.

Representatives from the City of Uvalde, Uvalde County, and Uvalde Memorial Hospital will host a press conference at 11:30AM on the east side of the Uvalde County Courthouse.

Mar 27, 2020 /

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Visitation guidelines effective today, Friday, March 27 at 6:00PM are:

UMH is closed to all visitors. Exceptions are as follows:

  • Visitor(s) of critical and/or dying patients
  • Single parent/guardian of pediatric admissions
  • Single caregiver for patient with deficit in mentation (ex: dementia, delirium, risk of harm to self)
  • Women's and Newborns' Center:
    No visitors or support person(s) will be allowed on the unit. Special arrangements will be made for a single support person for patients who are delivering. Patients who anticipate delivering in the next 14 days should visit with their doctor at their next appointment, or call the Women's and Newborns' Center for additional details at (830) 278- 6251 ext. 1121. Pre-delivery orientation to this new guideline is available for patients and their support person.
Mar 27, 2020 /

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There's a lot of bad information out there about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Some of it may come from people who mean well. But to stay healthy, you want to follow good advice from reliable sources.

Here are some good things to know about COVID-19.

Fact: One of the best ways to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean.

Washing your hands with soap and water will get rid of viruses that may be on your hands. Washing often can help you avoid being infected if you touch your eyes, mouth or nose. Soap and water work best, but a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can work too.

Fact: People of all ages can get COVID-19.

Anyone can get very sick with this virus. Older people and those with certain health conditions may be more likely to have severe symptoms. But younger people can get sick themselves or pass the virus on to someone who gets very ill.

Myth: You can kill the virus by using an ultraviolet (UV) lamp.

UV lamps should not be used to clean your hands or other areas of the skin. UV light can cause skin irritation.

Myth: Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body can kill the virus.

Not true. Spraying alcohol or chlorine on yourself will not kill viruses that are already in your body. (Neither will drinking alcohol.) And using it on your skin could harm sensitive areas, like your eyes or mouth. But alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces like kitchen counters and doorknobs.

Fact: The virus may not cause symptoms right away.

It can take anywhere from 2 to 14 days before people who are infected become sick and develop symptoms like a fever, cough or shortness of breath.

Fact: Vaccines for pneumonia and the flu won't protect you from COVID-19.

It's true that these vaccines don't protect against COVID-19. But they are important for other reasons. Almost everyone 6 months and older needs a flu shot every year. Kids under 2 years, adults over 65, people who smoke and people with certain medical conditions also need the pneumococcal vaccine.

Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 right now.

Myth: Antibiotics will work against COVID-19.

Antibiotics can't fight viruses, like COVID-19. They only work against bacteria. If you're hospitalized with COVID-19, however, you might be given antibiotics to help you avoid certain kinds of pneumonia.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; World Health Organization

Mar 26, 2020 /

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The Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer, along with hospital administration, have decided to update our visitation guidelines effective this evening.

Updated visitation guidelines effective today, Thursday, March 26 at 6:00PM are:

UMH is closed to all visitors. Exceptions are as follows:

  • Visitor(s) of critical and/or dying patients
  • Single parent/guardian of pediatric admissions
  • Single caregiver for patient with deficit in mentation (ex: dementia, delirium, risk of harm to self)
  • One support person for labor patients, if the patient insists
Mar 26, 2020 /

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Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) has announced their first confirmed positive case of coronavirus, or COVID-19. The patient was seen in the hospital’s emergency room on the evening of Wednesday, March 25. The individual was transferred by ground to a San Antonio hospital. Both the UMH emergency room team and the medical transport team took all necessary precautions and were fully protected by personal protective equipment (PPE).

“We understand that community members are concerned about the spread of COVID-19. The hospital, the City of Uvalde, and Uvalde County will all continue to work diligently to take precautions and mitigate any spread of this virus. Keeping our community safe and healthy is our top priority,” said Tom Nordwick, hospital CEO.

“It is important to note that the hospital and transport team had both proactively implemented precautionary measures for COVID-19. All healthcare contact and exposure were minimized in this incident,” Nordwick added.

Local and state health teams are already working quickly on contact tracing to reduce risk of further infection within our area.

Representatives from Uvalde Memorial Hospital, City of Uvalde, and Uvalde County will host a press conference at 11:30AM on the east side of the Uvalde County Courthouse.

Mar 17, 2020 /

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Please note the following temporary changes to be implemented on Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00 AM as Uvalde Memorial Hospital takes extra precautions for the safety of our patients, staff, and community. 

Hospital Entrances 

  • The Registration/ER entrance will be the only entrance open for visitors and patients to enter and exit the facility. All patients and visitors will be screened before entering. 
  • Employees will use a badge-access designated entrance upon arrival and departure and will be screened before entering and leaving the building.
  • The Garner Field Road entrance, by the Gift Shop, will be closed. 

Visitor & Patient Parking 

  • Visitor and patient parking will be located on the east side of the hospital off of Kessler Drive by the Registration/ER entrance. 

Temporary Visitation Guidelines

  • Visitors will be allowed from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM only.
  • Each patient will designate one visitor. Visitors will enter through the Registration/ER entrance and be screened upon arrival.
  • No minors (under the age of 18). 

Outpatient Services

  • Out-patient departments will be limiting the number of patients in waiting rooms and treatment areas as necessary for social distancing purposes. Patients visiting out-patient areas like the Wound Care Center, the Rehabilitation Center, the Specialty Clinic, and Uvalde Medical & Surgical Associates will receive a call prior to their appointment if these changes will affect their visit in any way. 

Ancillary Services

  • Social Services: Social Services will be temporarily relocated to the financial counselor’s office in the registration lobby. We encourage individuals with an appointment to complete their appointment by phone if possible by calling 830-278-6251 ext. 1309.
  • Medical Records: All medical record related services will be completed via phone. Please call 830-278-6251 ext. 1164 or 1159 for requests or more information.
  • Medicaid: The Medicaid caseworker will be taking appointments via phone only at 830-278-6251 ext. 1181.

As new cases of COVID-19 are identified nationwide, UMH continues to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) guidelines for protection. At this time the CDC & DSHS will authorize testing only for those displaying symptoms and that have been directly in contact with an infected individual. Those whom have traveled through areas listed as high-risk are advised to practice social distancing and stay home for 14 days from the time they left the high-risk area. 

While practicing home confinement watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs: 

  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs are: 
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse 
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Mar 13, 2020 /

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COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, continues to receive substantial media attention as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this week elevated the status of the illness to a pandemic and President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States beginning March 13 at midnight.

“The CDC has upgraded COVID-19 to a pandemic status. This decision was not necessarily due to the seriousness of the illness itself, but rather because of how quickly it has spread,” said Tom Nordwick, CEO of Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

Locally, Uvalde Memorial Hospital is staying up to date on Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) protocol and recommendations, as DSHS works closely with the CDC to monitor the outbreak.

There have been no reported or confirmed cases locally, but fear and panic seem to be present.

“The media has given significant attention to COVID-19, a new strain of Coronavirus, and that attention has created a substantial amount of fear,” Nordwick said.

What Is COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause mild colds. These viruses are seen year-round, although like other cold viruses, they are more prevalent in the winter. COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus. Individuals’ immune systems have never seen this virus before and it is likely to be widespread, but just like other Coronaviruses most people will have mild illnesses.

“Like other Coronaviruses, COVID-19 will cause cold and cough symptoms, sometimes a sore throat, and probably a mild fever,” stated David ‘Cliff’ White, M.D., chief medical officer at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

People are exposed to so many other viruses in the same family on a regular basis that some cross-immunity to this new strain does exist. A healthy immune system will recognize the virus and respond quickly. This is likely why the death rate is so low and there have been no pediatric deaths reported. Like other viruses, there is greater concern for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

“Like other viruses, there is no treatment besides treating the symptoms - Tylenol and Motrin, cough drops, and/or humidifiers (cool-mist for children) are all good options,” Dr. White added.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The predominant symptoms of COVID-19 have been reported to be fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Although individuals are encouraged to stay home for mild cold and cough symptoms, contact your medical provider or seek medical care for the following:

  • Any fever over 100.4 in a baby under 90 days old
  • Fever over 100.4 in adults when combined with cough, shortness of breath, or similar lower-respiratory symptoms (not runny nose or allergy-like symptoms)
  • Respiratory distress: barking cough, increased work of breathing, or cough that interferes with sleep or regular activities
  • Dehydration: dry mouth, dark urine, light-headedness or dizziness, or intense fatigue

  • Spreading COVID-19

    Basic hygiene steps are extremely effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

    The spread in other countries has been multiplied largely through emergency rooms and medical offices where infected people visit. Individuals should avoid going to those places unless there is a medical emergency or another need to see their physician.

    “Taking simple universal precautions, like good hand washing, will significantly decrease the spread of this illness,” advised Jared Reading, M.D., board president of Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates and chief radiologist at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

    “Most importantly, don’t panic. A great example of how universal precautions can keep it at bay: a hospital in Hong Kong treated over 200 cases of COVID-19 and not a single healthcare worker at the facility was infected,” Dr. Reading added

    Testing for COVID-19

    Hospitals throughout the state have been equipped with a limited number of testing kits and individuals must meet multiple requirements set by Texas Health and Human Services (THHS) to qualify for COVID-19 testing. A person will only be tested if they:

    • Show signs of a fever or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness and has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
    • Show signs of a fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness, and has a history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset or has risk factors (like diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease or chronic kidney disease that put them at a higher risk of poor outcomes)
    • Show signs of a fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and no source of exposure has been identified

    Testing for COVID-19 will be directed by an individual’s physician. Test results may take up to 96 hours to be returned from the CDC. In most cases the person will be asked to go home and quarantine themselves until results are received.

    If an individual or their physician suspect COVID-19 or another similar respiratory illness, the person should stay home from work and keep children home from school. Generally, it is safe to return to work or school when no fever is present for 24 hours, there is no more than occasional coughing, and the person is well enough to participate in regular activities.

    Local Response to COVID-19

    Locally, representatives from more than 15 different agencies met on Thursday, March 12, under the direction of City of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and Uvalde County Judge, The Honorable William Mitchell, to discuss the current status of COVID-19, share updates affecting each agency, and to assess a city and county-wide plan for response.

    Agencies with representatives who shared updates included City of Uvalde, Uvalde County, Uvalde Memorial Hospital, Uvalde County Office of Emergency Management, Uvalde County Sherriff’s Office, City of Uvalde Police Department, US Border Patrol, Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC), Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD), Community Health Development, Inc. (CHDI), and Amistad Nursing and Rehabilitation.

    The discussion began with Mayor Don McLaughlin and Judge Mitchell sharing their concerns over the spread of the virus, their strong desire to ensure Uvalde and the surrounding area are prepared, and the importance for the general public to stay calm and stay informed. Hospital CEO Tom Nordwick shared CDC information including the most current status of the illness, the qualifications for an individual to be tested for COVID-19, and the testing process.

    Uvalde County Public Health Nurse Terri Black, RN advised the group to avoid mass gatherings, encourage individuals to quarantine themselves if any symptoms of a respiratory illness are present, and to call a physician before reporting to an emergency room or physician office. Black also shared with the group that the illness itself typically lasts 14 days and symptoms become most predominate around day 5.

    UCISD superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell shared that school will resume, as previously scheduled, on Tuesday, March 17 for students, with staff returning on Monday, March 16. With no local cases reported the Texas Education Agency has indicated there is no reason, at present, for schools to close. UCISD has ample cleaning supplies and will be increasing the frequency of sanitizing school buses and school furniture. The district is taking extra precautions for extra-curricular UIL activities and students and parents will be kept informed as any potential cancelations for those activities may arise.

    SWTJC president Dr. Hector Gonzales announced that the campus’s spring break would be extended an additional week and beginning March 23 most classes will transition to online. Dual credit classes will be suspended only on March 16 and will resume Tuesday, March 17. Sul Ross State University (SRSU) was not in attendance but later released a statement that they will also be extending their spring break an additional week. Beginning March 23 through April 12, SRSU courses will be conducted remotely and any exceptions will be communicated to students directly by the instructor.

    Uvalde County Sherriff Charles Mendeke, Judge Camille DuBose, and City Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez also shared brief updates.

    Other agencies in attendance were Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas State Game Wardens, Uvalde EMS, Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department, Concan Volunteer Fire Department, Utopia Volunteer Fire Department, and Knippa Independent School District.

    The group will follow up with regularly scheduled meetings to continue monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak closely.

    UMH will be implementing temporary changes effective Tuesday, March 17 at 8:00 AM.
    We greatly appreciate your patience as information on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and we continuously monitor CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines. Your safety is our priority!

    To view temporary changes at UMH, click HERE

    Mar 2, 2020 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) is hosting the second annual Behavioral Health Symposium on May 5that SSGT. Willie De Leon Civic Center. Led by the UMH Crossroads program, this all day event is one of a kind for the region, focusing on providing professionals, in a variety of fields associated with mental health in any capacity, with the knowledge and tools to continue improving their skills.

    Mental health is a growing epidemic in the country and the State of Texas. In Texas alone, 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health concern this year, and twenty percent of children ages 9-17 have a diagnosed mental illness. With statistics like these, progress in fields related to mental health has the potential to change and save lives. This event is tailored for professionals, but also open to the public. Continuing education units (CEUs) will be awarded for nurses, licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors and licensed counselor social workers.

    Keynote speaker, Jim Denning, will begin at 8:30am. Best known as an urban survival specialist, stemming from his experience in navigating the demands of corporate life, Jim came to realize: the expectation that he ascends the ladder of success to become a leader, wasn’t aligned with who he really is. Jim changed the way he viewed his brain and himself and overcame a ‘treatment resistant’ prognosis after multiple mental health diagnoses. Denning is a licensed professional counselor, pastor, and published author.

    Other topics discussed will be self-care for caregivers and professionals by Tiffany Culver, Ph.D., with Sul Ross State University, trends in mental health by Greg Hansch, BA, LMSW, with National Alliance on Mental Illness, identifying adverse childhood experiences and understanding and the impact on brain development led by Niki Henderson, M.Ed., LPC, with Uvalde CISD and transforming behavioral ehalth through the Medicaid 1115 and waiver and trauma informed care by Carol Huber, MBA, with University Healthy System and Teresa Thompson with Hill Country MHDD.

    Following focus topics will be a speaker question and answer panel. Closing remarks and CEU certificates will be given at the end of the event at 4:30pm.

    Early bird registration is now available. Registration cost will increase after April 1st.

    Interested individuals can register and pay online by May 4th atwww.umhtx.org/events/BHS.Registration and payment by check is also accepted.

    Sponsorship opportunities are also available and details can be found on the website: www.umhtx.org/events/BHS.

    Feb 11, 2020 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is currently accepting applications for their Fall 2020 Nursing Scholarship. Applications will be accepted until Monday, June 8th.

    Interested individuals are required to complete an application process, which consists of sharing past educational accomplishments as well as future educational and professional goals, demonstrating financial need, and expressing their personal commitment to serving their community after completion of their degree. Scholarship applicants must be residents of Uvalde, Edwards, Kinney, Real or Zavala Counties and enrolled in a college program to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

    The UMH Auxiliary has given scholarships to area students pursuing their education in the nursing field for nearly 25years. In that time, they have given more than $60,000 in scholarships for LVNs and RNs continuing education. The scholarship program is made possible through special fundraising initiatives by the Hospital Auxiliary.

    Applications can be picked up in the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Human Resources Department, or found online at www.umhtx.org/careers/scholarships. Completed applications must be submitted by June 8th. For more information, please contact Charla Carter, Director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services, at 830-278-6251 extension 1435.

    Jan 17, 2020 /

    Topic:

    Sandra E. Boenig, D.O. was presented with a plaque for being named a Top General Surgeon of 2019 by Top Doc. Top Doc is a national organization which recognizes high performing, clinically astute doctors in the United States. The award is achieved based on doctor’s performance as measured by reviews written by patients. Dr. Boenig is a board-certified general surgeon at UMSA and specializes in breast and advanced minimally invasive surgeries. Boenig is a member of American Society for Breast Surgeons and an active participant in the Mastery of Breast Surgery Program.

    Jan 15, 2020 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) Rehabilitation Department has announced the addition of Licensed Physical Therapist, Sydney Buchanan. Buchanan joined UMH’s rehabilitation department in November.

    Buchanan graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University in May of 2015 and went on to obtain her Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from The University of the Incarnate Word in May 2019.

    Buchanan was a student physical therapist at UMH in the summer of 2017 and completed additional student rotations at Results Physiotherapy Medical Center in San Antonio, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, and Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio. Buchanan has clinical experience through volunteer work at Brazos Valley Sports Medicine and St. Joseph’s Regional Health center, both in College Station. Through student rotations and volunteer work, Buchanan has clinical experience in a variety of practice settings and with diverse patient populations.

    “Sydney was a clinical student in my first year as director,” Matthew Hughes, director of UMH rehabilitation services, said.

    “Even though it was her first clinical experience she impressed me with her poise, work ethic, relatability, and professionalism. Those are intangible traits that are hard to teach. We had several patients recognize her in their patient satisfaction surveys,” Hughes added.

    With hopes that Buchanan would consider UMH as a place of employment upon graduation, Hughes remained in touch.

    “As a previous student at UMH, I really enjoyed and connected with the patient population we have here in Uvalde,” Buchanan said.

    “It was one of my most, if not my most, rewarding rotations as a student because of the one-on-one time we have with our patients to see them progress and work towards their goals with our help,” Buchanan shared.

    Buchanan feels her career at UMH is a great opportunity to grow professionally with the resources and support that the rehabilitation department provides through physical, speech, and occupational therapies.

    “We are happy she chose to return to Uvalde with all of her positive attributes, armed with additional knowledge, and experience that will help our community,” Hughes said.

    Buchanan was born and raised in Uvalde and is a Uvalde High School graduate. She is the daughter of John and Noreen Buchanan of Uvalde.

    For more information about the UMH rehabilitation department, call (830)- 278- 6251 extension 1621.

    Jan 3, 2020 /

    Topic:

    With 10 fingers and toes, two ears, and a button nose, Daniella Leigh Rodriguez Jr. was the first-baby born at Uvalde Memorial Hospital in 2020.

    She was delivered at 10:12 p.m. on Jan. 2, weighing 6 pounds, 13.1 ounces, and measured 17.5 inches in length.

    Her parents are Daniella and Karlos Rodriguez of Uvalde. She is welcomed by two brothers, Felipe Martinez, age 13 and Karlos Rodriguez Jr, age 2; and one sister, Giovanna Marquez, age 11....

    Link to full article HERE:

    Jan 3, 2020 /

    Topic:

    After completing the Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on January 3rd, 2020 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH), 7 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by UMH community health workers, Rosie Verdusco and Lydia Canales, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

    Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

    “Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Rosie Verdusco, certified course instructor.

    Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

    Participants included: (Pictured Bottom L-R) Summer Knape, Nayeli Quintero, Juliana Rodriguez, Arianna Rodriguez, Terah Martinez; (Top L-R) UMH Community Health Worker Rosie Verdusco, Marlene Horch, Elena Garcia

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held March 9th, 2020. There is a $35 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Nov 27, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital made a monumental step in proceeding with the hospital replacement project upon holding a formal pre-construction conference with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on November 20 and closing interim financing arrangements with First State Bank of Uvalde (FSB) on November 26. With the completion of those two tasks, UMH has issued the Notice to Proceed to project contractor Hoar Construction, and work will begin on-site on December 2, 2019.

    Long term financing was secured with the USDA earlier this year, and with short-term financing now secured through FSB, the hospital board and administrators, alongside owner’s representatives Steve Larson and Chris Larson from Next, Inc., architectural firm Perkins+Will, and contractor Hoar Construction, will begin the 18-24 month process of building the hospital’s new 160,000 square foot facility.

    “These are exciting times for the future of healthcare in Uvalde and the surrounding area. First State Bank is very proud to be a part of the new hospital and making the construction come to fruition,” stated Chad D. Stary, President and CEO of First State Bank of Uvalde. “There has been a legacy relationship between the Bank and Hospital and we look forward to the vision and growth this new facility will provide to help grow our area and provide healthcare services to all the residents.”

    The new 2-story facility, which will lie southeast of the current building, is anticipated to be complete in the second half of 2021 for a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of just over $91 million. The new building will expand the hospital’s current footprint with a configuration that includes larger patient rooms and a layout that will meet regulatory standards.

    On the first floor, outpatient services will be easily accessible and an expanded emergency room with additional treatment rooms will neighbor space housing urgent care services. On the second floor, 25 inpatient beds and 19 outpatient beds will increase patient privacy and evolve the delivery of care to better accommodate patients, visitors, and staff with new efficiencies and improved amenities not currently available. Care between inpatient and outpatient beds will remain seamless from a patient’s perspective.

    “Like hospitals around the nation, the bulk of services provided 10-15 years ago were inpatient, and hospitals were built accordingly. Today, most services are outpatient, and patients go home the same day of service. Our new facility will focus on this industry-wide shift with an efficient, patient-centered layout housing outpatient services in a centralized manner,” CEO Tom Nordwick shared.

    The more efficient layout will house some departments in larger areas, or smaller areas, based on each service’s needs, but hospital board and administration do not anticipate any reduction in services.

    The new facility will also provide opportunities to implement new technology and equipment such as fully integrated operating rooms, controlled access for patient and visitor safety, the latest environmental systems further reducing risk of infection, advanced patient call and response systems, and cutting edge diagnostic tools.

    Many possibilities for the hospital’s existing facilities were explored and no viable alternative uses were identified.

    “While we explored many options and wish to be good stewards of the current building, we did not find a financially feasible use for the aging plant,” Nordwick stated.

    In phase two of the replacement project, the current building will be erased and transformed to better accommodate patients and visitors with additional parking and outdoors space, and areas potentially available for community use as well.

    Extensive preparation for the replacement project has spanned over the last 2 years, but seeds for a project of this magnitude were planted years before as previous administrator Jim Buckner and the hospital board realized a need to plan for the future of healthcare in Uvalde and the surrounding areas. At that time, a project was not financially realistic but the team’s foresight laid the groundwork that, years later, has made the project a reality.

    In December of 2017, administrator Tom Nordwick, on behalf of the board, medical staff, and administration, announced the hospital’s intent to proceed with a replacement project. Space needs assessments, preliminary design, development of detailed renderings, and schematic design took place throughout 2018. The year 2019 consisted of the selection of a construction firm, coordination for financing, and a ground breaking in August.

    For additional information on the building project or hospital tours, please contact Karla Radicke, at 830.278.6251 ext. 1037.

    PICTURE: (L-R) Chad Stary, President and CEO of First State Bank of Uvalde, and Tom Nordwick, CEO of Uvalde Memorial Hospital, sit with Kyla Dodson, escrow assistant at Garner Abstract & Land Company, to finalize documents securing short-term financing of the hospital’s building replacement project. Upon signing financing documents Uvalde Memorial Hospital issued notice to proceed on November 26 to contractor Hoar Construction and site-work will begin December 2.

    Nov 26, 2019 /

    Topic:

    After completing the Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on November 25, 2019 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH), 8 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by UMH community health workers, Rosie Verdusco and Lydia Canales, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

    Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

    “Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Rosie Verdusco, certified course instructor.

    Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

    Participants included: (Pictured Bottom L-R) Mia Rios, Alexis Ruiz, Adrian Lomas, Maree Hernandez (Top L-R) Marilyn Olivarez, Amber Gonzales, Hayley McGuire, Yuliana Ramos, UMH Community Health Worker Rosie Verdusco

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held January 3, 2020. There is a $35 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Nov 25, 2019 /

    Topic:

    TMF Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award honors physician practices for effective care management, preventative health services

    Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates (UMSA) and Sabinal Health Clinic have received an award from TMF Health Quality Institute, formerly Texas Medical Foundation. The Gold TMF Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award received by UMSA and Sabinal is awarded for improving patient outcomes in high-priority clinical areas while applying innovativestrategies to advance quality health care.

    The team from UMSA and Sabinal Health Clinic are among a group of health care providers in seven states to receive the award. The TMF Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award is based on the four categories of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System: Quality Measures, Promoting Interoperability, Improvement Activities and Cost/Utilization. Practices were assessed on clinical outcome measures for the 2018 calendar year.

    “Delivering quality care requires an ongoing commitment to assessing, testing and improving processes,” said Brandi Smith, Director of UMSA.

    “Our staff is honored to receive this award recognizing the value of this work. We look forward to continually finding new ways to provide quality, patient-focused care,” Smith said.

    TMF Health Quality Institute and Texas medical associations collaborated to introduce the award program in 2012 to recognize top-performing practices. TMF has since extended the program to include practices in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

    The award criteria align with national health priorities established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve patient care and satisfaction and promote effective care management. Award recipients demonstrated how they have actively incorporated health information technology and strategies to promote patient engagement and improve the patient experience.

    “Physicians and their clinics hold critical front-line roles in health care delivery,” said Gary W. Floyd, MD, and chair of the TMF Board of Trustees. “Improving health care involves multiple strategies – from applying new technologies, to developing programs that promote healthy living. Through coordinated and data-driven strategies, these physicians are making a difference in the lives of their patients and their communities.”

    “My staff and I know hard work is never-ending, and we will continue to take steps to improve our patients’ lives through quality health care,” says Smith.

    For more information about the TMF Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award, and to view the complete list of award recipients, visit https://award.tmf.org/.

    Nov 22, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Family Practice Association (UFPA) is pleased to announce the addition of Emily Schorr, board certified Family Nurse Practicioner (FNP-BC), to their practice. Emily practices family medicine and has diverse work experiences, including primary and family care, pediatrics, and home health and hospice. She will be joining physician Cherie L. Hauptmeier, D.O., along with nurse practitioners Morgan Rowell, FNP-BC and Jane Champion, FNP-BC.

    Emily earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing and Master’s of Science in nursing both from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. During her time at A&M she received the O’Neill Award for Caring, awarded to a single student per graduating class who models academic excellence and exceptional patient-centered care.

    Emily has worked previously as a family nurse practicioner at Lone Star Family Medicine in Pleasanton. As a registered nurse Emily worked at CHRISTUS – Children’s Hospital of San Antonio providing care on their pediatric intermediate care unit for chronically and critically ill patients. At CHRISTUS she achieved the highest clinical ladder possible in just two years. She was also a Daisy Award Nominee at CHRISTUS, a recognition awarded by patients and their families to exceptional nurses for outstanding care, patient satisfaction, and sincere patient rapport.

    Emily is a Castroville native and now resides in Devine with her husband and son. She is excited to be a part of the Uvalde community as she is passionate about rural, underserved patient care populations.

    “I am thrilled to join Uvalde Family Practice. I knew the first time I met Dr. Wegrzyn and saw the practice that it was where I wanted to be,” Emily said.

    “A clinic in a rural underserved area was exactly what I wanted – it really is my dream job,” Emily added.

    Emily has begun seeing patients of Uvalde Family Practice Association located at 1800 Garner Field Road. Uvalde Family Practice is also pleased to have Dr. Steve Garza, Dr. Kevin Uptergrove, Dr. Erika Garcia, and Dr. David White providing clinical coverage for patients while Dr. Cherie Hauptmeier is on a short leave. UFPA is actively recruiting and looks forward to the addition of a new doctor on their staff in the coming months.

    For additional information on becoming a patient, please contact the UFPA office at 830-278-4453.

    Nov 21, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital will join the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other rural stakeholders in celebrating National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 21, 2019.

    NOSORH founded National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related challenges; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those challenges. National Rural Health Day is an annual day of recognition that occurs on the third Thursday of November.

    An estimated 57 million people – nearly one in five Americans – live in rural communities throughout the United States.

    “These small towns, farming communities, and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” says Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH CEO.

    “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America,” Eisinger added.

    These communities also face unique healthcare needs and challenges.

    “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”

    State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens.

    “We are very blessed in Uvalde to have a thriving hospital. An independent rural hospital doing very well on its own is truly a rarity these days,” said Tom Nordwick, CEO of Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

    “In an environment where many rural hospitals are struggling to stay afloat, our board of directors has laid an incredibly strong foundation and placed us in a position that has allowed us to be looking ahead to the future of healthcare in our community, and building a new hospital,” Nordwick added.

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital supports rural citizens through a full realm of healthcare services from imaging and laboratory, to inpatient and women’s and newborns’ care, to surgery and wound care, and much more in between.

    Additional support through ancillary programs such as community health workers, financial counselors, and educational courses, also allow the hospital to better serve the region.

    The hospital also hosts health-centered events throughout the year to promote health and wellness within the community. The annual Women’s Health Expo attracts over 600 women from around the region, a bi-monthly Walk With a Doc unites community members through light fitness, and celebrations like National Heart Health Awareness month in February provide basic wellness checks and resources.

    Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at PowerofRural.org. To learn more about NOSORH, visit www.nosorh.org. To learn more about Uvalde Memorial Hospital visit www.umhtx.org.

    Nov 14, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Much information is circulating regarding Texas Oncology and their recent decision to cease their services in Uvalde. UMH has had a long standing relationship with Texas Oncology providing chemotherapy services that has served both parties and the community very well. Upon recent renewal negotiations, mutually agreeable terms on the space occupied by Texas Oncology were not met. I want to provide some brief details on events leading up to Texas Oncology’s decision not to renew their lease with Uvalde Memorial Hospital, at Kate Marmion Regional Medical Center:

    • AOR of Texas Management, LLC (Texas Oncology) has leased space from UMH since October 1, 2011. Their lease was renewed on November 1, 2014 for five years, through October 31, 2019.
    • Federal Law requires hospitals, including UMH, to obtain and maintain Fair Market Value (FMV) for all leased space to healthcare providers. The existing lease agreement with Texas Oncology and UMH outlined the terms of the requirement for a FMV assessment. Through legal counsel, UMH engaged a firm to conduct this analysis in preparation for lease renewal.
    • In the new proposed five year agreement, to be effective November 1, 2019 :
      • UMH shared results of the FMV assessment, which Texas Oncology disputed. UMH offered that

        Texas Oncology could provide their own FMV analysis for consideration; Texas Oncology did and

        UMH accepted it.

      • UMH asked for Texas Oncology’s continued commitment to providing care 5 days per week, and

        Texas Oncology declined.

      • UMH offered to remove the 5 days per week requirement and instead implement a year-to-year lease,

        and requested Texas Oncology provide data to show they were meeting the needs of our service area;

        Texas Oncology declined.

      • UMH received notice of non-renewal from Texas Oncology on October 29, 2019.
      • Out of respect for the relationship between Texas Oncology and their physicians, employees, and

        patients, UMH did not issue public notice immediately upon non-renewal.

        Since receiving notice from Texas Oncology of non-renewal, UMH has initiated discussions with representatives of University Health System and Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care to explore opportunities and potential partnerships to offer chemotherapy services in Uvalde. UMH also immediately began recruitment efforts for a qualified oncologist candidate. UMH is committed to providing oncology services to our community at Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center and we will find the right fit to ensure we can fulfill our mission, “To Promote The Healing Of Those We Serve By Providing Compassionate High-Quality Health Care.”

        Respectfully,

        Thomas J. Nordwick, Chief Executive Officer

    Nov 3, 2019 /

    Topic:

    As a community we will honor your loved one's memory by personalizing a luminary and enjoying music, readings and refreshments together. 

    This service is free and open to the public. 

    Oct 18, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) recently welcomed veterinarian Dr. Jaime Sage and fellow Dr. Laura Chadwick from Sage Veterinary Imaging in Georgetown, Texas, to tour the hospital’s imaging department.

    Dr. Sage is board certified in veterinary radiology and visited UMH to view the imaging department’s digital broadband magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system: the Ingenia 3.0T from Philips Healthcare. The hospital’s MRI machine was installed in late 2015 and available to patients in January 2016. The machine is designed to quickly perform high-quality MRI scans with a high level of patient comfort. Dr. Sage is currently looking to acquire her own MRI for her veterinary practice.

    UMH was one of the first facilities in Texas to acquire the revolutionary Ingenia 3.0T machine in 2016 and is still one of a limited number of locations to have the latest model used in a general population practice. The machine was the first MRI on the market with the ability to transfer information to the viewer digitally.

    The machine incorporates a number of breakthrough technologies designed to deliver exceptional image clarity. It quickly provides radiologists and physicians with precise, detailed MR images needed to help confidently diagnose many different anatomical and structural problems in the body.

    Dr. Sage performs a large number of neuro images at her practice, and was keen to learn more about UMH’s system and the image quality.

    Oct 9, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) Women’s Imaging Center will be hosting a community wide open house on Tuesday, October 15th to continue celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month. The public is invited to tour the facility and see the new Genius™ 3D Mammography™ machine from 4:00- 6:00pm.

    We will have staff guided tours of our Women’s Imaging Center, refreshments and a raffle. Guests will be entered to win a gift certificate for an annual mammogram.

    Genius™3DMammography™ exams are clinically provento significantlyincreasethedetectionofbreastcancers,and also decreasingthenumberofwomenaskedtoreturnforadditionaltesting.

    The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam is revolutionizing how breast cancer is detected by providing a better option for women of all breast densities compared to 2D alone.Researchers have found that:

  • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam finds 20-65% more invasive breast cancers compared to 2D alone, an average increase of 41%.
  • Only the Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam is FDA approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone.
  • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D alone.
  • Uvalde Memorial Hospital is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering the Genius exam, UMH provides a more accurate tool for breast cancer screening. UMH is thrilled to bring this state-of-the-art equipment to our service region.

    If you would like to schedule a Genius 3D Mammography™ exam, or have questions about the open house, please contact our women’s imaging department at (830) 278-6251 extension 1517. 

    Oct 3, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce it has been ranked as No. 24 among healthcare providers by Modern Healthcare’s 2019 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. The original list of winners was released in May 2019 and named the top 100 facilities, but facilities had to wait to see where their ranking fell within the top 100 until a few months later.

    Official rankings within the list were announced at the 2019 Best Places to Work Awards Dinner on Thursday, September 26, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel where Uvalde Memorial Hospital was honored. Charla Garcia, Human Resources Officer, and Gabriela Anfinsen, executive assistant.

    “I could not be more proud of our team. Every single employee at UMH has truly committed to providing excellent patient care every day and they are so deserving of this award and ranking. This is a direct reflection of their hard work,” stated hospital CEO Tom Nordwick.

    Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

    “With record unemployment levels, organizations face stiff competition to attract and retain top talent. The providers and companies making this year’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare list understand the importance of creating an environment where employees can not only excel in their own development but contribute to the mission of improving care delivery,” said Aurora Aguilar, editor of Modern Healthcare.

    “UMH has been measuring employee engagement with other renowned healthcare agencies, like Press Ganey, for over 10 years and we’ve always ranked in the top percentile; but this survey is an opportunity to see how we rank amongst a different peer group to ensure we truly are where we want to be for our employees and out patients,” Nordwick added.

    This is the second year UMH has made the list and the second year UMH has been in the top 25. The complete list of this year’s winner rankings is at www.modernhealthcare.com

    Oct 1, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Kelley Kitley, LCSW, author of an autobiography of survival, “My Self,” is set to speak at Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s Women’s Health Expo, scheduled Tuesday at the Willie De Leon Civic Center from 5-8 p.m.

    The event, geared toward women, is free to attend.

    Doors open at 5 p.m. with vendor booths open for attendees to shop a variety of goods and services, including beauty, jewelry, fashion, nutrition and healthcare services. At 6 p.m., a panel of five local healthcare experts will entertain health-related questions from the audience.

    Questions for the physician panel may be submitted through email to s.vonderschmidt@umhtx.org or by a message through the hospital’s Facebook page, found under “Uvalde Memorial Hospital.”

    Kitley will speak from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and booths will remain open for continued shopping until 8 p.m. Kitley will be available after her talk for pictures and a meet and greet with attendees on a more informal basis.

    Kelley Kitley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been inspiring her clients for the past fifteen years. She is a sought after international women’s mental health expert who has appeared in hundreds of publications, including, NBC, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Self, Shape, TODAY, and Access Live. Kitley is also a TEDx speaker.

    Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., 43.8 million, experiences mental illness in a given year, Kelley Kitley will tell you.

    "I should know, I was one of them," Kitley said.

    Through childhood trauma and growing up in a family of addiction, Kitley is somebody who experienced adversity at a young age.

    Kitley was extremely involved in social justice throughout her high school and college years. Kitley states that her own personal experiences with getting help through therapy made her want to be able to be “that person” for others.

    Kitley’s message is one of survival and focusing on the positive aspects of who we are.

    “My message will not only be about how to become the best version of yourself, but you will walk away with hands-on, tangible tools to evaluate, own, and build on your own story,” Kelley stated.

    Kitley is a mother, wife, and business owner. She and her husband of fifteen years have 4 children, ages 13, 11, 9 and 7.

    Kitley’s book, "MY Self,” will be available for purchase at the event.

    The annual health expo is well attended, with over 500 women in the audience every year. This is the sixth year for the hospital to host this event.

    Sep 29, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is calling all women who have an interest in health, nutrition, shopping, beauty or fitness to join them for a Women’s Health Expo on Tuesday, October 8th starting at 5 p.m.

    The event will be held at Willie De Leon Civic Center, 300 E. Main St., and will feature 40 vendors selling goods and providing information.

    Keynote speaker for the event is Kelley Kitley sponsored by First State Bank of Uvalde. Kitley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been inspiring her clients for the past fifteen years. She is a sought after international women’s mental health expert who has appeared in hundreds of publications, including, NBC, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Self, Shape, TODAY, Access Live, and as a TEDx speaker. Kitley is a devoted wife and mother, business owner and author of an Autobiography of Survival, "MY Self."

    Kitley will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. and be available for pictures following her speech.

    Prior to the keynote speaker, at 6:00 p.m., will be an expert panel of physicians from Uvalde, including Dr. Jared Reading, Dr. Sandra Boenig, Dr. Cherie Hauptmeier, Dr. Brent Rutledge, and Dr. Shawn Ragbir.

    The physicians will talk candidly about a wide variety of women’s health issues and answer questions presented by the audience. Health-related vendors such as physician’s offices will be there to take individual questions and provide additional information.

    An array of vendors will be present throughout the Expo to provide women with health and fitness information. Additional vendors will have jewelry, clothing, beauty products, and more for purchase.

    Sep 25, 2019 /

    Topic:

    In August, Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) welcomed Abi Guerra, PT, DPT to the Rehabilitation department. Guerra was born and raised in Eagle Pass.

    Guerra graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Austin in nutritional sciences in 2014. Through career exploration, Guerra found a calling towards Physical Therapy (PT), where she proceeded to obtain her Doctorate (DPT) from The University of the Incarnate Word, Physical Therapy School.

    After completion of PT school in 2017, Guerra worked for two years at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. During her career at MD Anderson, Guerra found herself taking great interest in patients with cancer undergoing extensive treatment. Her interest blossomed into taking and completing the necessary steps to obtain credentialing as a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Oncologic Physical Therapy.

    While feeling fulfilled in her career, Guerra’s close family ties to the south-west region of Texas continued to call her home, and she felt a position at UMH would be the perfect fit.

    Guerra will be developing a specialized cancer program within the rehabilitation department at Uvalde Memorial Hospital. She is currently undertaking the process by working with staff on education and training, as well as working with doctors on program development.

    “I am pursuing my passion to serve those going through the toughest period of their lives. There’s a great opportunity with the UMH rehabilitation department to provide my knowledge and experience to an underserved region, which I love,” Guerra said.

    Nation-wide, cancer rehabilitation is becoming more of an integral part of comprehensive cancer care services that support psychological and functional well-being after diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for all cancers has increased from 49% (1975-1977) to 67% (2006-2012) due to advances in cancer diagnosis and treatments, physical therapy included.

    Seeing a physical therapist to learn the best exercise routines for a person during their cancer treatment can help combat a number of potential side effects of cancer and its treatment: fatigue, weakness/atrophy, decreased endurance, balance deficits, falls, difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs), etc.

    For more information on the hospital’s new, specialized cancer program within the rehabilitation department, please contact the department at (830)- 278- 6251 extension 1621.

    Sep 18, 2019 /

    Topic: Health & Wellness

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

    • HEB PHARMACY  201 E. Main St, Uvalde, Texas  (830) 278-2581
    • WALGREENS PHARMACY 250 E. Main St, Uvalde, Texas  (830) 278-3915
    • WALMART PHARMACY  3100 E. Main St, Uvalde, Texas  (830) 278-6221
    • UVALDE MEDICAL AND SURGICAL ASSOCIATES 1195 Garner Field Rd Ste 500, Uvalde, Texas  (830) 278-3027
    • SABINAL HEALTH CLINIC 517 N. Center St., Sabinal, Texas  (830) 988-2582
    • COMMUNITY HEALTH DEVELOPMENT, INC.  200 Evans St, Uvalde, Texas  (830) 278-7105
    • ALSACE URGENT CARE 3040 E. Main St. #Z • Uvalde, Texas  (830) 900-7048
    • PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS Call your physician's office.
    Aug 16, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Trauma Certificate Picture 2019.jpeg

    After a 2-day survey by the Texas EMS Trauma and Acute Care Foundation (TETAF), Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) has received re-designation as a Level IV Basic Trauma Facility by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Trauma levels range from 1-4. UMH Trauma Program has improved throughout the years, and for the first time, has achieved a survey with zero deficiencies, which is a tremendous accomplishment for any trauma facility.

    “We achieved this through teamwork, hard work, and discipline. I am very proud of our team,” expresses Nelson Dungo, RN, and Trauma Coordinator.

    UMH was one of a handful of hospitals throughout the state of Texas to have accomplished the survey with zero deficiencies in 2019. This achievement is hard earned, as the requirements are meticulous to ensure that there are processes, protocols, training, and resources in place to provide high quality, evidence-based trauma care for the best possible outcomes and a method for continual process improvement.

    “Obtaining a perfect trauma survey score is an example of what can be accomplished when multiple departments in the hospital come together to make sure that our trauma patients are given the best care in a timely manner,” said Director of Nursing, Robert Garcia.

    Medical providers and nursing staff receive specialized training for the care of trauma patients. Level IV facilities stabilize and transfer major trauma that is beyond the resources available. Level 1 Trauma Centers, such as University Hospital and San Antonio Military Medical Center, are facilities we quickly transfer major trauma to through established regional processes.

    UMH is very active in South Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) participating in trauma and injury prevention committees among others, and Remote Trauma Outcomes Research Network (RemTORN). Through this platform, STRAC fosters civilian and military collaboration by designing and executing research studies relevant to trauma care in remote and austere environments, such as rural hospital systems.Specific study topics include remote damage control resuscitation, prolonged field care, en-route care, and trauma combat casualty care.

    RemTORN represents the first and potentially largest investigation into the epidemiology, potential diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions, and the resulting outcomes from the trauma patients with protracted out-of-hospital time intervals.

    UMH is one of four Level IV Trauma facilities that have contributed to research that has led to several regional improvements. For example, MedCom’s “Auto Accept Policy,” the Whole Blood Product Project, that has facilitated the ability for EMS and hospitals to stock whole blood. Also, Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) between Air and Ground EMS agencies that has helped transport critical patients out of hospitals with highly trained staff when weather does not allow for air transport.

    Emergency Department Director, Julia Rodriquez, RN MSN, and Nelson Dungo, RN, Trauma Coordinator, will be named as co-authors in a manuscript pending publishing titled “Clinical Roundtable – An initiative to improve communication processes between rural trauma referral facilities and Level One trauma centers”.

    Dungo has dedicated six years in this position. His passion for the Emergency Department and Trauma care is evident through his work and desire to improve care internally, as well as throughout the community through injury prevention. “I am very proud to work alongside a phenomenal group of individuals who share this same passion for trauma and serving our community,” says Rodriquez.

    Rodriquez, Dungo, and UMH ER staff continuously volunteer time in Uvalde and the surrounding areas to provide community education to reduce and prevent injuries.

    Heat safety is a significant concern in our area and in addition to teaching how to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the use of car temperature display shows the dangers of leaving children and pets in a hot vehicle. Other topics are water safety (river and pool), to reduce drowning; firework safety to prevent burns or other injuries; the community’s number one mechanism of injury, fall prevention; and providing basic first aid and Stop the Bleed courses for hemorrhage control. 

    Aug 12, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Babysitters Course 8.12.19.jpeg

    After completing the Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on August 12, 2019 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 10 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by UMH community health workers, Rosie Verdusco and Lydia Canales, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

    Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

    Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

    “Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Rosie Verdusco, certified course instructor.

    Participants included: (Top L-R) Kaylie Loera, Miranda Mata, Jocelyn Modgling, Allison Goggans, Emery Grigg, UMH Community Health Worker Rosie Verdusco (Bottom L-R): Mia Gaitan, Vivian Garcia, Victoria Garcia, Abbie Lopez, Faith Baker

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held November 25, 2019. There is a $35 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Aug 6, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is excited to offer Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exams, developed by Hologic, Inc., a worldwide leader in Women’s Health. Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology, Genius exams are clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, and also decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing.

    In conventional 2D Mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue may appear abnormal, leading to unnecessary callbacks. A Genius exam includes a three-dimensional method of imaging that can greatly reduce the tissue overlap effect.

    A Genius exam includes both 2D images and tomosynthesis scans. During the tomosynthesis-DIMENSIONAL portion of the exam, an X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing our radiologist, Jared Reading, M.D., to review the breast tissue one layer at a time.

    A Genius exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D breast cancer-screening exam.

    The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam is revolutionizing how breast cancer is detected by providing a better option for women of all breast densities compared to 2D alone. Researchers have found that:

    • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam finds 20-65% more invasive breast cancers compared to 2D alone, an average increase of 41%. • Only the Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam is FDA approved as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. • The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D alone.

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is committed to the fight against breast cancer. In offering the Genius exam, UMH provides a more accurate tool for breast cancer screening.

    “We are excited to have this state of the art mammography machine at Uvalde Memorial Hospital for all of our patients in Uvalde and surrounding areas,” says Ralph Gonzales, radiology director. “We are committed to providing our community with the highest quality care and most innovative imaging services.”

    The Hologic system is the first FDA-approved breast tomosynthesis system in the U.S. Hologic Genius 3D Mammography™ exams are now available in all 50 states and over 50 countries. To date, more than 8 million women have been screened with this advanced screening system.

    If you would like to schedule a Genius 3D Mammography™ exam, or have questions about this important breast health procedure, please contact our women’s imaging department at (830) 278-6251 extension 1517.

    Aug 5, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Aux Scholarship Fall 2019.jpeg

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Monday, August 5. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day: “A mistake is evidence that someone tried to do something.”

    Sherley Wentz, chairman of the scholarship committee, introduced fall scholarship recipients to the group. Gisselle Nava, Febe Perez, and Kasandra Zapata, all from Uvalde,were awarded the Auxiliary’s annual fall scholarships. All three recipients will be entering their second year in the registered nursing program at Southwest Texas Junior College. Gisselle, Febe and Kasandra all plan to work at UMH or the Sabinal Clinic, if positions are available, when they complete the RN program.

    The UMH Auxiliary has given scholarships to area students pursuing their education in the nursing field for nearly 25years. In that time, they have given more than $60,000 in scholarships for LVNs and RNs continuing their education.The Hospital Auxiliary makes the bi-annual scholarship program possible through special fundraising initiatives.

    Elia Rodriquez read the minutes from July’s meeting. Barbara Blair gave the treasurer’s report. Shirley Grigg shared the gift shop report.

    Barbara Hogan gave the membership report and shared that there are currently 44 auxilians. More volunteers are needed to cover shifts in hopes to hit their goal of having 2 auxilians at each station at all times.

    Correspondence director Ann Reagan updated the group on all notes sent throughout the month.

    The meeting concluded with hospital updates and events report from Charla Carter and Sammi Vonderschmidt.

    For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Jul 29, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Lab Staff 2019.jpeg

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s laboratory department has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®for Laboratory Services Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval®is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

    The UMH laboratory department underwent a rigorous, unannounced on-site survey in May 2019. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with laboratory standards related to several areas, including document and process control, healthcare-associated conditions, risk reduction, and staff qualifications and competency. The surveyor also conducted on-site observations and interviews.

    “We are pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” stated Cristina Evans, director of laboratory at UMH. “Our staff continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for the patients in our community.”

    “As a private accreditor, The Join Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible.” Says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend UMH laboratory for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”

    The Joint Commission has accredited hospital laboratory services since 1979 and freestanding laboratories since 1995. More than 1,500 organizations, including laboratories in hospitals, reference labs, blood transfusion and donor centers, public health laboratories, and point-of-care test sites, currently maintain Laboratory Services Accreditation from The Joint Commission, awarded for a two-year cycle.

    The Joint Commission’s laboratory standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

    Jul 29, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates (UMSA) has announced the addition of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, ElizaBeth J. Sparkman. She joined UMSA and the Sabinal Clinic on July 29th.

    Sparkman received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in August 2012 and went on to complete her Master of Science in Nursing at Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa, in May 2015. Sparkman is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner, and certified in wound care by the American Board of Wound Management.

    Sparkman comes to UMSA with 8 years of nursing experience. She moved back home to Texas to begin her career as a nurse practitioner in 2015. She has experience in family practice, internal medicine, wound care, general pediatrics, orthopedic, gastrointestinal, hospitalist and neurosurgical pediatric.

    “We are very pleased to welcome Beth to our team of top-notch providers,” Brandi Smith, Physician Practice Director, states. “We believe she is the perfect fit to help meet the growing healthcare needs in our community and surrounding areas.”

    “I enjoy working and living in small town Texas, getting to know the people in the community, seeing patients of all ages, and am looking forward to serving the Uvalde surrounding communities,” Sparkman shared.

    Beth and her husband have 8 children and 6 grandchildren. She enjoys spending time on her husband’s fishing boat, reading books, and playing with their dog, Texas. Beth also has a degree in music and loves to sing.

    “In an effort to make access to care a little more convenient, Beth will be available to see patients in both Sabinal and Uvalde locations,” Smith adds. 

    Jun 3, 2019 /

    Topic:

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Monday, June 3. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day, “watch your step, even when you’re not going anywhere.”

    Denise McWilliams, RN, UMH infection control director, attended the meeting to gather the annual Tuberculosis Screening Questionnaire from Auxiliary Members.

    Barbara Hogan read the minutes from April’s meeting and May’s luncheon. Barbara Blair gave the treasurer’s report. Shirley Grigg shared the gift shop report. Barbara Hogan reported that the Auxiliary has a total of 42 active members for the membership update. Hogan and McKinney added that they are in need of more gift shop volunteers. Sherley Wentz, chairman of the scholarship committee, discussed scholarship potential applicants. Ann Reagan shared the families and individuals that were sent correspondence cards in the past month.

    Sammi Vonderschmidt, marketing coordinator, shared public relations and events updates with the group. Vonderschmidt communicated with the members the new hospital building groundbreaking event, taking place on August 1stat 9am.

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s next meeting will be held on Monday, July 1stat 10:00am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    May 16, 2019 /

    Topic:

    2019 5K Run .jpg

    We had our 10thAnnual Wellness Run/Walk this past Tuesday, May 14th celebrating National Hospital Week. We had over 100 participants. Results are below-


    Women’s 10K:

    1st place - Laura Downing, 2nd place - Linda Charles


    Men’s 5K:

    18 and Under: 1st place - Diego Valdez, 2nd place - Wyatt Hughes, 3rd place - Dylan Foster

    19-29: 1st place - Tony Gonzales, 2nd place - Alejandro Benavidez

    30-39: 1st place - Jorge Tijerina (1st overall), 2nd place - Aldo Borrego, 3rd place - Jon Anfinsen, 4th place - Roman Partida IV

    40-49: 1st place - Ryan Teague, 2nd place - Jose Bermea, 3rd place - Ashish Punalekar, 4th place - Ceaser Morones & Renato Paz

    50-69: 1st place - Thomas Nordwick, 2nd place - Robert Torres, 3rd place - Proce Martinez

    70 and Up: 1st place - James Ortiz

    Women’s 5K:

    19-29: 1st place - Brandi Santleban, 2nd place - Shelby Bigler, 3rd place - Natalie Rangel, 4th place - Hanna Case

    30-39: 1st place - Libby Guzman, 2nd place - Lynn Dodd, 3rd place - Eliana Teague, 4th place - Katie Hughes

    40-49: 1st place - Ann Martinez, 2nd place - Delma Ayala, 3rd place - Norma Castro, 4th place - Camilla Camacho

    50 and Up: 1st place - Vicky Kraemer, 2nd place - Imelda Torres, 3rd place - Linda Galindo, 4th place - Leah Dungo 

    May 8, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Aux Officers 2019-20.jpg

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary has announced new officers for the 2019 - 2020 year. The new officers were installed at the annual Auxiliary luncheon on May 6 and will begin serving June 1, 2019. New officers are: President –Eddie McKinney; 1stVice-president–Barbara Hogan; 2ndVice-president–Graciela Ochoa; Treasurer –Barbara Blair; Secretary –Elia Bendler; Correspondence Secretary –Ann Reagan; and Parliamentarian –Sissie Parham.

    At the luncheon, members were also recognized for hours of service. The following members received pins for achieving more than 50 hours of service: Carmela Gonzales, Lynn Neely, and Connie Roberts.

    The following Auxiliary members received hour bars for meeting the respective milestones:

  • 100 hours: Elia Bendler, Elizabeth Beidiger, Carmela Gonzales, and Rosa Samora
  • 300 hours: Yolanda Flores, Wanda Keifer, Lee Lugo, Pat Magee, and Maria Vela
  • 500 hours: Barbara Blair, Graciela Ochoa, and Rod Rodriguez
  • 1,000 hours: Mamie Munoz
  • 1,500 hours: Pat Pope
  • 2,000 hours: Janet Hines
  • 2,500 hours: Julie Burris, and Eddie McKinney
  • 6,000, 6,500, and 7,000: Shirley Grigg
  • Top volunteers for the year were Shirley Grigg with 1,499 hours, Eddie McKinney with 508 hours, and Mamie Muniz with 376 hours.

    For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Apr 24, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) is hosting a Behavioral Health Symposium on May 3rd at SSGT. Willie De Leon Civic Center. Led by the UMH Crossroads program, this event is one of a kind for the region, focusing on providing professionals, in a variety of fields associated with mental health in any capacity, with the knowledge and tools to continue improving their skills.

    Mental health is a growing epidemic in the country and the State of Texas. In Texas alone, 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health concern this year, and twenty percent of children ages 9-17 have a diagnosed mental illness. With statistics like these, progress in fields related to mental health has the potential to change and save lives. This event is tailored for professionals, but also open to the public. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available for nurses, licensed social workers, licensed professional counselors and licensed counselor social workers for 6.75 hours.

    Check in and breakfast for the Symposium will begin at 8:00am., followed by a welcome and introduction given by The Honorable Camile G. DuBose. Keynotes speaker, Tara Rolstad, will begin at 8:30am. Rolstad is an advocate, author, and speaker who left a career as a nonprofit executive to help raise her nieces who lived with severe mental health illnesses. Rolstad is a dynamic speaker who gets real about mental health because she believes, “it affects everyone… with a brain.”

    Other topics discussed will be disabilities and crime as related to mental illness, by Debbie Benavides, licensed professional counselor; the dynamics of domestic violence, by Elda Garcia, with Southwest Family Life Center; pre and post prevention of suicide, by licensed professional counselor James Denning; and Texas ethics in mental health, led by Charles W. Downing, JD.

    Following focus topics will be a speaker question and answer panel. Closing remarks and CEU certificates will be given at the end of the event at 4:30pm.

    There is a $50 event registration fee, as required by CEU regulations, and breakfast and lunch will be provided for participants. Interested individuals can register and pay online by May 2nd at www.umhtx.org/events/BHS. Registration and payment by check is also accepted.

    Event partners for the Behavioral Health Symposium include premier sponsors Community Health Development Inc. and H.E. Butt Foundation; platinum sponsor University Health System; gold sponsor Uvalde Memorial Hospital Medical Staff; silver sponsor Uvalde CISD; and bronze sponsors, UMH Chief Financial Officer’s Group, Southwest Border AHEC, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Workspace Solutions, and Victoria Emergency Associates. 

    Apr 18, 2019 /

    Topic:

    Volunteer Banquet 2019.JPG

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on April 11 at Uvalde Country Club. Over 80 volunteers from Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary, Uvalde Hospice, and Friends of Uvalde Hospice Thrift Store attended to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments.

    UMH auxiliary volunteer Shirley Grigg opened the program with a prayer and hospital human resource officer, Charla Carter, welcomed and thanked all in attendance.

    Sherry Martinez, volunteer coordinator, also welcomed everyone and thanked them for their service to the hospital and hospice programs. Martinez commended the volunteers for unselfishly giving their time and encouraged everyone in the room to continue to recruit new volunteers.

    Over the last year the hospice volunteers clocked 1,801 hours, thrift store volunteers accumulated 5,930 hours, and the hospital auxiliary totaled 7,950 hours. The cumulative total for the three groups was 15,681 hours, and Carter pointed out those hours are equivalent to 8 full time employees and a $387,000 savings in salaries for UMH.

    One member from each group shared their testimony with the crowd. Eddie McKinney, auxiliary president, Wanda Jacobs, Friends of Hospice Thrift Store, and Brittany Batot, hospice volunteer all shared their experiences. Batot shared her moving story of volunteering with her first hospice patient and stated, through tears, even after her patient’s passing she remains close to the family. Batot brought the patient’s daughter as her guest to the banquet.

    Carter recognized Shirley Grigg, Glenda Snow, and Linda Hubbard for being the top volunteer for their respective organizations. Grigg had 1,499 hours with the hospital auxiliary; Snow dedicated 1,075 hours to the hospice program, and Linda Hubbard committed 509.5 hours to the thrift store. The individuals were presented with gifts as a thank you for their service.

    Venesa Davila, thrift store manager, also thanked all of the volunteers for their commitment. She applauded them for their willingness to provide service without expectation of recognition. Davila recognized top volunteers for the Hospice Thrift Store as: Linda Hubbard with 509.5 hours, Ana Rocha with 501 hours, and Maricela Hernandez with 411.25 hours. Each recipient was presented with a certificate and a bouquet of roses.

    To conclude the luncheon, Davila and thrift store board president Tony Grueben presented a check for $20,000 to Uvalde Hospice Foundation. Hospice director, Heidi Mathewson, hospice medical director, Sameta Sosa, M.D., and Joe Navarro, hospice social worker, received the check on behalf of the foundation.

    The Uvalde Hospice Foundation was established seven years ago and uses funds donated through memorials, raised at the Friends of Hospice Thrift Store, and given by people in the community, to cover the costs of miscellaneous items needed by patients under hospice care. The foundation helps to pay for things such as utility bills, clothing, household items, and any other expense that would help make the patient more comfortable and give them peace of mind during their illness.

    Apr 17, 2019 /

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    May is national Mental Health Awareness month. A topic that often carries a heavy stigma, mental health is not a character flaw, nor a weakness. Mental illness does not discriminate by age, race, religion, or socio-economic status. It impacts a large number of people in communities across the globe and it is important that a community work together to overcome the stigma and educate people regarding mental illness. An educated community is a healthy community.

    Merriam-Webster defines stigma as a mark of shame or disgrace regarding a person’s circumstance. Often times stigma exist as a result of lack of understanding or misconceptions. When a person suffers from a mental illness the impact of stigma can have lasting, harmful effects. Some people may be reluctant to seek and accept help for fear others will discriminate against them because of their mental illness. As a result the illness goes untreated and the symptoms become progressively harder to manage. Just like any other physical illness, when left untreated, mental illness can have a significant impact on the individual, family members, and the community. With the proper treatment people with mental illness can live successful, productive lives.

    In an effort to overcome the stigma of mental health issues, Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s Crossroads Behavioral Health program is hosting a Healthy Minds Matter Conference on Thursday, May 9 from 5pm-7pm at Ssgt. Willie De Leon Civic Center. The event will bring together professionals, caregivers, parents, friends and community members who are affected by mental or behavioral health. This is an opportunity to explore the truth, discuss the reality, and move towards a healthier future as a community. Working together, the community can overcome mental health’s negative stigma.

    The event will feature keynote speaker Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the gunman responsible for the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. In the aftermath of the worst high school shooting in history, at the time, Sue struggled with grief and humiliation. Her search for understanding spanned over 15 years and she has emerged a passionate advocate, dedicated to the advancement of mental health awareness and intervention. Sue is a New York Times bestselling author, has appeared on numerous national media outlets, and presents at conferences across the nation.

    The event will also feature breakout sessions on adolescent and teen mental health, addiction and opioid use, stress and coping skills and Alzheimer’s/ dementia for caregivers. Professionals in each field will present on the topics and allow additional time for questions and answers in each session.

    For more information on Healthy Minds Matter, contact Karla Radicke at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1037. 

    Mar 19, 2019 /

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    After completing the Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on March 11, 2019 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 8 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by Rosie Verdusco, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

    Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

    Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

    “Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Rosie Verdusco, certified course instructor.

    Participants included (pictured, L-R) UMH Community Health Worker Rosie Verdusco, Delaney Gonzalez, Mireya Mariscal, Hiler Haby, Dusty Charlton, Olivia Zavala, and Adriana Marquez.

    Not pictured is Jeremiah Chapa.

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held June 3, 2019. There is a $35 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Feb 12, 2019 /

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    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Monday, February 4. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day.

    Guest speaker for the meeting was Detective Michael Wally with the Uvalde Police Department. Detective Wally previously spoke to the group in December and was invited back to continue his presentation and discussion on frequently used scams. Detective Wally covered information groups or individuals who falsely pose hostage situations, charity cases, phishing emails, and forms of solicitation.

    Barbara Hogan read the minutes from January’s meeting and Barbara Blair gave the treasurer’s report. Shirley Grigg shared the gift shop report and noted a discrepancy from last meetings report to be corrected. Maria Lugo reported that the Auxiliary has a total of 44 active members for the membership update. Sherley Wentz, chairman of the scholarship committee, discussed proposed changes to the scholarship application process. The group tabled the item for further review and discussion before it will be voted on at the March meeting. Wentz also shared the beautification report.

    Charla Carter gave the group more information about the scholarship committees proposed changes and answered questions.

    Tom Nordwick, CEO, shared updates on the hospital’s building project. Nordwick said Perkins+Will, the architectural firm for the project, will be on site the week of February 11 for the final design development phase of the project. Following those meetings, the architectural firm will work behind the scenes with Hoar Construction to finalize details and release a guaranteed maximum price in, or before, May. Preliminary land clearing could begin as early as March but a ground breaking for the project will take place in the fall of 2019.

    Karla Radicke shared public relations and events updates with the group. Radicke said that UMH is celebrating American Heart Month with a full slate of events scheduled. Screenings for blood pressure will be offered, off-site, at Herby Ham Activity Center on February 21 and Uvalde County Nutrition Center on February 28, each from 9-11am. UMH will host two Stop The Bleed courses on Monday, February 18; one from 9:00-11:00am and another from 5:30-7:30pm. Both are open to the public and free of charge, but RSVP is required by calling 830-278-6251, extension 1038. Radicke also shared that Walk With A Doc for American Heart Month will be on Saturday, February 23 at 9am at Uvalde Memorial Park. It is a safe, fun walk open to the public and free of charge. This month Shotgun Crossfit, Big Oak Crossfit, Pure Fitness, and Snap Fitness will also be on hand to join the walkers in a warm up, basic exercises, and a cool down. Radicke reminded the group to check the hospital’s Facebook page or website for details on any of the upcoming events.

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s next meeting will be held on Monday, March 4 at 10:00am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Feb 7, 2019 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is celebrating American Heart Month throughout February. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases accounts for about 1 out of every 3 deaths in the U.S., and heart disease, specifically, is the number one cause of death in the U.S. About 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. AHA recognizes “Life’s Simple 7” as seven key health factors and behaviors that increase risks for heart disease and stroke: smoking, physical inactivity, nutrition, overweight/obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. But, do not let the daunting statistics overwhelm you. 

    “There are many things individuals can do on a daily basis to better their heart health, many of which take very little effort,” states Dr. Shawn Ragbir, local cardiologist. 

    Locally, cardiology services are offered through the Cardiology Clinic of San Antonio at their office located in the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center on Garner Field Road. At the office, board certified cardiologist Dr. Shawn Ragbir treats patients Monday- Friday and has grown to love the Uvalde and surrounding area over the last 2 years. 

    Dr. Ragbir recommends several things for increasing or maintaining heart health: 

    • Raise your good cholesterol for free – just exercise! 
    • Be cautious of chronic use of pain medications like ibuprofen, which can increase your blood pressure. 
    • Know that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women and familiarize yourself with symptoms. 
    • Lower your blood pressure with exercise. Regular exercise can decrease your blood pressure as much, or better than, some medications.

    Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. Other healthy changes an individual can make to lower the risk or manage existing conditions include: 

    • Watch your weight. • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. 
    • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure. 
    • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. 
    • Get active and eat healthy. 

    Dr. Ragbir will be talking in detail about heart disease, the risk factors, prevention and more at the hospital’s upcoming Heart to Heart, a forum on heart health. The event will take place on Tuesday, February 12 from 5:30-7:00pm at El Progreso Memorial Library. Celebrate heart health more in depth with Dr. Ragbir as he candidly covers women and cardiovascular disease, microvascular heart disease, Broken Heart Syndrome, and whether or not baby aspirin is a daily necessity.

    Dr. Andrezj Stypko will also be on hand to touch on the relation of diabetes to heart disease and the importance of wound care and regular foot exams for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Dr. Stypko is board certified in family medicine and specializes in wound care and diabetic care.

    In addition, Dr. Gregory Baber will also be present and will share the strong relation of oral health to cardiac health.

    Join the physicians for an open, understandable discussion and short question and answer session. The evening will be free of charge, open to the public, and include free blood pressure checks, free A1C testing if desired, light refreshments, and giveaways.

    Feb 4, 2019 /

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    Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Uvalde Memorial Hospital is proudly participating in American Heart Month. In Texas, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported over 45,000 deaths in 2017 from heart disease. In addition to being the state’s leading cause of death, Texas ranked 18th nationally for heart disease deaths.

    UMH will be spreading awareness throughout the month kicking off with offering blood pressure checks around the community each Thursday. On February 14, start your Valentine’s Day with a free blood pressure check in the hospital’s registration lobby from 9:00-11:00am. On this date free A1Cs will also be administered to individuals who wish to participate. This simple blood test measures average blood glucose levels for the past 3 months and is used to diagnose diabetes, which tends to lead to heart disease. The following Thursday, February 21, find UMH staff at the Herby Ham Adult Activity Center and then at the Uvalde County Nutrition Center on Thursday, February 28. Free blood pressure checks and heart health tips will be offered at each location from 9:00-11:00am.

    Celebrate heart health more in depth with board certified cardiologist Dr. Shawn Ragbir at UMH’s Heart to Heart forum on Tuesday, February 12 from 5:30-7:00pm at El Progreso Memorial Library. Dr. Ragbir will candidly cover women and cardiovascular disease, microvascular heart disease, Broken Heart Syndrome, and whether or not baby aspirin is a daily necessity. Dr. Andrezj Stypko will also be on hand to touch on the relation of diabetes to heart disease and the importance of wound care and regular foot exams for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Join the physicians for an open, understandable discussion and short question and answer session. The evening will be free of charge, open to the public, and include free blood pressure checks, free A1C testing, light refreshments, and giveaways.

    The following week, join UMH trauma coordinator Nelson Dungo for a Stop The Bleed course. This class is designed to teach bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency until professional help can arrive. It is great for any community member who wishes to be prepared in the case of emergency including car accidents, shootings, or similar scenarios in which extensive blood loss could occur. Excessive blood loss can lead to death within five minutes so this course could truly save someone with life threatening injuries. The course will be offered twice on Monday, February 18 from 9:00-11:00am and again from 5:30-7:30pm at the hospital in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. Both courses will be open to the public and offered free of charge, but a reservation is necessary so call 830-278-6251 extension 1038 to save your seat.

    The last week of the month, UMH will be celebrating again with Dr. Shawn Ragbir as he hosts Walk With A Doc at Uvalde Memorial Park on Saturday, February 23 from 9:00-10:00am. This is an opportunity for a fun, safe walk where you can learn about health and meet new friends. Big Oak Crossfit, Pure Fitness, Shotgun Crossfit, and Snap Fitness will all be on hand also to celebrate American Heart Month and teach basic exercises. Meet under the park pavilion. “We’re excited to have a full slate of events to celebrate American Heart Month with our community,” stated Tom Nordwick, UMH chief executive officer. “Each event that we are hosting is open to the public and free of charge, and with heart disease as the leading cause of death in Texas, and across the nation, we hope that our community members will join us throughout this month to learn more and take a proactive approach to their heart health,” Nordwick added. Visit Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s website at www.umhtx.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uvaldememorial for additional details on each event.

    Feb 4, 2019 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s (UMH) rehabilitation department and cardiopulmonary department have teamed up to bring the community Cardiac Rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) services.The initiation of a cardiac rehab program is something the community will benefit from in multiple ways, providing future and health and wellness for patients who previously would have had to travel to San Antonio or further for care.

    “When we stop to consider that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, it’s easy to realize why cardiac rehab is an important service to offer this community,” said Felisha Tinker, UMH cardiopulmonary manager.

    The new program is under the medical direction of Dr. Shawn Ragbir, board certified in internal medicine with a specialty in cardiology, and Dr. Andrzej Stypko, board certified in family medicine with a specialty in wound care, including diabetic care.

    Cardiac rehab is a program that uses exercises provided by the rehab department with a specific focus on the heart. The exercises are completed with a physical therapist all while having the heart monitored on a telemetry unit that transmits the patient’s heart rate and rhythm to a computer that is being watched by a certified respiratory technician skilled in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). 

    • -Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)
    • -Exercise induced stable chest pain
    • -Angioplasty with cardiac Stent Placement
    • -Angioplasty without stent placement
    • -Cardiac Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)
    • -Cardiac valve disease
    • -Heart failure

    If a patient qualifies with one of the above diagnoses, their physician completes a referral to start the program. Medical directors, Dr. Ragbir and Dr. Stypko, will then review and sign off on the cardiac plan of care. The initial visit for a cardiac rehab patient includes an assessment on diet, previous activity level, lifestyle, and potential psychological issues that might prevent future success.

    “One of the goals of cardiac rehab is to take a holistic approach to the patient, and address any potential needs that might interfere with long term success. It does the patient no good if they have a bypass surgery and then go back to their previous habits; it just puts them back at square one,” Tinker stated.

    Each session is designed specifically for the individual patient and their plan of care takes into consideration their age, current diagnosis, activity level, and more. Generally, new patient intakes are done on Thursday and regular sessions are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. An appointment is 30-60 minutes long and patients are seen 36 times over a 3-month period.

    During each appointment the patient’s blood pressure, oxygenation, and heart rate are monitored continuously. The respiratory technician watches to ensure the heart rates remain at 50-75% of the patient’s max capacity throughout the session and can identify any irregular heart rhythms should they occur.

    “The only way to truly get better is to be compliant with the treatments. By having a local option we hope that it will encourage that compliance and foster commitment for those patients who would otherwise have to travel into San Antonio. The travel can be a real hardship, and difficult to keep up with, and the reality is, due to having to travel, community members may not have remained faithful to the exercise regimen in the past. We want to change that with offering those services needed here in their hometown,” stated Matthew Hughes, UMH director of rehabilitation.

    Patients that stay faithful to a cardiac rehab program show reduced risk for reoccurrence and reduced mortality rates.

    “We are a small, rural community, but fortunate to have a regional hospital that provides services not only to our Uvalde family, but also beyond a 100-mile radius to the five other counties we serve. A specialized service like cardiac rehab previously required an individual to trek to San Antonio and this is the perfect example of a specialized service with local convenience,” added Hughes.

    The team began seeing patients in mid-January and is working towards a full patient load in February, just in time to celebrate American Heart Month.

    Jan 4, 2019 /

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    During the 64th Annual Texas Vital Statistics Conference, held December 10-12 in Austin, TX, Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 2 prestigious state awards. Norma Castro, birth registrar, and Grace Gonzales, clerk, of Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s health information management (HIM) department, accepted the Five Star Service Award from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ vital statistics unit and the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity.

    The Five Star Service award is given to only those hospitals in the state that have met a list of criteria for qualification set by the vital statistics unit.

    Uvalde Memorial was placed in the Exemplary Winners category meeting 100% of criterion. Only 13 other hospitals in the state fell into the exemplary category and an additional 53 were recognized for meeting 97% of criterion.

    This year’s honors marked the 17thconsecutive year the hospital has received the award.

    Qualifications include legal and statistical measurements on all birth registrations completed, timeliness of birth registrations of babies born at the hospital, and training standards of birth registrars at the facility. Hospitals must also have been recipients of the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity and Department of State Health Services ImmTrac Award for Excellence in 2018 to qualify.

    The Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity was also received at the convention. To achieve the paternity acknowledgement criteria, birth registrars must complete the 71% state average or higher of potential Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.

    Dec 27, 2018 /

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    It may surprise many people to learn that 25 percent of those who die every year in the U.S. are Veterans. To help provide care and support that reflect the important contributions made by these men and women, Uvalde Memorial Hospital Hospice (UMH Hospice) has become a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    As a We Honor Veterans partner, UMH Hospice will implement ongoing Veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the Veterans they proudly serve. The nation is seeing many of the Veterans who served in World War II and Korean pass away—and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise.

    The We Honor Veteranscampaign provides tiered recognition to organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for Veterans. “Partners” can assess their ability to serve Veterans and, using resources provided as part of the campaign, integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to Veterans into their organization. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, UMH Hospice is better able to accompany and guide Veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending. And in cases where there might be some specific needs related to the Veteran’s military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, UMH Hospice will find tools to help support those they are caring for.

    “We thank UMH Hospice for partnering in the We Honor Veterans program,” says NHPCO President & CEO Edo Banach. “We Honor Veterans partners are committed to providing quality Veteran-centric care to the Veteran patients they serve. They understand how a Veteran’s military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, could impact their end-of-life experience.”

    The resources of We Honor Veteransfocus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with Veteran-centric education of health care staff caring for Veterans. To learn more about We Honor Veteransor to support this important work via a secure, online donation, please visit www.wehonorveterans.org.

    “VA shares a common goal with our nation’s hospices, and that is to provide the best possible care specifically tailored for Veterans, meeting their goals of care in their preferred setting. As we focus on working together and unite our services and skills, We Honor Veteranswill channel our combined strengths directly to Veterans - wherever they are receiving care,” added Banach.

    Nov 13, 2018 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is proud to recognize the innovation, quality of care, and dedication of health professionals and volunteers during National Rural Health Day (NRHD) 2018. National Rural Health Day falls on the third Thursday in November each year and recognizes the efforts of those serving the health needs of over 60 million people across the nation.

    The hospital kicked off the week with their second “Walk With a Doc” hosted by Dr. Shawn Ragbir at Uvalde Memorial Park last Saturday, November 10. Dr. Ragbir is a board certified cardiologist with Methodist Cardiology Clinic of San Antonio and offices full-time in Uvalde. The walk, which is hosted every other month, is open to community members and starts with a brief gathering to cover a health topic and then a 3—60 minute walk. This week guest speaker Dr. Erika Garcia spoke to the group about portion control and healthy eating.

    UMH also celebrates the dedication of rural healthcare professionals this week with emergency room nurse Scott Reavis, RN being named as an honoree for the Best 25 Nurses of South Central Texas. Recognized by the South Central Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (SCTONE) who promotes nursing excellence in clinical practice, education, research, and leadership, this competitive award is given to only a select group of nurses for excellence in the art and science of nursing. Reavis will be honored later this week at an event at the Plaza Club in San Antonio on November 17.

    NRHD also highlights the quality of care in rural facilities and UMH is proud to celebrate multiple recent achievements centered on the care provided by its staff. The hospital was named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 100 Places to Work list in May of 2018 and then recognized at the company’s annual awards banquet in September with a ranking of number 21 on the nation-wide list. In addition, just this week Press Ganey named the hospital as a 2018 Guardian of Excellence Award winner and a 2018 Pinnacle of Excellence Award winner. The hospital works with the group annually to measure employee satisfaction and this year’s awards were received for achieving the 95thpercentile or above in employee engagement and consistently high levels of excellence for the last three years in employee engagement, respectively. Press Ganey is a national company that pioneered the health care performance improvement movement more than 30 years ago and UMH is ranked among facilities of all sizes across the nation to qualify for the awards.

    “The hospital’s recent awards and the recognition of Scott from our emergency department are a true testament to the quality of care that we strive to offer our community and patients every single day,” said hospital CEO Tom Nordwick.

    As rural health care facilities across Texas struggle to keep their doors open, UMH has even more to celebrate Nordiwick says. The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) released findings that changes in healthcare are “taking damaging tolls on the ability of Texas rural populations to access health services.” Generally, the report shows, rural hospitals serve older, poorer, and sicker patients. Populations that have significantly higher uninsured rates and large numbers of individuals battling chronic conditions also make healthcare challenging in rural areas and 16 rural facilities have been forced to close their doors in the last 4 years alone.

    While UMH has undoubtedly felt the affects of each of these factors, the hospital is a standout amongst its rural hospital peers. The board of directors has been diligent financial stewards to ensure continued success in an uncertain healthcare environment and the hospital’s medical staff and leadership team have worked to make sure top of the line diagnostic technology and equipment is available throughout the facility. While other rural facilities are looking to telemedicine or conversion to a freestanding ER, UMH is in the process of a new building project.

    “National Rural Health Day is a great time for us to remember what an incredible asset it is to not only have access to healthcare in a rural setting, but to have access to top of the line care that rivals any big city facility. That’s not something many rural areas in the nation can claim anymore and we are proud to be serving this area,” Nordwick said.

    Nov 8, 2018 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital has again begun the process of completing a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The project is done every three years to complete an objective and comprehensive study of the overall health status of the hospital’s service region.

    The first part of the assessment includes an economic impact study, a detailed look at the hospital and it’s services, and reports on demographics within the hospital’s medical service region of Edwards, Kinney, Real, Uvalde and Zavala counties. All of these components combined are used to analyze the healthcare needs of residents in the area.

    A large component of the study includes community feedback and the hospital invites and encourages all residents within the five county service region to complete the CHNA survey before November 30, 2018. The survey will be a key indicator in determining the overall health status of the service area, identifying the most pressing health-related needs, and will help the committee develop recommendations based on the findings. The survey is open to the public and can be obtained by hard copy at the hospital or taken online at https://www.research.net/r/UMHCHNA2018.

    The hospital will look to survey results for assistance in prioritizing the needs they identify and will adopt an implementation strategy to meet those needs. Results from the assessment will be made available to the public and will be reported in accordance with federal requirements by the end of the calendar year.

    Under the ACA the CHNA is a requirement for not-for-profit hospitals every three years. If you are interested in completing a survey please visit www.umhtx.org, hhtps://www.research.net/r/UMHCHNA2018, or the hospital’s administration office.You may also call (830) 278-6251 extension 1038 or email k.radicke@umhtx.org to obtain a copy.

    Nov 8, 2018 /

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    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Monday, November 5. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day. The group did not have a guest speaker for the month of November but plans to hear from Denise McWilliams, the hospitals director of infection control and employee health, in December regarding vaccination availability and schedules.

    Barbara Hogan read the minutes from October’s meeting and Barbara Blair gave the treasurer’s report. Shirley Grigg shared the gift shop report and updated the group on increased sales for the month of October. Barbara Hogan reported that the Auxiliary has a total of 45 members, including 3 whom are inactive, for the membership update. Sherley Wentz had no changes from the scholarship committee but spoke to the group about ordering pansies on behalf of the beautification committee.

    The Auxiliary’s annual Christmas Tea is set for Thursday, December 6 at 9am in front of the Gift Shop. They will also host a silent auction that same day from 9am-4pm.

    Charla Carter gave the group a brief update on the status of the new hospital building project. She shared that the project is still in progress as the construction company and architects are working to finalize layout details and will come back later in the month of November to bring revisions and updated renderings to hospital leadership and staff.

    Karla Radicke shared public relations and events updates with the group. Radicke said that Medicare Forums for the public would be hosted again on November 13 and December 6, a babysitter training certification course will be held on Monday, November 19 while students are on Thanksgiving break, the hospice team is hosting an open house to celebrate National Hospice Month on November 27, and the hospital’s annual open house, including pictures with Santa, would be on Tuesday, December 4 from 4pm-7pm.

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s next meeting will be held on Monday, December 3 at 10:00am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Oct 12, 2018 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce it has been ranked as No. 21 among healthcare providers by Modern Healthcare’s 2018 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. The original list of was released in May 2018 and named the top 100 facilities but facilities had to wait to see where their ranking fell within the top 100 until a few months later. Official rankings within the list were announced at the 2018 Best Places to Work Awards Dinner on Thursday, September 27, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel where Uvalde Memorial Hospital was honored.

    “I could not be more proud of our team. Every single employee at UMH has truly committed to providing excellent patient care every day and they are so deserving of this award and ranking. This is a direct reflection of their hard work,” stated hospital CEO Tom Nordwick.

    Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

    “Our award winners can be proud of the role the play in elevating the standard for workplace excellence. They have the judgment, drive and resilience to solve healthcare’s most significant challenges through our most important resource: people. They are pushing the envelope and creating a more engaged and productive workforce, all while tackling the ever-present challenges of cost, safety, quality and access,” said Aurora Aguilar, editor of Modern Healthcare.

    “This was our first year to measure employee satisfaction with Modern Healthcare, ” Nordwick stated.

    “UMH has been measuring employee engagement with other renowned healthcare agencies, like Press Ganey, for over 10 years and we’ve always ranked in the top percentile but we saw this survey as an opportunity to see how we rank amongst a different peer group to ensure we truly are where we want to be for our employees and out patients,” Nordwick added.

    The complete list of this year’s winner rankings is at www.modernhealthcare.com

    Oct 11, 2018 /

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    Pictured: L-R: Tom Nordwick, hospital CEO; Monica Gonzales, CHDI board president; Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, CHDI CEO; Dr. Monica Gutierrez, UCHA board president.

    Be it resolved, that on this 28th day of August 2018

    The Board of Trustees of Uvalde County Hospital Authority,

    acting on behalf of the residents of Uvalde County andon behalf of the Uvalde County Commissioners,does hereby through this resolution extend to

    Community Health Development, Inc.a most sincere and hearty appreciation for 35 years of dedicated service to our community from 1983 through 2018

    Through this resolution the hospital’s board, physicians, administration, and staff recognize your leadership in providing excellent healthcare for the community. Your services help ensure residents have access to great care that is needed and deserved. We sincerely thank you for the outstanding dedication you have unselfishly given, throughout the years, to those you serve each day.

    With Sincere Appreciation,

    The Board of Trustees

    __________________________

    Monica Gutierrez, PhD, President

    William A. Kessler, Jr., Vice-President

    Benjamin Elliott, Secretary/Treasurer

    Kelly Faglie, Trustee

    Hector Gonzales, PhD, CPA, Trustee

    G.V. Gaitonde, M.D., Trustee

    Raul Zamora, Trustee

    Sandra Boenig, D.O., Chief of Staff

    Thomas Nordwick, CEO

    Sep 4, 2018 /

    Topic:

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 4. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day.

    Maria Vela introduced the group’s guest speaker, Mendell Morgan, for the meeting. Mr. Morgan is the director of El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde. Morgan comes to Uvalde from San Antonio where he retired as the Dean of Library Services for the University of Incarnate Word after 33 years of service. He holds a masters degree in American Library Studies.

    Morgan shared with the group all of the assets the library has to offer our area. The 36,000 square foot building houses traditional library services but also offers business services like copying, laminating, and faxing, and a meeting room available for community use. In addition, a 3D printer can be used for making posters and blue prints, among other things. An 11 county regional archives run by archivist Virgina Davis is also housed at the library. An extension of the library, “The Oak Street Press”is an online bookstore that Mendell runs for the library. Online sales total 10,000-12,000 books each year and serve as an additional revenue source for the library.

    Morgan spoke to library’s history, which began in 1903 from the efforts of a group of women who advocated for library services and came to be known as the El Progreso Club. The Club still exists today and meets the second Thursday of each month at 4:00pm. Today, the library is located at 301 West Main Street in Uvalde in a custom building completed in 2004 with a $5.7 million campaign.

    Morgan concluded by sharing a long list of events taking place at the library within the next month. Activities included ‘Opera Chats’which will be held the first Saturday of each month at 11am, a special display of books related to the events of 9/11, and an author book signing on Wednesday, September 12 from 2-6pm for Katharine Hamilton, Micheal Earney, Marina Garcia, Peg Sundburg, and Monica Dellar. The library also hosts free legal clinics from noon until 3pm on the first Thursday of each month. The service allows qualified individuals to be connected with lawyers about civil matters in a private setting. Many more events are available and details can be found on the library’s Facebook page or website at www.elprogreso.org.

    Following the presentation, secretary Barbara Hogan read August meeting minutes and treasurer Barbara Blair shared the previous month’s financials. Shirley Grigg gave the gift shop report. Barbara Hogan also gave the membership report and shared that they will be working to update the list of member’s addresses and phone numbers. Members should report any changes to Sherry Martinez at (830)-278-6251 extension 1486. Correspondence director Ann Reagan updated the group on all notes sent throughout the month.

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s next meeting will be held on Monday, October 1 at 10:00am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Aug 13, 2018 /

    Topic:

    After completing Safesitter Babysitter Training Program on august 8, 2018 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 4 area youth ages sixth through eighth grade are newly certified for babysitting. Taught by Amy Martinez, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify adolescents nationwide each year and teaches youth safety childcare, and first aid and rescue skills. Students learn how to prevent unsafe situations and what to do when faced with dangers such as power failures or weather emergencies. Childcare skills like tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care are also discussed. Students learn the ages and stages of child developments, as well as practice diapering.

    Additionally, students learn skills such as choking rescue and CPR. A system to help the youth assess and respond to injuries and illnesses is also taught.

    Finally, the instructor reviews how to screen for babysitting jobs, discuss fees, and greet employers to help set the students up for success. These skills are even practiced through various role-plays during the course.

    “Safesitter uses hands-on activities and role-plays to help the students learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Amy Martinez, certified course instructor.

    Participants included (pictured, L-R) Whitney Whipkey, Gabriela Victorino, Sophia Valerio, and Jessican McLerran.

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held in the fall. There is a $50 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Aug 6, 2018 /

    Topic:

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary met for their monthly meeting on Monday, August 6. President Eddie McKinney called the meeting to order and Shirley Grigg led the group in prayer. Janet Hynes then shared the thought for the day: “A mistake is evidence that someone tried to do something.”

    Maria Vela introduced the group’s guest speaker for the meeting. Elsa and Claudio Valenzuela from New Beginnings, an adult day care center, shared information with the group on their center’s services. The facility offers daytime care from 6:00am –4:00pm and has a maximum capacity of 56 clients. Their current census is 41.

    New Beginningsis funded by Medicaid but clients can also have private insurance, veteran’s assistance, private pay, or other options. Transportation is available. Their services include meals, snacks, crafts, exercise, and entertainment. The staff also accompanies clients to weekly chores in town such as visits to the doctor’s office or hospital, grocery shopping at HEB or Walmart, or to the bank.

    New Beginnings also has a full time dietician and licensed vocational nurse on staff. The dietician plans and prepares all meals and snacks to ensure they are nutritious, and the nurse helps with medical concerns and dispersion of medication for the clients.

    The office is located at 1007 North Getty Street and the Valenzuela’s invited interested individuals or family members to come by anytime for more information or a tour. They can also be reached by phone at 830-591-9351.

    Following the presentation, Charla Carter, Human Resources Officer and Director of Volunteer Services, introduced fall scholarship recipients to the group. Lyndon Benedict Dyngzon, Priscella Dean, and Marisa Flores were awarded the Auxiliary’s annual fall scholarships. The first two recipients will be entering the second year in the registered nursing program at Southwest Texas Junior College and Flores will be entering her first year in the licensed vocational nursing program.

    Secretary Barbara Hogan read July meeting minutes and treasurer Barbara Blair shared the previous month’s financials. Blair also shared an invitation from Peterson Health Auxiliary in Kerrville who is hosting the District 8 meeting on September 17. Interested members should contact Charla Carter to register.

    Sherley Wentz reiterated information on the scholarship recipients and shared the group’s beautification report.

    Shirley Grigg shared the gift shop report and noted that the gift shop’s bankbook and deposits were stolen from her residence at the end of July. Grigg did a bake sale to raise money to replace what was lost.

    Barbara Hogan gave the membership report and shared that there are currently 44 auxilians. More volunteers are needed to cover shifts at the information desk on Friday afternoons and various days and times in the social services area.

    Correspondence director Ann Reagan updated the group on all notes sent throughout the month.

    Lastly, the group heard from hospital chief executive officer Tom Nordwick. Nordwick gave a report on the current status of the hospital’s new building project and shared that it was behind the originally anticipated timeline by approximately 90-120 days. Following the selection of the construction manager at risk, original estimates presented to the hospital were much higher than anticipated so the team has gone back to the drawing board to eliminate unnecessary square footage and pair down costs throughout the proposed facility. He stressed that while the delay might be frustrating, the importance of being good financial stewards for future generations is a priority. He also shared that the hospital has met with state architects to clarify the necessity of new equipment and the process of moving current technology to the new facility. He anticipates cost savings through this process. The New Market Tax Credit program is also being explored which could save the hospital upwards of $3 million on the project.

    The meeting concluded with hospital updates and events report from Charla Carter and Karla Radicke.

    For more information on becoming a member of the Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, volunteer services director, at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1435.

    Aug 1, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care, located at 1195 Garner Field Road Suite 100, made a donation of nearly $600 in school supplies to UCISD’s Stuff the Bus campaign. The office was not a drop off site but Dr. Charles Brooks, radiation oncologist, and his staff heard about the project and personally donated supplies to the district. Their donation outweighed (literally and figuratively!) that of any of the designated collection sites so the district made a special stop to pick it all up yesterday.

    Pictured (L-R) are CSCCC staff Alicia Swimley, Danielle Ardolino, Dr. Charles Brooks, John Lara, and Chelsea Lopez and UCISD representative Teresa Hillyear. 

    Aug 1, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital ended a ten month struggle with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBS) at the end of June, signing a contract with the insurance provider.

    The issue began last September when the Employee Retirement System (ERS) of Texas awarded a six-year contract to BCBS impacting healthcare providers and State of Texas employees across the state. ERS manages health insurance plans for state employees, retirees, and their dependents. Effective September 1, 2017, coverage changed for ERS participants, previously covered under HealthSelect of Texas administered by United Healthcare, to BCBS’s Blue Essentials network. Locally, this change affected nearly 1,200 individuals.

    Following the contract deal with ERS, BCBS responded by approaching healthcare providers throughout the state with contract changes. Last October BCBS proposed a contract decreasing the hospital’s reimbursement by 13% from the previous contracted rate, a rate that already fell substantially below the Medicare rate.

    “To accept a commercial insurance rate below the Medicare fee schedule would not lead to a sustainable business model,” hospital chief financial officer Valerie Lopez stated upon receipt of the proposal.

    The hospital board of directors and leadership continued to work diligently each month to review BCBS proposals and come to fair terms. In the mean time, services were still rendered to individuals covered by the BCBS Blue Essentials plan but those patients incurred out-of-network rates translating to higher deductibles and out-of-pocket fees.

    “We are working diligently to reach an agreement that allows state employees to receive healthcare locally. We are not pleased that these members of our community have to pay increased amounts or travel outside of their hometown to receive in-network care,” hospital chief executive officer Tom Nordwick stated last December.

    The effort to come to fair contract negotiations with BCBS has not only been felt locally. Multiple reports show healthcare facilities across the nation have struggled to reach fair terms with BCBS over the last 18 months. At a healthcare conference in March, a representative from Christus Santa Rosa Health System described BCBS as “non-negotiable” for large hospital systems and emphasized that the burden on rural facilities is even larger.

    With the hospital’s agreement to the contract terms in June, UMH requested immediate coverage for individuals with insurance provided through ERS. However, BCBS stated coverage would not be instated until August 1, 2018. Despite the delay, care for state employees covered under the BCBS Blue Essentials network will officially be considered in-network now, a relief to the hospital and the patients alike.

    Jul 26, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital board of trustees appointed new officers at their monthly meeting on July 24. Raul Zamora ended his term as board president and was honored at the meeting with a resolution in recognition of 38 years of dedicated service as a trustee and most recently as board president. Zamora has served on the board of directors for the hospital since December 1980 and his most recent term as president from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

    Presenting the honor to Mr. Zamora was incoming president Monica Gutierrez, PhD. Dr. Gutierrez will serve as president from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. Other new officers include William A. Kessler, Jr. as vice-president and Benjamin Elliot as secretary and treasurer. Sandra Boenig, D.O. will be serving as Chief of Staff for the hospital’s active medical staff. Dr. Boenig is a board certified general surgeon with Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates. Outgoing Chief of Staff is Dr. Jared Reading.

    Also serving on the board of trustees for the hospital are Kelly Faglie, Hector Gonazales, PhD, and G.V. Gaitonde, M.D.

    A seven-member board of directors governs the Uvalde County Hospital Authority. The Uvalde County Commissioners’ Court and the Uvalde County Hospital Authority appoint trustees.

    Jul 25, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital will be celebrating the continued success of the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center (KMRCMC) on Tuesday, August 7 with a community wide Open House. The public is invited to tour the facility and medical offices, and meet the specialty providers from 4:00- 6:00pm.

    August marks the seventh anniversary of the KMRCMC opening on August 17, 2011. The building was the result of the Saving Lives Close to Homecapital campaign project that raised 5.4 million dollars to bring the first radiation oncology therapy center to South Texas and expanded specialty care to the region. The facility has a nine-county service area that includes Uvalde, Edwards, Kinney, Real, Zavala, Dimmit, Maverick, Medina, and Val Verde counties.

    The project kicked off with the late former Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe and his daughter Janey Briscoe Marmion giving the campaign’s lead gift of $1.2 million in memory of the governor’s granddaughter and Janey’s daughter, Kate. Countless other generous donors followed suit and showed their commitment and foresight to bringing expanded healthcare services to the region for generations to come.

    Today, ten different providers covering a range of seven specialties occupy the building. Each of the seven medical office suites located in the KMRCMC will be open to the public for the Open House and community members are invited to come tour the facility and meet the providers.

    Suite 100 houses Clear Springs Center for Cancer Care, the radiation oncology team led by medical director Charles A. Brooks, M.D. Dr. Brooks is new to the practice, arriving in Uvalde in May, and the practice has seen increased patient numbers since his arrival.

    Texas Oncology occupies Suite 200. The team provides hematology and medical oncology services including chemotherapy and infusion. Dr. Slavisa Gasic is the practice’s primary physician and has practiced in Uvalde since March 2016.

    Suite 300 is the largest of the facility and houses providers with Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates (UMSA). A team of three orthopedic specialists and a general surgeon fill the office space. The orthopedic team is made of Dr. Jack Conoley, Dr. Andrea Barrett, and Ryan Teague, PA. The team has over 10 years of experience in practice in Uvalde with start dates of 2010, 2015, and 2017, respectively, and over 20 years total experience in the fields of orthopedics and sports medicine. Dr. Sandra Boenig, board certified general surgeon, joins them in the space. Dr. Boenig specializes in breast surgery and has been with UMSA since 2010.

    Suite 400 of KMRCMC is occupied by Methodist Cardiology Clinic of San Antonio. Medical director Fernando Triana, M.D. has been treating patients in Uvalde since the 90s. Today, Dr. Shawn Ragbir sees patients on a full time basis in the office.

    Family and internal medicine specialists Dr. Isaac Sosa and Cheryl Rabe, FNP-C are located in suite 500 and 600. Their practice is part of Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates and together they treat patients of all ages. Dr. Sosa has more than 25 years of experience serving patients in the region.

    The final suite, 700, is South Texas Women’s Health and Medical Spa owned by Dr. James Meyer. Dr Meyer has officed in Uvalde since 2007. He specializes in women’s services including gynecology and aesthetics.

    All suites in the KMRCMC have convenient access to diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and pharmacy services through the hospital to streamline care for the physicians and improve the patient experience.

    Join the hospital in celebrating the KMRCMC on Tuesday, August 7 from 4-6pm at 1195 Garner Field Road. Refreshments will be served.

    Jul 25, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Family Practice Association and Uvalde Memorial Hospital are pleased to announce Andrew M. Rahaman, M.D. will be joining the medical staff team in August. Dr. Rahaman will enter Uvalde Family Practice Association (UFPA) where he will practice family medicine. He will be joining medical director Lawerence P. Wegrzyn, M.D. and Cherie L. Hauptmeier, D.O., along with nurse practitioners Lauren Rothe, Kimberly VanDalen, and Jane Champion.

    “Dr. Rahaman is going to be a great addition to our team. I am so impressed with his medical knowledge and his commitment to patient care,” stated Dr. Wegrzyn.

    Dr. Rahaman was born a Yankee and raised a Texas, and he’s called Uvalde home since the early 90s. He graduated from Uvalde High School and completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University in College Station in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science.

    He went on to attend medical school at American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, gaining a medical doctorate in 2013, then continued his studies in residency at Christus Spohn Family Medicine Residency in Corpus Christi. He was awarded Intern of the Year at Christus Spohn in 2016.

    Dr. Rahaman is board certified in family medicine and will have privileges at Uvalde Memorial Hospital for adult and pediatric admissions, as well as at the local nursing homes.

    “The city, along with many friends and family here, has helped me get where I am today. It’s now time to give back to what gave to me. I’m passionate about my career, my family, and most importantly God who has given me the gift of helping others and serving in this capacity,” stated Dr. Rahaman.

    Rahaman and his wife Caroline have two children, Ella Grace, 2 years old, and Mia Giselle, 2 months old. His wife and daughters will all be moved to Uvalde before he begins in August.

    “We are excited to bring Andrew back to his hometown and have his family join him in calling Uvalde home,” Dr Wegrzyn said.

    Dr. Rahaman will begin seeing patients August 1 and is currently accepting applications for new patients. New patient applications can be submitted to Uvalde Family Practice Association located at 1800 Garner Field Road. For additional information on becoming a patient, please contact the UFPA office at 830-278-4453.

    Jul 24, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital has partnered with Uvalde Emergency Medical Services Inc. (Uvalde EMS) this year for the purchase of two new ambulances. The hospital gave Uvalde EMS $120,000 towards their purchase of the new units. Both vehicles have arrived and are in use by the Uvalde EMS fleet as of June.

    Stephen Stephens, director of Uvalde EMS, oversaw the selection and purchase of the vehicles.

    “Each ambulance in our fleet now contains the most up to date equipment with a cost of roughly $110,000 per ambulance,” Stephens explained.

    That cost excludes equipment as it is removed from the units being replaced and moved into the new ambulances.

    “One of the ambulances is an entirely new unit and one was remounted on a new chassis. During this process, the ambulance modular portion was completely refurbished. By utilizing this method, a cost savings of $72,000 was realized over the purchase of a brand new ambulance,” Stephens said.

    Both ambulances have upgraded safety features for crew and patients. Crew features include five-point safety harnesses that allow patient care to remain the focus while providing complete security to the EMS personnel. For the patients, new $4,500 crash-tested stretcher mounts that secure the stretcher to the ambulance body provide additional safety for the patient.

    Both units also provide better fuel economy. Fuel cost will be decreased with the use of the new vehicles as they operate on more efficient platforms, especially one of the units.

    “The Type 2 van ambulance will be used primarily for inter-facility transfers into San Antonio because it is now the most fuel-efficient vehicle in our fleet,” Stephens said.

    He went on to say that the Type 2 vehicle will also be utilized for 911 responses when needed, as it is equipped identically to the other ambulances in the fleet.

    Currently, Uvalde EMS has five response ready ambulances in their fleet. 

    Jul 24, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce it has been named a 2018 Best Places to Work in Healthcare®winner by Modern Healthcare. The list singles out and recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry on a national level.

    "With unemployment dipping below 4% for the first time since December 2000, employers have their work cut out for them to keep workers happy. Organizations making this year's list of Best Places to Work in Healthcare stand out in their efforts to create an empowered and satisfied workforce,” stated a press release by Modern Healthcare initially announcing those named to the list.

    The list is named in May and presented to chosen facilities annually each September at an awards dinner in Chicago. Modern Healthcare then publishes individual rankings on the list of 100 healthcare entities in October.

    “This was our first year to measure employee satisfaction with Modern Healthcare. UMH has been measuring employee engagement with other renowned healthcare agencies, like Press Ganey, for over 10 years and we’ve always ranked in the top percentile,” stated Tom Nordwick, hospital CEO and administrator.

    “We saw this survey as an opportunity to see how we rank amongst a different peer group to ensure we truly are where we want to be for our employees and out patients,” Nordwick added.

    Feedback from the report will be used to identify both strengths and concerns or issues within the workplace. Leadership will hone in on weaknesses that the survey pinpointed and address them as opportunities to improve the employees’ work experience. The hospital systematically, by department and as an organization, will prioritize the top opportunities and develop action plans to work with staff to accomplish positive change for each opportunity.

    The organization strives to fulfill the mission of providing compassionate, high quality healthcare to patients, and hospital administration feels that can only be accomplished through engaged, happy employees.

    “High employee engagement has a direct correlation to positive customer, in our case patient, outcomes. It is truly a privilege to work with a group of individuals who enjoy what they do and strive to provide the best care possible to our community,” Nordwick added.

    According to Nordwick, the award represents an important recognition from an industry leader in measuring, understanding and improving the employee and patient experience. 

    Jun 11, 2018 /

    Topic:

    After completing the Babysitter’s Training Course on June 5, 2018 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 11 area youth ages 11-15 are newly certified by the American Red Cross for babysitting. Taught by Pauline Garcia, clinical and community educator at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, and assistant instructor Amy Martinez, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify over 120,000 babysitters nationwide each year and teaches young people ages 11-15 how to supervise children and infants and perform basic child-care skills such as diapering, feeding, and dressing. The course also teaches how to identify safety hazards and prevent injuries, care for common injuries and emergencies, and how to find and interview for babysitting jobs.

    “Babysitter’s Training uses hands-on activities, exciting video, and role-plays to help the participants learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Pauline Garcia, certified course instructor.

    Participants received the Babysitter’s Training Handbook containing information to use in class and on the job; an Emergency Reference Guide providing step-by-step instructions to handle common emergencies; a CD-ROM including tools such as a printable activity booklet with games, songs and recipes, a resume template, and more.

    Participants included Ashlynn Aviles, Ahlaynah Barrients, Jonnathan Cazarez, Jackson Evans, Kayleigh Griffin, Samuel Martinez, Ligia Perry, Peyton Phillips, Victoria Phillips, Natalie Rondon, and Averie Torres.

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held in August 2018. There is a $50 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Pictured (L-R): Pauline Garcia, instructor; Peyton Phillips, Kayleigh Griffin, Victoria Phillips, Ashlynn Aviles, Natalie Rondon, Jackson Evans, Samuel Martinez, Averie Torres, Jonnathan Cazarez, Ligia Perry, Ahlaynah Barrients, and Amy Martinez, assistant instructor.

    Jun 1, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Written by Brent Rutledge, RPh, PharmD

    Mark Twain once said, “Be careful about reading health books, you might die of a misprint.” While that might not be entirely accurate, it is safe to say that when a group of people become concerned about a subject, an underlying cause usually exists.

    Today in healthcare, one of those subjects is prescription pain medication, also referred to as opioids. Statistics vary but when we look at all deaths related to opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, we see that the number has more than quadrupled since 1999. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) logged 42,000 opioid-related fatalities in 2016. That same year, 40% of all opioid overdose deaths — about 17,000 — involved prescription pain medications. That is approximately 47 people per day, every day of the year.

    The topic is of concern nation-wide and physicians and hospital staff, including locally at UMH, are challenged to provide safe and effective pain management in the midst of the heated conversation. Our hospital has proactively begun taking steps to treat patients safely and effectively despite the complex process associated with pain management and opioids.

    If a patient arrives at the hospital in acute pain, the hospital will treat their pain. When used appropriately, medications, including opioids, are an integral part of making a patient better. But new regulations have changed the way we treat pain and hospitals are now required to identify patients that are at high risk for opioid abuse. Regulations require healthcare providers to consider things like: 

    • Is the patient here for chronic pain?
    • Has the patient been admitted to the hospital for chronic pain in the last year?
    • Does the patient have multiple prescriptions for pain medications?
    • Is the patient asking for specific pain medications?

    Many factors are taken into consideration and a person identified at high risk for opioid abuse is then referred to their primary care physician (PCP) or a pain management specialist. For people with chronic pain or disease repeated trips to the Emergency Room are usually not beneficial. These patients will benefit the most from seeing their PCP or a specialist for long term treatment.

    Providers will often look to alternative methods to treat pain. Many effective pain medications exist that will not cross over into the brain and affect the central nervous system like opioids do. Opioids also often have side effects like constipation and upset stomach that can be avoided with alternative treatment. Alternative treatments may not always be popular with the patient but are certainly in their best interest.

    Hard data has taught healthcare providers to use the minimal amount needed of an opioid for the shortest time possible. This practice is twofold: it can help a person who is currently addicted, or it can prevent another person from having a future problem.

    No one would want to imagine life without pain medication, and why should we when medicine has come so far. However, treating pain does not necessarily mean a patient will have zero pain. Pain is a natural and important part of the human experience. In many cases pain teaches us not to repeat whatever action caused the pain in the first place.

    If there is anything I have learned as a pharmacist in over 25 years of dispensing medications, it is to have a healthy respect for what they can do to human beings.

    A discussion with your local pharmacist and/or your healthcare provider is always a good idea if you have any concerns regarding your pain or your treatment.

    May 21, 2018 /

    Topic:

    Raul Zamora, president of the board of trustees at Uvalde Memorial Hospital in Uvalde, TX, has been elected to the Texas Healthcare Trustees board, a statewide non-profit organization for those serving on the governing boards of hospitals and health care systems in Texas. His two-year term was effective January 1, 2018.

    “We are excited to have Raul serve on the THT board. We have worked with him over the years through THT’s Certified Healthcare Trustee program and the Healthcare Governance Conference. We know he will provide a helpful perspective to the issues facing rural and critical access hospitals and bring tremendous expertise to our organization,” said Shirley Robinson, CAE, president/CEO of the Texas Healthcare Trustees.

    Zamora has been a board member of Uvalde Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital, since 1980. He is also currently involved with the Uvalde Board of Realtors and has been involved in the Uvalde Kiwanis Club, United Fund of Maverick County and several other civic and service organizations.

    May 11, 2018 /

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    Uvalde, you made our 9th Annual Wellness Run another FUN one! We had over 130 runners/walkers for our 5k, 10k, and Kids Fun Run on Tuesday. Great job to everyone for getting out and getting healthy!

    Women’s 10k:

    1st – Laura Downing

    Men’s 10k:

    1st – Antonio Quiroga

    2nd- Jesse Quiroga

    3rd- Steven McDaniel

    Women’s 5k Overall:

    1. Landra Fowler
    2. Vicky Kraemer
    3. Monica Vera

    Men’s 5k Overall:

    1. Jorge Tiejerina
    2. Noah Esquivel
    3. Logan Hernandez

    Women’s 5k 18 and Under:

    1. Monica Vera
    2. Hope Lopez
    3. Desiree Vera

    Women’s 5k 19-29

    1. Gabby Luevano
    2. Hanna Case
    3. Sara Jimenez

    Women’s 5k 30-39

    1. Maria Elizondo
    2. Katie Hughes
    3. Sabrina Arreola

    Women’s 5k 40-49

    1. Landra Fowler
    2. Belinda Arreola
    3. Elizabeth Garcia

    Women’s 5k 50 and over

    1. Vicky Kraemer
    2. Cleo Davila
    3. Leah Dungo

    Men’s 5k 18 and Under

    1. Logan Hernandez
    2. Jack Brock
    3. Diego Valdez

    Men’s 5k 19-29

    1. Noah Esquivel
    2. Tony Gonzales
    3. Robert Rojas

    Men’s 5k 30-39

    1. Jorge Tiejerina
    2. Mario Guzman
    3. Johnathon Anfinsen

    Men’s 5k 40-49

    1. Ryan Teague
    2. Nato Hinojosa
    3. Ceaser Moranes

    Men’s 5k 50 and over

    1. Jacob Catillo
    2. Bob Baen
    3. James Penn
    May 2, 2018 /

    Topic:

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on April 19 at Uvalde Country Club. Over 100 volunteers from Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary, Uvalde Hospice, and Friends of Uvalde Hospice Thrift Store attended to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments.

    UMH auxiliary volunteer Shirley Grigg opened the program with a prayer and hospital CEO, Tom Nordwick, welcomed and thanked all in attendance.

    Charla Carter, UMH director of volunteer services, also welcomed everyone and thanked them for their service to the hospital and hospice programs. Carter commended the volunteers for unselfishly giving their time and encouraged everyone in the room to continue to recruit new volunteers.

    Carter made a toast to the volunteers who contribute so much to the hospital and the hospice department and who are “All work, and no play!”

    Carter highlighted the many hours that each of the organizations give by translating their time into dollar amounts and employee equivalency. The hospice volunteers totaled 2,500 hours within the last year equating to one full time employee. The thrift store accumulated 6,500 hours with their 23 volunteers, which equated to $64,000; and the hospital auxiliary totaled 8,000 hours that translated to $205,000 or 4 full time employees.

    Linda Kennedy shared her testimony on her experience with hospice through her late husband and what being a volunteer with the organization means to her now. She began as a volunteer delivering flowers to hospice patients with her granddaughter. Her role has evolved to sitting with patients and their families now too.

    Shirley Grigg also shared her thoughts on being a volunteer. She represented the hospital auxiliary and shared inspiring stories about the interactions she has with hospital visitors and patient family members in the gift shop.

    Maricela Hernandez from the Friends of Uvalde Hospice Thrift Store also addressed the group. She talked about the wide range of commitments that their volunteers fulfill and the need for donations from the community. She ended by saying, “Volunteers wear working boots but leave a trail of angel footsteps.”

    Carter then recognized Shirley Grigg, Glenda Snow, and Linda Hubbard for being the top volunteer for their respective organizations. Grigg had 1,626 hours with the hospital auxiliary, Snow dedicated 970 hours to the hospice program, and Hubbard committed 684 hours to the thrift store. The individuals were presented with gifts as a thank you for their service.

    Venesa Davila, thrift store manager, also thanked all of the volunteers for their commitment. She applauded them for their willingness to provide service without expectation of recognition. Davila recognized top volunteers for the Hospice Thrift Store as: Linda Hubbard with 683.5 hours, Ana Rocha with 529.9 hours, and Maricela Hernandez with 452.25 hours. Each recipient was presented with a certificate and a bouquet of roses.

    To conclude the luncheon, Davila and thrift store board member Veronica Conoley presented a check for $10,000 to Uvalde Hospice Foundation. The check was received by Nordwick, hospice director Heidi Mathewson, and hospice medical director Sameta Sosa, M.D.

    The Uvalde Hospice Foundation was established five years ago and uses funds donated through memorials, raised at the Friends of Hospice Thrift Store, and given by people in the community, to cover the costs of miscellaneous items needed by patients under hospice care. The foundation helps to pay for utility bills, clothing, household items, and any other expense that would help make the patient more comfortable and give them peace of mind during their illness.

    Apr 25, 2018 /

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    Interested individuals are required to complete an application process, which consists of sharing past educational accomplishments as well as future educational and professional goals, demonstrating financial need, and expressing their personal commitment to serving their community after completion of their degree. Scholarship applicants must be residents of Uvalde, Edwards, Kinney, Real or Zavala Counties and enrolled in a college program to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

    The UMH Auxiliary has given scholarships to area students pursuing their education in the nursing field for nearly 25years. In that time, they have given more than $55,000 in scholarships for LVNs and RNs continuing education. The bi-annual scholarship program is made possible through special fundraising initiatives by the Hospital Auxiliary.

    Applications can be picked up in the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Human Resources Department, or found online at www.umhtx.org/careers/scholarships. Completed applicationsmust be submitted by June 29. For more information, please contact Charla Carter, Director of Human Resources and Volunteer Services, at 830-278-6251 extension 1435.

    Apr 24, 2018 /

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    A hospital is more than a place where people go to heal, it is a part of the community that fosters health and represents hope. From providing treatment and comfort to the sick, to welcoming new life into the world, hospitals are central to a healthy and optimistic community.

    That’s the message organizers are touting with the 2018 National Hospital Week theme “Caring is Our Calling.” The event theme is the centerpiece of a campaign aimed at uniting health care facilities across the country during the May 6–12 celebration.

    “National Hospital Week, first and foremost, is a celebration of people,” Tom Nordwick, administrator of Uvalde Memorial Hospital, said.

    “We’re extremely proud of each member of our staff and we recognize the important role they play in extending a sense of trust to our patients and our communities. Above all, our patients come first and National Hospital Week is a time to celebrate our patients, our presence in the community, and our ability and desire to serve,” Nordwick added.

    A full slate of community activities is planned at UMH to celebrate, including:

    • Free A1C testing on Monday, May 7 from 8am-11am in the Registration Lobby
    • 9thAnnual Wellness 5k and 10k Run/Walk on Tuesday, May 8 from 5-7pm in the ICU Parking Lot
    • Free A1C testing on Monday, May 7 from 3pm-6pm in the Registration Lobby
    • Teddy Bear Clinic on Thursday, May 10 from 3pm-6pm in the Social Services Wing

    The hospital will also celebrate with internal events for employees such as an Exec Breakfast where the hospital’s executive staff will kick off the week serving a free breakfast to employees, a Taste of the Town luncheon where hospital directors will each make a dish for staff to try, an ice cream social and scrub relay races.

    Hospital employees also partake in a friendly “Fill Your Exec’s Office” competition during National Hospital Week. For this competition, a non-profit organization within the community is selected as the recipient of a hospital-wide donation. Then, different work groups within UMH compete against each other to see who can gather the most goods to donate by filling their executives’ offices.

    For more information, contact Karla Radicke at (830) 278-6251 extension 1037 or www.umhtx.org/eventsor www.facebook.com/uvaldememorial.

    Apr 18, 2018 /

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    When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

    So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month: Fitness #4Mind4Body. The theme, established by Mental Health America (MHA), is a call to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

    A healthy lifestyle may help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions. Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy.

    It is important to really look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness. We know that living a healthy lifestyle is not always easy, but gradually making small changes and building on those successes can achieve it.

    This May join us in our celebration of Mental Health Month. We will kick it off with our second Healthy Minds Matter conference on Tuesday, May 1 at SSGT. Willie de leon Civic Center from 5:00-7:00PM. Here we will bring together professionals, caregivers, parents, and friends who are affected by mental or behavioral health. The event is an opportunity to explore the truth, discuss the reality, and move towards a healthier future as a community. We can also work together to overcome mental health’s negative stigma.

    The keynote speaker, Dr. John Huber has over 20 years of experience bringing lasting and positive change to the lives of individuals with mental health issues and their family and friends. Breakout session speakers will also cover topics like depression and anxiety, domestic violence, addiction and opioid use, and mental health in youth.

    Continue after the conference by taking MHA’s #4Mind4Body challenges each day where they will share one thing you can do to be a healthier you. Learn more at www.mentalhealthamerica.net

    Mar 28, 2018 /

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    RFP1.JPG

    Uvalde Memorial Hospital has received and opened requests for proposals (RFP) from the top-five construction manager at risk (CMAR) firms who were selected in a special board meeting held March 3. Firms included Hoar Construction, Kitchell, McCarthy, Robins & Morton, and Skanska.

    After their selection in early March, RFPs were due by each firm on Tuesday, March 20 at 2:00 pm and were publicly opened at 4:00 pm that same day in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room at the hospital.

    Owner’s representative Chris Larson from Next, Inc. opened each RFP and UMH executive assistant, Gabriela Luevano, read each proposal aloud. Hospital CEO, Tom Nordwick, and numerous representatives from the submitting CMAR firms were present. As the next step in the process of identifying a CMAR for the building project, the hospital’s board of directors will interview each of the five firms the first week in April. 

    Mar 26, 2018 /

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    Teague graduated from the University of Rochester in New York where he majored in biology and pre-medicine. He went on to obtain his Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Baylor College of Medicine in 2007. He is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and the Texas Medical Board, and is a member of American Association of Physician Assistants and Texas Association of Physician Assistants.

    Teague comes to UMSA with almost 10 years of experience in general orthopedics with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston. He has specialized experience in treating hips, knees, shoulders, and upper extremities.

    Ryan made the move to Uvalde in early December and has become acquainted with UMSA and the clinic’s patients over the last three months. Teague’s family will join him after they complete the remainder of the school year in Houston. Joining him will be wife, Eliana, and two children, Alicia age 9 and Lucas age 6.

    “My wife and I are very excited about our transition to Uvalde. We are looking forward to the benefits of raising our children in a small community and all that this area has to offer,” Teague shared.

    Ryan enjoys gardening and cooking, and together the family shares a love of sports and fitness activities.

    “I am looking forward to all of the outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and hunting that we’ll have right in our own backyard, so-to-speak,” Teague added.

    An open house to meet Ryan Teague and the other members of the UMSA orthopaedic team, Dr. Jack Conoley and Dr. Andrea Barrett, will be held this summer.

    Mar 15, 2018 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital continues the process of a hospital replacement project as the schematic design phase comes to a conclusion and design development is beginning to take place. Parallel to the design process, the hospital board and administrators, alongside owner’s representative Steve Larson from Next, Inc. and architectural firm Perkins+Will, have begun the processes of identifying a potential construction partner over the coming months.

    The Hospital anticipates the new, 2-story facility to be complete in late 2020 for a cost of $83.5-million. The new building will expand the hospital’s current footprint of 170,000 square feet to an 180,000 square foot configuration. The larger layout will meet regulatory standards and transform the hospital’s delivery of care to better accommodate patients, visitors, and staff with new efficiencies and improved amenities not currently available.

    As the project continues, the hospital board and executive team wish to keep the community well informed and very involved in the process.

    Why is it urgent that this building project begins now?

    With the conversion to CAH status there is a window of opportunity to replace the facility and receive additional reimbursement from CMS to assist with project funding. UMH obtained a very favorable interest rate from USDA, and interest rates will likely not become any more favorable in the near future. Projections for UMH’s continued success depend upon having modern facilities that meet CMS code for the provision of care. Patient rooms do not meet current regulations and infrastructure in the facility is starting to fail. Replacing the plant before substantial failures happen will save future resources. Remodel or replacement options were evaluated and revealed replacement was less costly and will cause less interruption of care for the community.

    What is the economic impact of UMH on Uvalde and how will that change with the new hospital?

    The hospital conducted an economic impact study in 2015. Results showed UCHA has a total revenues impact of $82.7 million, total direct labor income impact of $29.8 million, and generated retail sales of $9.2 million in Uvalde County. The new facility is projected to increase hospital revenue by 3-5% and help ensure the continued financial success of the organization. This success will translate to continued economic impact on the service region.

    Didn’t we just complete a campaign for the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center?

    The campaign for the KMRCMC was completed in December 2009 and exceeded $5.4 million providing radiation therapy treatment to cancer patients in a nine-county region. The project also expanded medical specialty services including orthopeadics, general surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, and women’s health.

    If healthcare is focusing more on outpatient care, how does a new hospital benefit the community?

    Like hospitals around the nation, the bulk of services provided 10-15 years ago were inpatient, and hospitals were built accordingly. Today, most services are outpatient, meaning patients go home the same day of service. A new facility will focus on the industry-wide shift with an efficient, patient-centered layout housing outpatient services in a centralized manner with user-friendly, easy access for patients and visitors. This focus will also allow inpatients to experience additional privacy during overnight stays, as inpatient units will be housed away from outpatient services.

    Will any of the current departments or services be discontinued?

    The hospital board and administration do not anticipate any reduction in services. The more efficient layout will house some departments in larger areas, or smaller areas, based on each service’s needs. The number of patient rooms in the new hospital will remain consistent with current hospital operations of 25 inpatient beds and 20 outpatient beds. Care under inpatient and outpatient status will remain seamless from a patient perspective. Recently, community perceptions that hospice services might be discontinued were not accurate and stemmed from a state-funded study of UMH that reviewed the financial viability of each department. Following the study, in-house adjustments were made to ensure the viability of hospice.

    How will a new building improve healthcare in the community?

    A new layout designed to meet regulatory standards will transform the delivery of care to better accommodate patients, visitors, and staff with new efficiencies and improved amenities not currently available. The new facility will also provide opportunities to implement new technology and equipment such as fully integrated operating rooms, controlled access for patient and visitor safety, the latest environmental systems reducing risk of infection, advanced patient call and response systems, and cutting edge diagnostic tools.

    What will UMH do with the property behind the current hospital, particularly the areas in the flood zone?

    A new facility will lie southeast of the current facility and will allow services to continue uninterrupted until occupancy of the new facility. Behind the new site, the hospital will work with the City of Uvalde and Uvalde County to develop adjacent property to provide possible opportunities for public recreation in the future. Though not an immediate priority, walking trails, sports fields, and other activities are potential projects.

    USDA funding does not allow for construction to take place in flood-zones and the hospital plans to capitalize on these areas by highlighting the natural, undisturbed beauty of the landscape seen from the new patient rooms.

    Does UMH own other properties, such as nursing homes? Will this affect funding the campaign?

    The hospital owns Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center, located on the main campus. Across the street, the hospital owns stand-alone buildings that house Crossroads Behavioral Health, public relations and development, and the hospice program.

    In addition, as part of a federal government reimbursement program, the hospital manages 26 nursing homes. UMH has committed for interim capital financing, and receives a percentage of the government reimbursement for these homes. This partnership allows the nursing homes to make upgrades to their facilities to meet quality measures and allows the hospital to generate income from the management contract.

    TIMELINE

    The architectural firm Perkins+Will was selected by the hospital board in June 2017. Since that time the firm has confirmed space needs assessments, reviewed preliminary design options, completed site visits to neighboring facilities, and developed more detailed renderings. The hospital is using a construction management at risk (CMR) delivery model and completed construction drawings are anticipated to be ready by October 2018. Tentatively, construction will begin January 2019 and following this timeline, the finished facility would be completed within 18-24 months, opening between June 2020 and January 2021.

    For additional information on the building project or hospital tours, please contact the hospital’s administration office at 830-278-6251 ext. 1131 or communications specialist, Karla Radicke, at 830.278.6251 ext. 1037.

    Picture: Attached are preliminary renderings of the new facility. The hospital will host an open house for the public to view more finalized drawings during National Hospital Week in May.

    Mar 14, 2018 /

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    After completing the Babysitter’s Training Course on March 13, 2018 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 7 area youth ages 11-15 are newly certified by the American Red Cross for babysitting. Taught by Pauline Garcia, clinical and community educator at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify over 120,000 babysitters nationwide each year and teaches young people ages 11-15 how to supervise children and infants and perform basic child-care skills such as diapering, feeding, and dressing. The course also teaches how to identify safety hazards and prevent injuries, care for common injuries and emergencies, and how to find and interview for babysitting jobs.

    “Babysitter’s Training uses hands-on activities, exciting video, and role-plays to help the participants learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Pauline Garcia, certified course instructor.

    Participants received the Babysitter’s Training Handbook containing information to use in class and on the job; an Emergency Reference Guide providing step-by-step instructions to handle common emergencies; a CD-ROM including tools such as a printable activity booklet with games, songs and recipes, a resume template, and more.

    Participants included Victoria Martinez, Delaney Fulcher, Alyssa Barajas, Kylie Bomer, Carly Rae Colvin, Kevin Williams Jr., and Ryleigh Fulcher.

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held in June 2018. There is a $50 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Pictured (L-R): Victoria Martinez, Delaney Fulcher, Alyssa Barajas, Kylie Bomer, Carly Rae Colvin, Kevin Williams Jr., and Ryleigh Fulcher; instructor and UMH community educator Pauline Garcia, RN.

    Jan 24, 2018 /

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    The decision by the Employee Retirement System (ERS) of Texas to award a six-year contract to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has impacted healthcare providers and state employees throughout the area. ERS manages health insurance plans for state employees, retirees and their dependents. Effective September 1, 2017 ERS participants across the state previously covered under HealthSelect of Texas administered by United Healthcare, shifted to BCBSTX’s Blue Essentials network.

    Locally, this change effects health insurance coverage for more than 600 individuals employed with entities like Southwest Texas Junior College, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, and more.

    The change has also largely impacted local healthcare providers including Uvalde Memorial Hospital and its affiliate Uvalde Medical and Surgical Associates. The coverage shift equates to new contract negotiations for the hospital and physician clinic. UMH and UMSA engaged in active negotiations with BCBSTX prior to September and continue to work to find an agreement to provide local coverage.

    “It is our priority to ensure everyone in our service area has access to exceptional healthcare at our facilities, regardless of their employer,” stated Valerie Lopez, chief financial officer.

    At least 170 of the locally effected individuals received healthcare services at UMSA in the last 12 months.

    While an agreement was reached for hospital inpatient services, hospital executives were forced to decline BCBSTX initial contract offering which decreased reimbursement by 13% from the previous contracted rate for hospital and clinic outpatient services. The current reimbursement rate BCBSTX is offering falls substantially below the Medicare rate.

    “To accept a commercial insurance rate below the Medicare fee schedule would not lead to a sustainable business model,” explained Lopez.

    But the team is not giving up and continues working diligently to negotiate an agreement with the Blue Essentials network, also still commonly referred to as HealthSelect. Until an agreement is reached, UMSA and UMH services can still be rendered but fall out-of-network for state employees’, translating to a higher deductible and out-of-pocket fee incurred by the individual.

    “We are working diligently to reach an agreement that allows state employees to received healthcare locally. We are not pleased that these members of our community have to pay increased amounts or travel outside of their hometown to receive in-network care,” stated Tom Nordwick, hospital chief executive officer. 

    Jan 5, 2018 /

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    After completing the Babysitter’s Training Course on January 5, 2018 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 7 area youth age 11-15 are newly certified by the American Red Cross for babysitting. Taught by Pauline Garcia, clinical and community educator at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, the fun and fast-paced class included hands-on activities, videos, role-plays, take-home training materials, and interactive discussion.

    The course is used to train and certify over 120,000 babysitters nationwide each year and teaches young people ages 11-15 how to supervise children and infants and perform basic child-care skills such as diapering, feeding, and dressing. The course also teaches how to identify safety hazards and prevent injuries, care for common injuries and emergencies, and how to find and interview for babysitting jobs.

    “Babysitter’s Training uses hands-on activities, exciting video, and role-plays to help the participants learn how to be responsible babysitters,” said Pauline Garcia, certified course instructor.

    Participants received the Babysitter’s Training Handbook containing information to use in class and on the job; an Emergency Reference Guide providing step-by-step instructions to handle common emergencies; a CD-ROM including tools such as a printable activity booklet with games, songs and recipes, a resume template, and more.

    Participants included Danielle Garza, Asialei Arroyos, Nixon Havelka, Noah Downing, Fiona White, and Elizabeth Phillips.

    The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held in March 2018. There is a $50 fee per student. Space is limited so please register early to reserve a seat. Attendees should pack a lunch for the all-day class. To learn more or register, contact public relations at 830-278-6251 extension 1038.

    Pictured (L-R): Instructor Pauline Garcia and students Danielle Garza, Asialei Arroyos, Nixon Havelka, Noah Downing, Fiona White, and Elizabeth Phillips. 

    Dec 15, 2017 /

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    During the 63nd Annual Texas Vital Statistics Conference, held December 6-8 in Austin, TX, Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 2 prestigious state awards. Norma Castro, birth registrar, and Erica Trevino, clerk, in Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s health information management (HIM) department, accepted the Five Star Service Award from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ vital statistics unit and the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity.

    The Five Star Service award is given to only those hospitals in the state that have met a list of criteria for qualification set by the vital statistics unit.

    Uvalde Memorial was placed in the Exemplary Winners category meeting 100% of criterion. Only 13 other hospitals in the state fell into the exemplary category and an additional 48 were recognized for meeting 97% of criterion.

    This year’s honors marked the 16th consecutive year the hospital has received the award.

    Qualifications include legal and statistical measurements on all birth registrations completed, timeliness of birth registrations of babies born at the hospital, and training standards of birth registrars at the facility. Hospitals must also have been recipients of the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity and Department of State Health Services ImmTrac Award for Excellence in 2017 to qualify.

    The Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity was also received at the convention. To achieve the paternity acknowledgement criteria, birth registrars must complete the 71% state average or higher of potential Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017.

    PICTURE (L-R): Erica Trevino, clerk; Norma Castro, birth certificate clerk; and Grace Gonzales, HIM analyst, display the state awards their department won for 2017.

    Dec 8, 2017 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce it has been named a 2017 Guardian of Excellence Award® winner by Press Ganey. The Guardian of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing health care organizations that have consistently achieved the 95th percentile or above of performance in Employee Engagement.

    The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually each November, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year.

    “UMH has been measuring employee engagement with Press Ganey for over 10 years. As a participant in the survey process, the hospital receives plentiful feedback from employees,” stated Tom Nordwick, CEO and administrator.

    The feedback is used to identify concerns or issues, which can then be addressed as opportunities to improve the employees’ work experience. The hospital systematically, by department and as an organization as a whole, prioritizes the top opportunities and develops action plans to work with staff to accomplish positive change for each opportunity.

    The organization strives to fulfill the mission of providing compassionate, high quality health care to patients, and hospital administration feels that can only be accomplished through engaged, happy employees.

    “High employee engagement has a direct correlation to positive customer, in our case patient, outcomes. It is truly a privilege to work with a group of individuals who strive to provide the best care possible to our community,” Nordwick added.

    According to Nordwick, the award represents an important recognition from the industry’s leader in measuring, understanding and improving the patient experience.

    "We are proud to partner with Uvalde Memorial Hospital,” said Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. “This award is a testament to the organization’s leadership in delivering patient-centered care. By achieving and sustaining this level of excellence, UMH continues to demonstrate their commitment to the patient experience and advancing the overall quality of health care.” 

    Dec 5, 2017 /

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    Many years in the making, Uvalde Memorial Hospital announces its intent to proceed with a hospital replacement project that will deliver an improved healthcare experience to the residents of Uvalde, Real, Kinney, Zavala, and Edwards Counties.

    The Hospital anticipates the new, 2-story facility to be complete in late 2020 for a cost of $83.5-million. The new building will expand the hospital’s current footprint of 170,000 square feet to a 180,000 square foot configuration. The larger layout will meet regulatory standards and transform the hospital’s delivery of care to better accommodate patients, visitors, and staff with new efficiencies and improved amenities not currently available. The project site will lie southeast of the current facility and will allow services to continue uninterrupted until occupancy of the new state of the art facility.

    “The new facility will focus on the growing shift from inpatient to outpatient services. It will create a user friendly environment that puts our patients and visitors at the center,” stated Tom Nordwick, Chief Executive Officer.

    The method of healthcare delivery has seen much change in the last 10-15 years with a significant shift towards outpatient services. While hospitals across the nation adjust their service approach to accommodate for the change, the new building will provide UMH with an unmatched opportunity to customize inpatient and outpatient service delivery.

    The new facility will also give the hospital an opportunity to implement new technology and equipment such as fully integrated operating rooms, controlled access for patient and visitor safety, modern patient call and response systems, and cutting edge diagnostic tools.

    A more efficient layout will allow additional space for many departments and larger patient rooms that meet current regulatory standards. The number of patient rooms will remain consistent with current hospital operations of 25 inpatient beds and 20 outpatient beds. Care under the inpatient and outpatient status will remain seamless from a patient perspective.

    The hospital intends to reuse the present chilling plant installed in 2015 as well as the emergency generators replaced in 2016.

    Seeds for a project of this magnitude began many years ago as previous administrator Jim Buckner and the hospital board realized a need to plan for the future of healthcare in Uvalde and the surrounding areas. At that time, a project was not financially realistic but the team’s foresight laid the groundwork that, years later, has made the project a reality.

    The UMH board of directors and leaders engaged the expertise of Steve Larson, president of Next, Inc., as owner’s representative in 2016. In the early months of 2017, the team completed an assessment of renovation versus replacement of existing facilities. The study explored the benefits and potential downfalls to each option, and concluded building replacement as the favorable choice. The study sited restricting infrastructure, inhibiting engineering factors, incompatibility for technology integration, and inability to renovate without major disruption to services and loss of business as factors.

    Many possibilities for the existing facility have been explored and currently, no viable alternative uses have been identified which would not negatively impact the future campus.

    “While we wish to be good stewards of the current building, we have yet to find a financially feasible use for the aging plant that dates back as early as 1949,” Nordwick stated.

    If a viable option is not identified, the building will be erased and transformed to better accommodate patients and visitors with additional parking and outdoor space, areas potentially available for community use as well.

    Collaboration with City of Uvalde officials to discuss the opportunity to develop vacant property south of the hospital has already begun. Preliminary discussions show potential for additional ball fields adjacent to current [[Kiwanis Park]], public walking trails, and community gardens.

    TIMELINE

    UMH board of directors selected the architectural firm Perkins+Will in June 2017 and in their first months P+W confirmed initial space needs assessments and reviewed preliminary design options.

    Public meetings were hosted in August to share “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI) results from the United States Department of Agriculture’s required environmental study. Shortly thereafter, in September, the USDA provided the hospital with a letter of conditions for financing which the hospital board accepted, securing financing in the amount of $58-million from the USDA and a $16.5-million loan guarantee from the USDA through a third party lender. The remaining $8.5-million will be the responsibility of the hospital.

    Throughout October and November the P+W team has worked closely with every level of staff at the hospital and completed site visits to neighboring facilities as the work to develop more detailed renderings. Completed construction drawings are anticipated to be ready by October 2018.

    The board voted in October 2017 to proceed with a construction management at risk (CMR) delivery model. Under this method, a commitment to complete the project within a specified price and timeline is set between the hospital and construction manager. Tentatively, the CMR would confirm project costs, after drawings are developed, from October to December of 2018 and January 2019 construction would begin. Following this timeline, the finished facility would be completed within 18-24 months, opening sometime between June 2020 and January 2021.

    The hospital is currently undergoing a feasibility study to determine the ability to raise funds in support of the project that will allow enhancements in technology and space. For additional information or to participate in the study, please contact Sheri Rutledge at 830.278.6251 ext. 1616 or Karla Radicke at 830.278.6251 ext. 1037.

    Aug 9, 2017 /

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    At their monthly meeting on Monday, August 7 the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary announced their Fall 2017 Nursing Scholarship recipients. Sherley Wentz, scholarship committee chairperson, introduced fall scholarship winners Desiree Rodriguez of Sabinal, Juanita Del Toro of Uvalde, and Guadalupe Rodriguez of Uvalde. Each recipient was awarded $3,500 toward the completion of his or her registered nursing (RN) program at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde. Each recipient is enrolled to begin his or her final year of the program in the fall and anticipate graduating in May 2018.

    “The auxiliary works very hard to raise funds to provide scholarships to aspiring nurses and we greatly appreciate their efforts,” said Charla Carter, director of human resources and volunteer services at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

    Recipients were required to complete an application process which considered past educational accomplishments as well as future educational and professional goals, and demonstrated financial need and their personal commitment to serving their community.

    Following the presentation of scholarships, president Eddie McKinney opened the group’s monthly meeting with a prayer and a moment of silence for late member and first-vice president Edna Hernandez. Member Maria Ibarra, Hernandez’s niece, then expressed her gratitude to the group for their support and prayers.

    Member Graciela Ochoa introduced Susan Rios from the Uvalde Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as the guest speaker. Rios shared information on her job as Main Street Manager and SSgt. Willie De Leon Civic Center Manager. Rios outlined the responsibilities of the Visitor’s Bureau and differentiated their role from other similar groups and organizations that they often work closely with. She also highlighted main tourism attractions in our area, talked to the group about how they can be a part of related activities, and thanked them for their volunteerism.

    Sissy Parham then reviewed the July meeting minutes and Barbara Blair gave the treasurer’s report. Shirley Grigg followed with the gift shop report and Sherley Wentz shared there were no new beautification committee updates.

    Before the group adjourned Tom Nordwick, hospital CEO, shared updates on the potential building project that the hospital continues to explore.

    The Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s next meeting is scheduled on Monday, September 4 at 10am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room. For more information or to become a member of the auxiliary, contact human resources officer and director of volunteer services Charla Carter at (830) 278- 6251.

    Aug 7, 2017 /

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    (Austin, TX) - The Texas rural hospital closure epidemic continues with two more rural hospitals locking their doors in the last few weeks. The hospital in Trinity, Texas ceased operations on August 1 and the hospital in Crockett, Texas shut down on July 1, leaving those communities without immediate access to emergency and other hospital care.

    Dave Pearson, CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH), says the two recent rural hospital closures bring the total number that have closed since January 2013 to eighteen (18). According to Pearson “this closure crisis, which has left many rural communities without emergency and other care, has clearly reached epidemic proportions and unless the Texas Legislature and Congress take immediate steps, it will only worsen.”

    TORCH, which represents the 163 rural hospitals across Texas, notes that of the eighteen (18) closures in the last four and a half years, four (4) were temporary lasting only a few months and three (3) were replaced with a freestanding emergency or urgent care center. But the care in those towns is now very limited. Eleven (11) communities still have no emergency or hospital care.

    Pearson added, “As many as a third of the remaining rural hospitals in Texas are operating on a shoestring and struggle every day to stay open and serve their patients.”

    “The real tragedy is many of these closures could have been avoided and are primarily the result of Medicare cuts by Congress in recent years totaling more than $50 million a year for Texas rural hospitals, coupled with underpayments in the Texas Medicaid program to rural hospitals approaching $60 million a year,” he also stated.

    TORCH Director of Government Relations Don McBeath states “Congress and the Texas Legislature have apparently not fully realized the magnitude of the crisis despite our efforts to educate them about the situation. They need to take quick and strong action to put the brakes on the closure slide.” He adds “we are leaving more and more rural communities without immediate and reasonable access to emergency care which has resulted in documented deaths because the local hospital was suddenly gone.”

    Besides leaving holes in the state’s safety-net of trauma and other care, the closures are having a devastating economic impact on Texas. David Byrom is the CEO of Coryell Hospital in Gatesville and is also the current chairman of the TORCH association board. He points out “these closures are bad for the Texas economy. Rural hospitals cover 85% of the state’s geography and serve 15% of the population. They help keep healthy the workforce that supplies the state’s and much of the nation’s food, fuel, and fiber.” Byrom goes on to say “each Texas rural hospital, on average, employs 173 people and has an annual payroll of $23 million. Statewide, that is more than 22,000 good paying jobs and expenditures of $3.7 billion year. The combined economic impact of the 163 Texas rural hospitals is more than $18 billion year.”

    TORCH CEO Pearson adds “these rural hospitals are an economic driver for rural Texas but the closures can also be a death blow to a rural community. Most of the employees and their families will move elsewhere in pursuit of a hospital job. Local businesses suffer and the rural schools suffer, losing money from the state because of declining students. And, the chances of future economic development are lessened without a local hospital. Most rural communities never recover from a hospital closure.”

    McBeath, in his role as the association’s primary contact with state and federal lawmakers, says the downward spiral of Texas rural hospitals can be stopped, but that it will take immediate action from elected lawmakers. “Congress must act very soon to renew some special rural hospital Medicare payment provisions that impact a number of our rural hospitals or their payments will decline even more, causing yet more closures. Plus they need to address the series of cuts they have already inflicted on the rural hospitals over the past five years” says McBeath. “And, the Texas Legislature and the state Medicaid program need to take immediate steps to address the massive underpayments to the hospitals.” In the most recent regular session, the Texas Legislature did direct the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, who manages the Texas Medicaid program, to look into the situation, but, McBeath says “it could be too little, too late. With a two year study window, followed by who knows how much time to react to the findings, we could see dozens more of Texas’ rural hospitals vanish.”

    Association board chairman Byrom says of the situation “the citizens of our rural communities fortunate enough to still have a rural hospital need to know this is happening around them and call their elected state and federal representatives and tell them to take action now to stem the tide of Texas’ rural hospital closures. The two closures in the last month, bringing the total to eighteen (18) in the last four and a half years could be the tip if the iceberg.”

    Aug 2, 2017 /

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    Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s laboratory department has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Laboratory Services Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

    The UMH laboratory department underwent a rigorous, unannounced on-site survey in May 2017. During the review, a Joint Commission expert surveyor evaluated compliance with laboratory standards related to several areas, including document and process control, healthcare-associated conditions, risk reduction, and staff qualifications and competency. The surveyor also conducted on-site observations and interviews.

    “We are pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” stated Cristina Evans, director of laboratory at UMH. “Our staff continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for the patients in our community.”

    “Joint Commission accreditation provides laboratories with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas from specimen collection to result reporting,” said Heather Hurley, executive director of Laboratory Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend Uvalde Memorial Hospital for its efforts to have laboratory services contribute and support the overall health care delivery system.”

    The Joint Commission has accredited hospital laboratory services since 1979 and freestanding laboratories since 1995. More than 1,500 organizations, including laboratories in hospitals, reference labs, blood transfusion and donor centers, public health laboratories, and point-of-care test sites, currently maintain Laboratory Services Accreditation from The Joint Commission, awarded for a two-year cycle.

    The Joint Commission’s laboratory standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts, and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

    Jul 12, 2017 /

    Topic:

    NOTICE by the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Authority of the Availability of the Final Environmental Assessment Report for public review. A copy of the Final Environmental Assessment Report may be viewed in Administration at the hospital. The Environmental Assessment Report states: Finding of No Significant Impact.

    Click HERE for Environmental Impact Assessment

    Jun 14, 2017 /

    Topic:

    Diabetes can be a devastating disease. The disease itself is chronic and painless. The consequences, however, are dire; though they develop over time and can be prevented with appropriate treatment and reasonable lifestyle. Diabetes affects almost all organ systems and leads to blindness, peripheral neuropathy (burning pain in the feet and lower legs as well as lack of sensation), nephropathy (kidney disease that in turn leads to kidney failure and dialysis), hypertension (elevated blood pressure causing increased risk of stroke and heart attacks), skin disorders (boils and abscesses), heart attacks and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Last, but not least, diabetes can cause diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs). They occur on the feet and result mainly from lack of sensation.

    What are diabetic foot ulcers?

    DFUs are non-healing, chronic wounds on the feet, resulting from poor control of diabetes and poor compliance with medical advice. Every diabetic should be and is instructed by his primary care physician (PCP) on the necessity of checking both feet on a daily basis. Rationale for it is lack of sensation in the foot by diabetes sufferer and necessity to make up for the loss of feeling with visual inspection. Discovery of redness, swelling, puncture wound, or callus formation should prompt the patient to seek immediate advice from the PCP, podiatrist (foot doctor) or a wound care physician. It is not infrequent in our Wound Care Center to treat a diabetic patient who has been walking for a week with a rusty nail in his foot without knowing it. In situations like that, amputation below the knee may sometimes be the only available solution. This is an example of a drastic situation that could be avoided by diligently adhering to the simple advice of your doctor.

    Why do they (DFUs) happen?

    Diabetic foot ulcers are the result of repetitive trauma in conjunction with loss of sensation. In other words, small traumatic experiences (too tight shoes, pebble in the shoes) that would cause great discomfort in a person with normal sensation, go unnoticed in diabetic patients until there is a visible ulcer or infection. The first symptom of an ulcer waiting to happen may be callus formation or redness in any given area of the foot. These are warning signs and should be addressed immediately. Loss of sensation and motor nerve function leads to multiple deformities in diabetic feet (hammer toes, claw toes, Charcot foot, flat foot, etc.) that further predispose the patient to DFUs by creating bony eminences exposed to trauma from the shoe wear.


    Why diabetic foot ulcers need to be treated aggressively?

    It is really simple. Most untreated diabetic foot ulcers lead to infection and, in turn, to amputation. Merciless statistics show, that about 50% of amputees (we are talking about major amputation, e.g. below knee or above knee) will die within the next five years. Properly managed patients usually avoid amputations and heal. Exceptions are relatively rare.

    What to do when a DFU is noticed?

    A DFU should be evaluated by a PCP, podiatrist, or wound care center (there is no need for referral) as soon as possible. Ulcers that do not respond to one month of treatment by a PCP or podiatrist should be seen by a wound care specialist.

    How diabetic foot ulcers are treated?

    Treatment must be aggressive and any diabetic foot ulcer should be taken seriously because even a small wound on the diabetic foot may end up as a major amputation in as little as 3 days (in the most extreme cases). While assessing diabetic for ulcers, several issues have to be addressed as soon as possible:

    1. Circulation. Problems with arterial circulation (frequent in diabetics) may be either a direct reason for ulceration or a complicating factor. Either way, if the patient shows symptoms of circulation problems (Peripheral Arterial Disease) they are usually referred to a vascular surgeon. Surgical intervention allows the ulcer to heal much faster and prevents further complications.

    2. Infection. Infected ulcers, especially the ones with circulation problems, constitute a serious challenge and substantial threat of amputation. Infection must be vigorously treated and in wound care center settings it is usually achieved by daily infusions of intravenous antibiotics. Infection of the bone may not respond to treatment with antibiotics alone and may require intervention of an orthopedic surgeon. Usually, removal of the infected part of the bone and occasionally minor amputation (tip of the toe or the entire toe, sometimes parts of metatarsal bones) are needed. Also, antibacterial dressings containing silver, antibiotics and other antibacterials are used in topical treatment of ulcers.

    3. Offloading. In other words, taking the load off the foot. The effects of walking or standing on the affected foot can be compared to hitting the ulcer with a heavy hammer. This force has to be neutralized and it is achieved by the use of specialized shoes or Total Contact Cast. Total Contact cast is the method of choice for offloading diabetic foot ulcers, however, it cannot be used on every patient

    4. Slough and callus. Slough and callus prevent ulcer healing and need to be removed frequently. It is called debridement (removing debris) and may be enzymatic (dissolving and digesting dead tissue by enzymes), autolytic (accomplished by the body after creating adequate conditions - a moist and bacteria-free environment), mechanical (by using wet-to-dry dressing that upon drying out sticks to the ulcer surface and lifts with it dead tissue fragments during dressing removal) and/or a sharp/surgical process(removal of debris with a scalpel, scissors or ultrasonic debrider).

    5. Dormant status of the ulcer. Chronic, non-healing diabetic foot ulcers enter a dormant (sleeping) phase, when the cells are no longer multiplying and the production of growth factor decreases, slowing down or occasionally even arresting the process of healing. These cells must be woken up. This is usually achieved by sharp debridement or use of certain growth factors, cultured skin substitutes, and stem cells.

    6.Lack of oxygen. Oxygen is needed for the cells to breathe and multiply. To address this issue Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is used. It is a very expensive treatment and the patient must meet specific and very stringent criteria to qualify. In the treatment, oxygen is delivered into a special acrylic chamber (large cylinder) under the pressure of 2.0-3.0 atmospheres. At 2 ATA (atmospheres) the pressure is comparable to diving 33 feet under the water surface. In the wound care lingo HBOT is therefore called “diving” despite no water is involved. It is a safe and very effective modality but is high in cost and patients must meet specific and stringent criteria to qualify.

    Summarizing, every diabetic foot ulcer should be treated as a serious threat. It is easier to prevent, than heal. Prompt visits to your health professional’s office (PCP, podiatrist, wound care center) are advised. There are multiple modalities available to prevent amputations. Effectiveness of the treatment is excellent but often long (3 months or more) and requires significant patient resolve and cooperation.

    For additional information on wound care treatment of diabetic foot ulcers or other wounds, please contact the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Wound Care Center directly at (830) 278- 6251 extension 1377

    Mar 1, 2017 /

    Topic:

    In November, Uvalde Memorial Hospital welcomed Matthew Hughes as the new director of rehabilitation. Hughes now oversees physical therapy and speech therapy services, as well as the WorkSTEPS program offered by UMH.

    Hughes replaced Mary Lynn Vaughn who served as the rehabilitation department director for 38 years.

    Hughes graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science from Texas State University in San Marcos and went on to obtain a Master’s of Physical Therapy from Angelo State University in 2006.

    Over the past 10 years Hughes has worked in multiple venues to include outpatient clinics, inpatient rehab facilities, hospital acute care settings, skilled nursing facilities, and home health. Hughes believes his vast array of positions has prepared him well for his new position.

    “I wanted to work in multiple facets of physical therapy in order to gain a broad base of knowledge and experience when dealing with patients and my peers. In doing that, I think it gave me a better appreciation for the healing and recovery process and has allowed me to see multiple diagnoses and how a patient can go from being at their sickest and progress to being healthy and active. It also allowed me to work with different people and disciplines to improve a patient’s level of function and quality of life. I hope to be able to draw from all of those experiences and incorporate that into my current position,” Hughes shared.

    Matthew is married to his wife of 10 years, Katie, and is kept busy by their three children, Wyatt (9), Owen (8), and Hannah (5). Together they are active in sports, school, and 4-H activities.

    Growing up in a military family, Hughes moved frequently before landing in Texas where he has now lived for 25 years. Last July, Hughes and his family moved from New Braunfels to Uvalde, but were not new to the area. Katie’s mother was raised in Uvalde and they very often traveled here to visit Katie’s grandparents, long-time Uvalde residents Mary Dirksen and the late Herbert Dirksen.

    “Over the past 10 years I was here for every major holiday, and I always liked coming to this part of Texas to visit family. My wife and I had been thinking of moving this way for the last 3 years for a change of pace,” Hughes said.

    “I did not move to Uvalde with the expectation to take the director position. I came with the idea of starting my own independent clinic; but when I visited with Mary Lynn Vaughn over the phone and then in person, as well as the staff, and administration of the hospital, it became evident that working with UMH would be a perfect fit. The goals I had as an independent clinic owner were in-line with the goals of UMH. I hope to be able to take the foundation that Mary Lynn set over the past 38 years and build upon it,” Hughes added.

    After receiving constructive feedback from current and past patients, Hughes has begun making small changes to the UMH rehabilitation department. Office hours have been expanded to better-fit patients’ schedules. Early morning appointments, before 8AM, and late afternoon appointments, until 5PM or after, have been incorporated into the team’s schedule.

    “We have rolled out the hours on select days, and at the patients request to see how the community responds,” Hughes said.

    “Additionally, we want to set a standard of being able to process and schedule new referrals within 48 hours of receiving them from a physician, to get the patients in quicker, and help them get on the road to recovery faster,” he added. “We are also being sensitive to the overall cost to the patient, and our department is working closely with the business office to ensure the patients have access to receiving our services.”

    Hughes is already enjoying his new venture at UMH and continues to have a passion for his career.

    “It is a rewarding career. I like helping people, and this job allows me to be hands on. I also like educating the patient on their diagnosis so they have a better understanding of what they are up against, how a physical therapist can help them through it, and then educating the patient on their progress so they see the results in real time,” Hughes said.

    The UMH rehabilitation department provides evaluation and treatment of deficits for all age groups, involving ambulation and other forms of mobility, upper and lower extremity dysfunction, strengthening and endurance, and the use of assistive devices. The department offers speech-language pathology services to include swallowing disorders. Pre-employment testing and worker’s compensation evaluation services are also available. For more information on services or to make a referral, please contact the rehabilitation department at (830)- 278- 6251 extension 1621.

    Jan 20, 2016 /

    Topic:

    This revolutionary machine is designed to quickly perform high-quality MRI scans with a high level of patient comfort.

    “Our new MRI machine is a technological breakthrough. It has a magnetic field strength three times stronger than the old machine and twice as strong as MRI machines in the surrounding areas, including San Antonio,” stated UMH radiologist Jared Reading, M.D.

    Ingenia 3.0T can significantly reduce exam time and has a wide opening to accommodate patients of varying size, age, and physical condition. This makes Ingenia less confining than other systems and a more attractive, noninvasive imaging option for patients. In many cases, scans can be performed with the patient’s head entirely out of the opening, creating a better patient experience.

    “This machine allows us to perform American College of Radiology recommended routine exams of the brain, spine, knee, ankle, and liver in less than 8 minutes. Our patients will experience fast, comfortable exams and fewer re-scans,” said Ralph Gonzalez, director of Radiology at UMH.

    The Ingenia 3.0T incorporates a number of breakthrough technologies designed to deliver exceptional image clarity. It quickly provides radiologists and physicians with precise, detailed MR images needed to help confidently diagnose many different anatomical and structural problems in the body—including brain and nervous system disorders, cardiovascular disease, and organ disease.

    “The transfer of information from the machine to the viewer is done digitally, which is a first for MRI. It shows exquisite detail of bone and soft tissue. This in turn leads to more accurate diagnoses, better information for our local physicians to work with, and ultimately better patient care,” said Dr. Reading.

    Both Reading and Gonzalez highlighted the uniqueness of having such technology available locally and credited the dedication of the hospital board, physicians, administration, and staff.

    “I often discuss the technological aspects of the medical equipment in this “small town" with my colleagues at University hospitals around the country, and I believe awe would be the best way to describe their response,” said Dr. Reading.

    “The philosophy at UMH regarding imaging has always been to buy with an eye towards the future and this new machine will be better than the standard of care for the next decade,” added Reading.

    The installation of the new MRI unit has been in progress since June of 2015 and was completed late in December. Following extensive testing and staff training, imaging on patients began the first week of January 2016.

    Jan 13, 2016 /

    Topic:

    UVALDE, TX – During the 61st Annual Texas Vital Statistics Conference, held December 9-11 in Austin, TX, Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 2 prestigious state awards. Norma Castro, birth registrar in Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s medical records or health information management (HIM) department, accepted the Five Star Service Award from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ vital statistics unit and the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity. 

    The Five Star Service award is given to only those hospitals in the state who have met a list of criteria for qualification set by the vital statistics unit. Qualifications include legal and statistical measurements on all birth registrations completed, timeliness of birth registrations of babies born at the hospital, and training standards of birth registrars at the facility. Hospitals must also have been recipients of the Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity and Department of State Health Services ImmTrac Award for Excellence in 2015 to qualify. 

    Uvalde Memorial was placed in the Winners category meeting 99% of each criterion. Only 47 other hospitals in the state fell into the winners category that requires a minimum of meeting 97% criterion and 26 into the exemplary winners’ bracket. The exemplary winner’s bracket is made up of those hospitals that meet 100% of criteria. 

    This year’s honors marked the 14th consecutive year the hospital has received the award. 

    The Office of Attorney General Award for Acknowledgement of Paternity was also received at the convention. To achieve the paternity acknowledgement criteria, birth registrars must complete the 71% state average or higher of potential Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

    PICTURE (L-R): Norma Castro, birth certificate clerk; Grace Gonzales, HIM analyst; Bennie Sanchez, clerk; and Yolanda Valerio, Director of HIM display the state awards their department won for 2015.

    Dec 3, 2015 /

    Topic:

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    The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award is a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement in health care. Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year. 

    “UMH has been measuring employee engagement with Press Ganey for over 10 years. As a participant in the survey process, the hospital receives plentiful feedback from employees,” stated Tom Nordwick, CEO and administrator. 

    The feedback is used to identify concerns or issues which can then be addressed as opportunities to improve the employees’ work experience. The hospital systematically, by department and as an organization as a whole, prioritizes the top two opportunities and develops action plans to work with staff to accomplish positive change for each opportunity. 

    The organization strives to fulfill the mission of providing compassionate, high quality health care to patients. Hospital administration feels that can only be accomplished through engaged, happy employees.

    “High employee engagement has a direct correlation to positive customer, in our case patient, outcomes. As the CEO of UMH it is truly a privilege to work with a group of individuals who strive to provide the best care possible to our community,” Nordwick added.

    According to Nordwick, the award represents an important recognition from the industry’s leader in measuring, understanding, and improving the patient experience. 

    "We are proud to partner with Uvalde Memorial Hospital,” said Patrick T. Ryan, CEO of Press Ganey. “This award is a testament to the organization’s leadership in delivering of patient-centered care. By achieving and sustaining this level of excellence, UMH demonstrates their commitment to reducing patient suffering and advancing the overall quality of health care.”

    About Press Ganey 

    Press Ganey Holdings (NYSE: PGND) is a leading provider of patient experience measurement, performance analytics and strategic advisory solutions for health care organizations across the continuum of care. Celebrating 30 years of experience, Press Ganey is recognized as a pioneer and thought leader in patient experience measurement and performance improvement solutions. Our mission is to help health care organizations reduce patient suffering and improve clinical quality, safety and the patient experience. As of January 1, 2015, we served more than 22,000 health care facilities. For more information, visit www.pressganey.com.

    Dec 1, 2015 /

    Topic: In the Press

    Uvalde, TX, December 2015 – Uvalde Memorial Hospital (UMH) today announced it has been recognized by iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health (NOSORH) for overall excellence in Financial Strength, reflecting top quartile performance among all acute care hospitals ! in the nation. 

    “UMH’s leadership team and staff understand the importance of responsible financial stewardship and the necessity to provide quality patient care. It is only through diligence in managing our resources that we will be able to survive the changes coming forth in the delivery of health care,” stated Tom Nordwick, UMH Chief Executive Officer and Administrator. 

    The rankings have been designated by the Hospital Strength INDEX™, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of hospital performance. In partnership with NOSORH, iVantage Health Analytics has developed a data-driven program designed to identify excellence across a broad spectrum of indicators relevant to hospital performance and patient care. The Hospital Strength INDEX™ captures performance metrics for more than 4,000 acute care hospitals, including over 1,300 rural and Critical Access Hospitals. Leveraging data from public data sources, INDEX aggregates data from 66 individual metrics into three major categories and 9 pillars to derive a single strength overall rating for each facility. 

    “These top quartile performers should take great pride in this recognition. It showcases their commitment to continuous performance analysis and improvement. On this occasion of National Rural Health Day, it’s an honor to celebrate their achievement as they continue to serve their communities despite the many market, regulatory and financial pressures they face.” said Michael Topchik, senior vice president of iVantage Health Analytics.  

    About NOSORH 

    The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established in 1995 to assist State Offices of Rural Health in their efforts to improve access to, and the quality of, health care for America’s 61 million rural citizens. NOSORH enhances the capacity of SORHs to do this by supporting the development of state and community rural health leaders; creating and facilitating state, regional and national partnerships that foster information sharing and spur rural health-related programs/activities; and enhancing access to quality healthcare services in rural communities.  

    About iVantage Health Analytics

    iVantage is a leading business analytic and advisory services company a unique combination of technology, content, and expert advisory services accelerates decision making for the new healthcare. For more information please visit www.ivantagehealth.com. 

    For more details about iVantage Health Analytics or to schedule an interview, please call Amy Weickert, at 207-245-6769 or email aweickert@ivantagehealth.com. More information about the Hospital Strength INDEX™ can be found at www.iVantageHealth.com


    Five Star Service Award
    2019 Places to Work
    Computed Technology ACR
    Mammography ACR
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging ACR
    4 Star Rating Centers for Medicare
    Guardian of Excellence
    Patient Safety Excellence
    PG Pinnacle Award