Mar 1, 2017 /
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.
Oct 25, 2016 /
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
- COMMUNITY HEALTH DEVELOPMENT, INC. 200 Evans St, Uvalde, Texas (830) 278-7105
- SABINAL HEALTH CLINIC 517 N. Center St., Sabinal, Texas (830) 988-2582
- PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS Call your physician's office.
Jan 20, 2016 /
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 /
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 /
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Hospital Strength INDEX™ can be found at www.iVantageHealth.com
Nov 6, 2015 /
Nadia Gonzales, member of Girl Scout Troop 4199, presented Uvalde Memorial Hospital nursing directors with over 300 "Bags of Smiles" this week to give to children who are hospitalized. Nadia created the goodie bags as a part of her Girl Scout’s Silver Award project. Nadia posted her idea for the project on Facebook and in response received an outpouring of donations for the bags. Family and friends from across Texas and into Louisiana sent monetary donations and supplies totaling nearly $600. Nadia then dedicated more than 50 hours of her time to put the bags together including a personal note, a coloring book, and crayons in each. The bags will be dispersed to pediatric patients seen in the emergency room, operating room, and medical/surgical unit.
Pictured left to right: Julia Rodriguez, RN, Emergency Room director; Nadia Gonzales; Alison Peppler, RN, Med/Surg Director; Ann Martinez, RN, Surgery Director; Adam Apolinar, Chief Nursing Office
Nov 2, 2015 /
At their monthly meeting held on Monday, November 2, the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary completed their annual orientation and safety training conducted by Charla Carter, volunteer coordinator. Carter reviewed general safety practices, infection control processes, the various emergency codes used within the hospital, and protocols for fire safety. The group was also reviewed practices related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Following the training, Carter thanked the group for their donation of wheel chairs to the hospital. In August, the Auxiliary gifted UMH with 5 new wheel chairs valued at $2,700. ! In other business, Adam Apoinar, new Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital introduced himself to the group. Apolinar share his extensive background in health care and briefed the Auxiliary on current projects within the nursing departments. ! Barbara Hogan read minutes from October’s meeting; Rosie Diaz shared the treasurer’s report; Shirley Grigg gave the gift shop report; and Ann Reagan shared the correspondence report. Sherley Wentz reported an update on hospital beautification and the scholarship committee. ! Sissy Parham shared the membership report and introduced new members Lee Lugo and Graciela Ochoa. ! President Eddie McKinney announced the group’s annual Christmas Tea would be Thursday, December 10 at 9am in front of the Gift Shop. He also reminded the group that the Gulf Coast Jewelry Show would be Monday, November 16 in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room.
Karla Radicke updated the group on upcoming hospital events including Hospice Open House, Understanding Your Medicare Options courses on November 10 and 19, Veterans Day flag ceremony on November 11, Asthma education courses on November 14 and 18, Childbirth Class on November 14, and a Babysitter’s Training Course on November 24.
The Auxiliary will meet again on Monday, December 7, at 10a.m. in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the UMH Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, director of volunteer services, at 830-278-6251 ext. 1435.
Aug 21, 2015 /
130 attendees representing the agencies and employees being recognized attended the affair at the beautiful Pavilion Banquet Hall. “The purpose of this annual event is for the staff of AirLIFE to recognize individuals and agencies within our service area that demonstrate excellence in the provision of emergency healthcare, patient advocacy, and leadership in healthcare system development”stated AirLIFE president and CEO Shawn Salter. All of those recognized were chosen by AirLIFE Flight Nurses, Flight Paramedics, and Flight Communicators based on interactions they had experienced with hospitals, EMS agencies and individuals in Emergency Medicine during the previous year.
Those recognized during the event were:
Rural Healthcare Facility: Uvalde Memorial Hospital and Kimble Hospital
Urban Healthcare Facility: University Hospital and San Antonio Military Medical Center
Urban/Suburban EMS: Gonzales Co. EMS
Rural EMS: Canyon Lake Fire/EMS
Hospital Person of the Year: Lillian Liao, MD, Trauma Surgeon, University Hospital
EMS Person of the Year: Michael Haynie, EMT-Paramedic, Community EMS, Hondo
Telecommunicator of the Year: Donna Breeding, Comal County Sheriff's Office
President’s Award: Richard Rodriguez, University Health System
Steve Hannemann, Texas Department of State Health Services
“I believe that it is important to be recognized by your peers, and these are the people that our flight crews interact with daily,”added Mr. Salter. “Members of the healthcare team never appreciate the gravity of their work, but they make a difference in someone’s life every day”.
In recognizing the individuals with the President’s Award, Mr. Salter stated “These individuals made a positive impact to the AirLIFE organization and our mission throughout the years. Along with this, their dedication to the healthcare of people throughout our service area has benefited thousands in our community.”
Serving the community since 1991, AirLIFE is the only Texas owned nonprofit air medical service in Southwest Texas and provides emergency air transport to more than 50 counties within a 150-mile radius of the San Antonio. AirLIFE is jointly owned by Baptist Health System and University Health System. www.txairlife.com
Aug 20, 2015 /
“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Apolinar. He was selected by our team for his background and experience in healthcare,” stated chief executive officer and hospital administrator Tom Nordwick, FACHE.
Apolinar has nearly thirty years of experience in the healthcare field. His background most recently includes serving as the chief clinical officer for Victory Medical Center, a privately owned surgical hospital, at both their Landmark and Southcross locations in San Antonio. Other experience includes 12 years as a district sales manager for a major pharmaceutical sales company and director and manager level experience with Baptist Health System in San Antonio.
“I feel Mr. Apolinar’s breadth of experience in healthcare will make him a good addition to lead our clinical team ,” stated Nordwick.
His education includes a Master’s in Health Administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to work at this facility and hope to bring some new ideas and new thought processes with me to better serve our patients and the community,” Apolinar stated.
“My wife and I are very eager to become part of the community and explore the grandeur that Uvalde and the surrounding areas have to offer,” Apolinar added.
Apolinar will replace Jeanne Leake who served as chief nursing officer from 2012 to June 2015.
Aug 14, 2015 /
Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary recently announced that Victoria Placenia and Laura Reyes are the recipients of the 2015 nursing scholarships.
Placenia and Reyes each received $3,500 to complete their education in the nursing field.
Placenia is enrolled in the registered nursing program at Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde and is expected to graduate in May 2016.
Reyes is enrolled in the registered nursing program at Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio and is expected to graduate in May of 2016.
“The auxiliary works very hard to raise funds to provide scholarships to aspiring nurses, and we greatly appreciate their efforts. Sherley Wentz does a wonderful job of chairing the auxiliary’s scholarship committee,” said Charla Carter, human resources officer and volunteer services at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
Recipients were required to complete an application that detailed educational accomplishments as well as future educational and professional goals; demonstrated financial need; and outlined a personal commitment to serving the community.
Applicants must be enrolled in college programs to become an RN or LVN and must also be a resident of Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s service region, which includes Uvalde, Edwards, Kinney, Real and Zavala counties.
The annual scholarship program is made possible through special fundraising initiatives by the auxiliary.
For more information, contact Charla Carter at 830-278-6251, ext. 1435, or visit www.umhtx.org.
Jun 2, 2015 /
Topic: In the Press
Uvalde Memorial Hospital has been chosen to receive an Excellence in Patient Care award given by outcomes firm Studer Group®. The organization will receive the award at Studer Group’s 13th annual What’s Right in Health Care® conference in August for their exemplary “Discharge Information” results on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient survey.
The Excellence in Patient Care award is given to select organizations that are coached by Studer Group based on various categories. To be eligible for an award, an organization must demonstrate outstanding performance in patient care. Uvalde Memorial Hospital is being recognized for achieving the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 90th percentile or higher for their “Discharge Information” HCAHPS composite score for patients discharged between quarter 1 through quarter 4 of 2014.
The “Discharge Information” score measures combined patient responses to 2 questions in the HCAHPS survey:
- During your hospital stay did doctors, nurses or other hospital staff talk with you about whether you would have the help you needed when you left the hospital?
- During your hospital stay did you get information in writing about what symptoms or health problems to look out for after you left the hospital?
UMH has worked diligently over the past 18-24 months on unique efforts to address talking to patients about help after discharge and providing written discharge instructions. The hospital has implemented a “green folder system,” a process through which all staff encourage and assist patients in keeping information received during their stay, and upon discharge, in a single location. The green folder is reviewed throughout a patient’s stay and again upon discharge.
# # #
About Studer Group®, a Huron Healthcare solution:
A recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Studer Group is an outcomes-based healthcare performance improvement firm that works with healthcare organizations in the United States, Canada, and beyond, teaching them how to achieve, sustain, and accelerate exceptional clinical, operational, and financial results. Working together, we help to get the foundation right so organizations can build a sustainable culture that promotes accountability, fosters innovation, and consistently delivers a great patient experience and the best quality outcomes over time. To learn more about Studer Group, a Huron Healthcare solution, visit studergroup.com.
Feb 16, 2015 /
“To be able to offer big city medicine in a small town hospital means so much to me,” said Andrzej Stypko, M.D. Dr. Stypko’s comment came just after an antibiotic called Orbactiv was given on Uvalde Memorial Hospital Wound Care Center patient Gloria Iruegas. What makes this antibiotic and wound care treatment stand out compared to the countless other wounds Dr. Stypko and his team are a part of healing on a daily basis? This treatment is new. So new, in fact, that Gloria is only the 110th patient in the nation to receive it and the very first patient in all of south-central Texas. Orbactiv is an antibiotic infused into a patient intravenously (through an IV) to treat acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) caused by certain susceptible bacteria.
The drug provides a safer and more efficient alternative to previous treatment options. In the past a patient with the same diagnosis required two and a half hour infusion, daily for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the treatment plan. Along with the daily infusions, it was necessary to perform blood draws every 3 days, for the duration of treatment, to monitor the patient’s blood for potential toxic effects.
Orbactiv, on the other hand, is a one time, three hour infusion that blocks infection for a 21 day span. It comes with no concerns about harmful toxins to the patient.
“This really is just another example that destroys any stereotype that a person has limited access to first-class healthcare in a rural area,” said Stypko, M.D.
“In fact, it ends up that a patient is potentially better off because not only do they have access, but they also the opportunity to have a personal experience. We’re not a mill. We have the same urban modalities, actually better in this case, and each patient truly means something,” added the doctor.
Iruegas is pleased to be a part of the late-breaking treatment.
“I’m just so thankful. From my entrance into the hospital to my experience at the Wound Care Center, everyone has been so friendly and professional. They make it easier to be a patient,” Iruegas said of her experience.
Orbactiv was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is designated as a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) because it is an antibacterial or antifungal human drug intended to treat a serious or life-threatening infection. As part of its QIDP designation, Orbactiv was given priority review with the FDA, which provides an expedited review of the drug’s application. Orbactiv’s safety and efficacy were evaluated in two clinical trials with a total of 1,987 adults.
“The approval of several new antibacterial drugs [in 2014] demonstrates that we are making progress in increasing the availability of treatment options for patients and physicians,” said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release by the FDA in August immediately following Orbactiv’s approval.
Feb 9, 2015 /
Topic: In the Press
At their monthly meeting held on Monday, February 2, the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary heard a brief presentation, introduced by Pat McFarland, from Uvalde Memorial Hospital cardiopulmonary director David Green. Green briefed the group on the general happenings of his department and provided information on the new, top of the line Life Support Systems that the department is in the process of acquiring. Green also reminded the group that the cardiopulmonary department is now staffed 24/7 and their operations are 98% electronic. David Green talked about his 15 years of experience in the Airforce, including air life rescue operations and general cardiology, and how that experience has helped him implement efficient processes in hospital settings.
In other business, Jeanne Leake, chief nursing officer, discussed high patient satisfaction scores in the emergency room and outpatient surgery that were seen in the last quarter. Tom Nordwick, hospital administrator, informed the group about recruitment efforts that have been launched for internal medicine.
Nordwick also addressed praises received for the previous year’s positive bottom line by saying, “I’d love to take credit for it but the truth is the administrative team has done a fantastic job, historically, managing the hospital’s finances. Their diligent efforts certainly paid off.”
Eddie McKinney read the thought of the day; Cleo Lemon shared the treasurer’s report; Barbara Hogan read January’s meeting minutes; and Ann Regan gave the correspondence report. Shirley Grigg reported an update on gift shop happenings and Glenda Swink gave the scheduling report.
Sissy Parham shared the membership report and those present unanimously voted for 5 past members to be moved to honorary and life membership status in accordance with their bylaws. New life-members are Evelyn Hutchinson who joined the Auxiliary in 1986 and worked 10,533 hours; Emma Jean Everrett who joined in 2001 and worked 3,712 hours; and Alda and Frank Carrasco. Mary Dirksen was recognized as a honorary-member with 1,681 hours since 2006. Parham also announced new members were Ann Flemming, Barbara Blair, and Pat Pena.
President Charles Lemon announced the group’s annual luncheon would be May 4 at 11:30am in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room.
The Auxiliary will meet again on Monday, March 2, at 10a.m. in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the UMH Auxiliary, please contact Charla Carter, director of volunteer services, at 830-278-6251 ext. 1435.
Feb 2, 2015 /
Topic: In the Press
UVALDE, TX – During the 60th Annual Texas Vital Statistics Conference, held December 11-13 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 2014 to qualify.
Uvalde Memorial was placed in the Winners category meeting 99% of each criterion. Only 34 other hospitals in the state fell into the winners category that requires a minimum of meeting 97% criterion and 19 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 13th 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, 2013 through September 30, 2014. !
PICTURE: L-R – Yolanda Valerio, Director of HIM; Grace Gonzales, HIM analyst; Norma Castro, birth certificate clerk; and Bennie Sanchez, clerk, display the state awards their department won for 2014.
Feb 2, 2015 /
Topic: Health & Wellness
UVALDE, TX – The Community Health Worker (CHW) program at Uvalde Memorial Hospital has been in full swing since early September and their impact is already evident.
Under the direction of program director Rose Garza, PhD, RN the four certified CHWs completed an eight week curriculum of 160 formalized training hours, successfully graduated from the program at the end of August, and are now acting as foot soldiers of healthcare. Each CHW promotes the health of their clients by establishing a trusting relationship that enables them to serve as a liaison between the client and the client’s healthcare services.
The four individuals, Anita Bass, Rosie Verdusco, Samuel Lara, and Lydia Canales, act as lay members of the community and work in association with the local health care systems to serve community members with whom they share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences.
The Community Health Worker is not a healthcare provider in any way but instead acts as client’s navigator, a mentor and coach, coordinator, and an advocate of a patient’s healthcare. Each of the four individuals have embarked on a journey to help patients become educated on their condition, understand their symptoms and treatment options, grasp prevention measures, and embrace the importance of health maintenance.
The CHW will follow-up with a client post hospital visit to discuss challenges, barriers, or other issues that may be financial, medical, or even regulatory related, as the client takes care of themselves at home. It is also a CHWs responsibility to work to ensure the patient attends follow up appointments and follows physician instructions. A CHW is even likely present at follow up visits to assist the patient with asking the doctor questions, ensuring the patient gives the doctor accurate information on the status of their condition, and reviews key points made by the doctor with the client post visit.
Since September the CHWs have provided daily support in the emergency room (ER) at Uvalde Memorial Hospital. The CHWs role in the ER is to provide informal counseling and health education to patients; most especially on chronic diseases such as diabetes. Each CHW works very closely with the hospital’s emergency room clinicians, financial counselors, and social services department to ensure the client understands the care they are receiving and has access to needed resources. The CHW also works very closely with ER staff to identify patients at risk for readmission. Once a patient is identified as a readmission risk (typically an individual with a chronic disease) the CHW works with the client to educate them on treatment and maintenance of their disease to decrease the likelihood the client would need to return to the hospital.
In addition to their role in the ER, the hospital’s CHW team has also played a large role in the transition of care of patients. Whether a patient is leaving the hospital to go home or to another care setting such as a nursing facility, assisted living facility, home health care, or other, their successful transition is important. CHWs assist the professional transition of care team which includes registered nurses, social services, utilization review, case managers, and others by providing support, advocacy, motivational intervention, resource coordination, and enhanced patient self-management to ensure the patient’s discharge from the hospital is successful.
Jan 30, 2015 /
Topic: In the Press
Uvalde Memorial Hospital is recognized as ONE OF 100 SAFECARE Hospitals in Healthcare Quality ACHIEVING THE SAFECARE Group® 2014 100 SAFECARE HOSPITALS® under 100 beds for OVERALL BEST PROCESSES OF CARE, BEST OUTCOMES OF CARE, AND BEST EFFICACY OF CARE
Uvalde Memorial Hospital has received the 2014 100 SafeCare Hospitals® for achieving the best overall performance among 3,500 acute care, nonfederal hospitals. This distinction uniquely identifies the country’s best healthcare institutions based on robust, evidence-based criteria of the Affordable Care Act.
The SafeCare Group analyzed hospitals for the overall lowest risk-standardized 30- Day Mortality rates, lowest 30-Day Readmissions, lowest Complications Rates in Medical and Surgical Care, lowest in-hospital Medical and Surgical Infections, highest Medical and Surgical Processes of Care measures and highest Patient Satisfaction scores.
Only the 100 hospitals under 100 beds with the highest scores made the 100 SafeCare Hospitals® Under 100 Beds list. If all U.S. hospitals attained the 100 SafeCare Hospitals® level, more than 400,000 hospital deaths and close to 5.1 million preventable complications would have been prevented.
“We believe that a listing of outstanding hospitals in the areas of Hospital Value Based Program (HVBP), Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program (HACRP) would promote strong incentives to improve care, treatments, and services,” says Dr. Yisrael Safeek, MD, MBA, Founder and Chairman of The SafeCare Group®.
About 100 SafeCare Hospitals®
To produce a meaningful ranking of US hospitals, The SafeCare Group® looked to the Affordable Care Act for guidance of an evidence-based framework for the 100 SafeCare Hospitals® rankings. The medical and legal experts who designed, developed, and implemented the Affordable Care Act believed that a listing of outperforming hospitals in the areas of Hospital Value Based Program (HVBP), Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), and Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program (HACRP) would promote strong incentives to improve care. The SafeCare Group adopted this framework for the 100 SafeCare Hospitals® methodology and created three criteria domains – “Processes of Care”, “Outcomes of Care”, and “Efficacy of Care”. As a result, the 100 SafeCare Hospitals® utilized a methodology that is firmly rooted and grounded on nationally recognized, evidence-based metrics and data.
About the SafeCare Group
The SafeCare Group® (www.safecaregroup.com) was founded in 2010 to help hospitals excel in the areas of Patient Safety, Quality, and Efficiency through best-in-class PQE software, high quality people, and value-added services. The SafeCare Group created and published the CAUTI Bundle (used internationally), and the “I AM FOR SAFETY” 12-point Surgical Checklist as required by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as several checklists to avoid hospital falls and decubitus ulcers. The SafeCare Group suite of software help hospitals improve HVBP, HRRP, and HACRP, and keep hospitals compliant with regulatory standards. The SafeCare Group published its first 100 SafeCare Hospitals® listing with the 2013 100 SafeCare Hospitals® to recognize hospitals that excel in evidence based areas that are required under the Affordable Care Act.
Uvalde Family Practice Association and Uvalde Memorial Hospital are pleased to announce Chérie L. Hauptmeier, D.O. will be joining the practice and medical staff team in August 2014. Dr. Hauptmeier will enter Uvalde Family Practice Association with R. Steve Garza, M.D. and Richard B. Lutton, M.D. where she will practice family medicine and obstetrics. She will join L.P. Wegrzyn, M.D. who will be entering the practice in August as well. In addition, she will begin her time as a medical staff member with Erika B. Garcia, M.D. who will join Garner Field Family Medicine Practice in August alongside David C. White, M.D. and Kevin L. Uptergrove, M.D.
“I absolutely love the scope of family medicine, especially obstetrics, and am so excited to start serving the community of Uvalde,” stated Dr. Hauptmeier.
Born and raised primarily in South Dakota, Hauptmeier, D.O. graduated from the University of Northern Iowa and went on to receive her medical degree from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines, Iowa.
Although her family remains in South Dakota, Hauptmeier, D.O. brings with her a cat, named Zuzu, and the support of her family as she moves to Uvalde.
“My family has been my biggest support and I wouldn't be who I am if I hadn't had such a loving, supportive, incredible family to love me unconditionally through these long years of studying and training,” stated Hauptmeier, D.O.
Dr. Hauptmeier made her way to Texas to complete her medical residency at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Family Medicine in San Antonio. During her time at CHRISTUS she received honors of Chief Resident from 2013- 2014 and Physician of the Day at the Capitol in Austin in March of 2013. As a medical resident Hauptmeier has also taken part in a medical mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico and been involved in an obesity prevention group, diabetes education, and sports physicals.
"We feel fortunate to have found these two very special physicians to join our Uvalde medical community,” stated Dr. Rick Lutton regarding Hauptmeier and Wegrzyn. “They uphold our values and their enthusiasm is very exciting for our office. We look forward to a long-lasting relationship," Lutton added.
Dr. Hauptmeier has an array of research experience including studies involving nutritional and diabetic education, the growth of Leukemic cell lines, and more.
“Dr. Cherie Hauptmeier has received excellent training, and will provide the best possible care to our patients. Uvalde and the surrounding communities will soon learn what a wonderful person she is. It is with great pleasure that Dr. Lutton and I welcome her to our medical practice,” stated Dr. Steve Garza.
Dr. Hauptmeier’s impression of Uvalde has been nothing but positive and she is looking forward to the move. “I love it! The people here are so kind and welcoming. The town itself has historical character, which I really enjoy and appreciate. Uvalde actually reminds me very much of a small town I lived in for a few years as a child. Some of my richest memories are from living in a similar smaller community and I want the same for my family someday. I'm really looking forward to getting involved and meeting more people here,” Dr. Hauptmeier stated. “I'm looking forward to getting out of the city and into a quality place to live and grow,” she added.
Dr. Hauptmeier will begin seeing patients August 4 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 Uvalde Family Practice Association office at 830-278-4453.
Uvalde Family Practice Association and Uvalde Memorial Hospital are pleased to announce Lawrence P. (L.P.) Wegrzyn, M.D. will be joining the medical staff team in August 2014. Dr. Wegrzyn will enter Uvalde Family Practice Association with R. Steve Garza, M.D. and Richard B. Lutton, M.D. where he will practice family medicine and obstetrics. Dr. Wegrzyn will join Chérie L. Hauptmeier, D.O. who will be entering the same practice in August, as well and Erika B. Garcia, M.D. who will be joining Garner Field Family Medicine Practice in August.
"We are very excited to bring these two young doctors to Uvalde to join Dr. Garza and I,” stated Lutton, M.D. “We've fully renovated the office and are ready to welcome more young families to our practice."
“I love the city, the clinic, and hospital and am looking forward to getting established in time for dove and deer seasons,” stated Wegrzyn, M.D. regarding his move to Uvalde.
Born in Denver and raised in Broomfield, Colorado, Dr. Wegrzyn graduated from the University Of Colorado Denver School Of Medicine after completing his undergraduate degree at Regis University in Denver, Colorado.
With expertise in family medicine, from newborn to geriatric care, and women’s health and obstetrics, Wegrzyn completed his medical residency at CHRISTUS Spohn in Corpus Christi, Texas where he currently resides. Wegrzyn and his wife Alexandra Tarski Wegrzyn, formerly of Uvalde, and their two daughters, Olivia, age 4, and Charlotte, age 18 months, will all move to Uvalde.
“My wife was raised in Uvalde and I spent time with the practice during medical school. Doctors Lutton and Garza both trained at my residency program and we stayed in touch throughout my residency. I was excited at the chance to join the practice when I realized that such a great opportunity was available in Uvalde for me and my family,” stated Wegrzyn, M.D.
“Dr. Lutton and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Dr. Wegrzyn for more than three years. He completed a medical student externship in Family Medicine with us, and let it be known that he was interested in returning to join our practice after graduation from medical school and completing his residency. We are so pleased to welcome him and his family back to Uvalde,” stated Garza, M.D.
Dr. Wegrzyn will begin seeing patients August 4 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 Uvalde Family Practice Association office at 830-278-4453.
As construction continues at Uvalde Memorial Hospital to replace the facility’s chillers and generator, project progress means slight adjustments to day to day activity. Since the project began in April, the parking lot located directly off of Garner Field Road has been partially closed but patient and visitor parking remain unaffected. The project, however, will call for slightly bigger adjustments to operation with the temporary closure of the hospital’s helipad from June 20- July 7 and again on October 1. Air transport capabilities will still be available but helicopters will land in the east parking lot in the interim.
“Air transport services will be available regardless of construction but, as always, dependent on weather conditions. There will simply be a change in landing site,” said Julia Rodriguez, emergency department director.
Construction taking place directly next to the helipad will mean that during the scheduled dates, air transports will be relocated to the east side of the facility and helicopters will land on Kessler Boulevard, in between Uvalde Memorial Hospital and the Kate Marmion Regional Cancer Medical Center.
“Patients being airlifted will not be affected by the change. Patients will still be prepped for transport in the Emergency Department so, essentially, air transport patients will just exit through a different door to get to the helicopter,” explained Rodriguez.
The hospital’s security and plant operations team will work together to carry out the process of blocking off parking, assisting the helicopter with landing, and redirecting traffic during any air transport.
“While traffic will be temporarily blocked during these landings, AirLIFE will make every effort to keep onsite time to a minimum following their goals and guidelines, as usual. If for any reason an anticipated prolonged time on site occurs, the helicopter will land at UMH, unload their transport team, wait at the airport and return when the patient and crew are ready for transport,” Rodriguez said.
The temporary landing location was evaluated and selected by AirLIFE pilots, hospital security, and the hospital plan operations team as an ideal location. Hospital and AirLIFE officials do not anticipate any issue with number of transports during the temporary closer despite the July 4 holiday falling into the allotted time period. During the same period in 2013, 10 air transports took place hospital-wide.
At their monthly meeting held on Monday, June 2, the Uvalde Memorial Hospital Auxiliary heard a brief presentation, introduced by Pat McFarland, from Uvalde Memorial Hospital radiology director Ralph Gonzalez. Gonzalez reviewed details of the Women’s Imaging Center, opened in April, with the group. He started by explaining the project began over four years ago with community focus groups to learn about what patients truly wanted in an imaging center. Based on results from the focus group, the project proceeded and has led to the opening of a center that revolves around women. It provides a private, comfortable, and feminine centered environment for mammography, ultrasound, biopsy, and bone density studies. He then discussed the equipment housed in the Women’s Imaging Center and explained how it compares to other facilities.
“Our technology rivals just about anything you can find in San Antonio or other urban areas. We are fortunate to have a medical staff and executive team that values making the best imaging equipment on the market available locally for our patients,” Gonzalez stated.
Gonzalez shared that the new Philip’s MicroDose Digital Mammography unit produces up to 70 percent less radiation than the hospital’s previous analog unit and also less radiation than other digital units on the market. He explained that in addition to the quicker exam time, the unit it is said to provide a more comfortable exam. Clearer images are also a benefit of the new unit and result in the ability to potentially identify smaller lesions sooner. The Hologic Platinum Stereotactic Biopsy table was also highlighted. Biopsy procedures completed using this method and equipment are less invasive among other benefits.
Following the presentation, Pat McFarland and Sissy Parham presented members with bars for hours of service. Top honors went to Evelyn Hutchinson with 10, 500 hours. Charles Lemon received honors for 5,000 hours. Shirley Cummings, Pat McFarland, and Sherley Wentz hit the 3, 500 hour milestone. Cleo Lemon reached 3,000 hours. Mary Dirksen and Olivia Castillo received bars for 1,500 hours and Loretta Warren, Millie Verstuyft, and Janet Hines were recognized for 1,000 hours of service.
In other business, Jeanne Leake, chief nursing officer, discussed the hospital’s recent partnership for nutrition and environmental services with a management company, HHS, out of Austin, Texas. Leake also shared with the volunteers that hospital staff is completing the annual budgeting process.
Charles and Cleo Lemon discussed their attendance at the annual Texas Association of Healthcare Volunteers convention on May 19-21 in Galveston, Texas. Eddie McKinney read the thought of the day; Barbara Hogan read minutes from the previous meeting; Cleo Lemon gave the treasurer’s report; and the gift shop and information desk schedules were reviewed. Shirley Wentz gave the beautification report and discussed nursing scholarship applications. Applications are due June 30 and interested individuals can visit www.umhtx.org for additional information.
The Auxiliary will meet again on Monday, July 7, at 10a.m. in the Wrather Holmgreen Conference Room at Uvalde Memorial Hospital.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the UMH Auxiliary, please contact Rebecca Taylor, director of volunteer services, at 830-278-6251 ext. 1474.
After completing the Babysitter’s Training Course on June 9 at Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 17 area teens 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 Sara A. Balderas, Shelby Colvin, Kayla K. Curtis, Paris Davis, Olivia Evans, Sky Galvan, Thomas B. Garcia, Anna Hiebert, Brooke Kolacek, Hope Lopez, Lysset Medina, Ariana Perez, Tressa Reading, Bryanna Rodriguez, Reba Rodriguez, Jackson Taylor, and Ruben Zamora.
The next Babysitter’s Training course offered by the hospital will be held Wednesday, August 13 beginning at 8:30am in the Education Conference Room. There is a $30 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 course instructor Pauline Garcia at 830-278-6251 extension 1516.
Jun 17, 2014 /
Topic: In the Press
Uvalde Memorial Hospital has announced their decision to partner with Hospital Houskeeping Systems (HHS) and Culinary Nutrition Solutions (CNS), a division of HHS, to enhance the hospital’s current nutritional and environmental services departments with custom programs. The decision was made following board approval on April 22.
Based out of Austin, HHS has been providing support services in the health care industry for more than 39 years, offering customizable, packaged, or individual solutions to improve hospital operations for efficiency, cost, and a more positive patient experience. Their hospitality programs have a proven track record of directly impacting customer satisfaction scores: the average HHS partner improved their Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores by 7 percent in year one and 14.2 percent over four years. A leader in the industry, the company has extensive experience and has grown to provide environmental services for more than 275 healthcare communities nationwide. The HHS culinary and nutrition team was named a 2013 Top 50 Contract Management Company by Food Services Magazine.
In 2010, HHS expanded to include CNS, a division which provides locally-sourced and organic, high-quality food service options to hospital patients across the nation and was named a "company to watch" by Food Service Magazine. They serve dozens of hospitals across the nation that range in size and scope from rural critical access hospitals to urban, 500+ bed medical centers.
“We are pleased to be a part of this exciting transition,” said Ted Peters, Vice President of Operations at CNS. “On behalf of HHS, we look forward to a successful, long-term partnership.”
Head Chef and director Jason Leslie is joining Uvalde after serving as director at Baton Rouge General Hospital. Prior experience includes his role as the Banquet Chef at the Ritz Carlton in Boston, and Food Service Director at Southern Oaks Athletic Club, where he managed all food service operations and redesigned the menu and retail offerings to include a weekly wellness feature that improved patient satisfaction. Leslie is the recipient of a National Defense Service Medal and Air Force Training Ribbon and served as a Tactical Aircraft Maintainer for the United States Air Force in Texas. He enjoys hunting, fishing, playing tennis, and spending time with his family.
Over a six month time span the hospital’s environmental and nutritional services will undergo changes. A remodel of the kitchen will enable nutritional staff to work more effectively and efficiently. Food options will be expanded for patients and visitors to the Green Tree Café. Each patient within the hospital will be represented by a food ambassador from the nutritional department who serves as an advocate for the patient’s daily dietary needs.
The decision to partner with the specialty company was driven by the heightened focus on quality of patient care and HCAHPS scores initiated by the Affordable Care Act. The transition was also based on the desire to provide the highest cleanliness and infection control practices possible for environmental and nutritional services within the hospital.
HHS manages programs for healthcare facilities focused on one thing: total customer satisfaction. HHS’s intention is to focus efforts on improving outcomes and provide enhanced training and guidance by the highly skilled HHS management staff. Hospital staff within the environmental and nutritional departments will remain employed by Uvalde Memorial Hospital while management staff will be employed through Hospital Housekeeping Systems.
Jun 17, 2014 /
Topic: In the Press
Uvalde Memorial Hospital is pleased to unveil their new uHealth portal which will be available to all patients in June of 2014. This interactive web portal will empower patients and their families to take a more active role in their care by providing easy, secure access to their health information and online communication with hospital staff.
uHealth gives patients instant access to their health information, including laboratory and radiology reports, medications, allergies, demographic information, visit history, and more. In addition to handling their own care, parents and health care proxies with authorized consent will appreciate the ability to access the records of those individuals for whom they manage care.
uHealth allows patients to view their appointments online. A central appointment page displays their list of scheduled and pending appointments. Here, the patient can review appointment details. uHealth also saves patients time by allowing them to pre-register for appointments online and submit updates to their demographic and contact information prior to their visits.
Anyone interested in enrolling in uHealth should contact Uvalde Memorial Hospital at 830-278-6251 extension 1164 or visit www.umhtx.org. Uvalde Memorial Hospital encourages all patients to enroll in uHealth, as it presents a valuable opportunity for patients and their families to actively participate in their care, which contributes to better health.