Archive for March, 2011

Three Special Honors for Service to Others

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

This month has provided us with a chance to honor our McLeod Health professionals who have been recognized for their exceptional professional service and skills. I had the chance to see Dr. Ed Behling receive the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Physician of the Year Award at the McLeod Regional Medical Center Medical Staff March meeting.

Edward Behling, M.D., of Medical Plaza Family Medicine has been awarded the annual South Carolina Physician Award for Outstanding Service by the state DHEC.

“Dr. Behling has partnered with DHEC since early in his medical career when he began seeing patients referred to him by the health department,” said DHEC Commissioner Earl Hunter. “More recently, his practice was the first in the area to work with us to increase the region’s level of pandemic flu preparedness.

According to Hunter, Medical Plaza Family Medicine was an early provider of the H1N1 vaccine and treated many patients during the response.

“Dr. Behling’s interest in public health and his influence on his staff and colleagues regarding its importance is evident in how quickly his practice responds to public health issues like disease outbreaks,” Hunter said. “During a recent outbreak of whooping cough that involved several Florence schools, he handled a large number of the cases. And throughout that response, his ongoing communication with DHEC and the community helped to lessen the impact and spread of this disease.”

Hunter said the criteria for the award include length of service, personal qualities, and accomplishments or activities that are consistent with outstanding service by a physician.

Dr. Behling is a board certified family medicine physician, and cares for patients at Medical Plaza Family Medicine, a McLeod Physician Associates practice. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed a family medicine residency at McLeod Regional Medical Center.

I would also like to note that Anita Logan of the McLeod Diabetes Center was recognized as the Certified Diabetes Educator of the Year by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Anita was presented with the DHEC Award on Saturday, March 12 at the 9th Annual Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Winter Symposium in Myrtle Beach.

The award recognizes a certified diabetes educator who has made a special contribution to diabetes education through dedication and innovation in the daily practice of patient care. Anita is a registered dietician and CDE at McLeod Diabetes center where she has worked since its opening in 1999.

“Anita is a valued employee and truly deserves recognition for her dedication and commitment to improving the health of the diabetes population in the Pee Dee Region of our State,” says Marilyn Henderson, Coordinator of the McLeod Diabetes Center. “She is a true diabetes champion and her clients often tell us how much they enjoy their visits with her.” 

The McLeod Diabetes Center has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association and the Diabetes Initiative of South Carolina for meeting national and state standards of diabetes education. It is also the only accredited center in the Pee Dee Region recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. The Diabetes Center offers an extensive range of patient services including outpatient diabetes self-management education, individual and group education classes, free support groups, and coordination with Women’s Health Services. The staff includes three Certified Diabetes Educators and one who is Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management.

Another tribute to excellence in the health care profession was extended to Chireen Hyler, a McLeod nurse and educator.

Chireen was recently awarded the Outstanding Educator of the Year honor by the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC), during the SC AHEC Annual Meeting.

“It is with great pride and gratitude that Chireen Hyler is awarded this honor to recognize her efforts in providing quality education to our state,” said Dr. David R. Garr, Executive Director of SC AHEC.

Chireen serves as a crew chief for the McLeod HeartReach Critical Care Transport Team. She concurrently serves as a faculty member for the Nursing Program at Francis Marion University and as a Continuing Education Instructor for Pee Dee AHEC and the three other regional AHEC Centers throughout the state. Chireen has educated thousands of students in some manner during her 25-year nursing career.

She was nominated by the Pee Dee AHEC staff who received several letters of support from throughout the Pee Dee Region. These letters stemmed from a myriad of healthcare professionals who have been impacted by Hyler’s educational endeavors.

Chris Davis,  Emergency Services Nurse Manager with Williamsburg Regional Hospital, stated in his letter, “Chireen is one of the best nurses, educators, and role models available. She has become my friend, my confidant, my ‘go-to’ person and my mentor.”

Ann Flynn, a registered nurse with Conway Hospital, added, “Chireen is very knowledgeable and can always share with her audience real situations that they can apply in their everyday practice. She uses creative ways to help her students remember the order of assessments, medications, etc. This is demonstrated by the competency achieved by students following her classes not just in results of a post-test, but in their daily practices.”

We want to thank these three medical professional for the daily work they do on behalf of patients, families and staff. It is an honor for them to be recognized by these organizations for their outstanding service to others. They are models of professional excellence


Extending Our Gratitude to a Great Leader

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The end of this week will mark a bittersweet milestone for one of our faithful and discerning physician leaders, as well as for our organization.

Dr. Charles M. Jordan retires from his service to McLeod Health on March 31, 2011. He leaves a legacy of  physician engagement, wisdom and a tireless work ethic. He is a champion for children and challenges and has advocated for healthy lifestyles in his more than three decades of medical leadership to both McLeod and the community.

A graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Jordan completed a residency at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia. Moving to Florence with his family in 1977, Dr. Jordan built a career in pediatrics and management, guided by his compassion for others.

Dr. Jordan, in one of his numerous appearances in the McLeod Magazine over the years, related this in a story that reflects his tenderness in the treatment of patients. 

    “I think the main thing I try to be is a friend to the children I see. If I am their friend, they know they can be open with me and trust me with their care.” 
     A humorous story Dr. Jordan remembers concerns a little boy he set up to go to Charleston for a growth hormone evaluation and treatment. As they were getting ready to leave, the child turned to his mother and said, “Don’t you think we ought to go out and buy some new clothes” fearing his growth would take place immediately. “This story is typical of a child’s innocence, but aside from the humor, seeing families through a crisis is a major part of what we do.”
     His best prescription for children? “Love them.”
     McLeod Magazine 1990

Dr. Jordan, the husband of the late Susan Hope Jordan, is the father of two sons, a daughter and six grandchildren. In addition to his devotion to his family, he provided pediatric care to children in Florence for 28 years, as a beloved partner in the practice of Florence Pediatrics. During his career at McLeod, Dr. Jordan was instrumental in developing the McLeod Children’s Hospital as well as the McLeod Health & Fitness Center, recruiting skilled physicians to the region and providing critical insights both clinically and operationally.

As a leader, Dr. Jordan has served as Medical Director of the McLeod Children’s Hospital from 1988 to 1996, Chief of Staff for McLeod Regional Medical Center from 1989 to 1991, and Medical Director of the McLeod Health & Fitness Center from 1996 to 1998. In addition, Dr. Jordan served as Senior Vice President of McLeod Physician Associates (MPA) from 1998 to 2009 as well as Medical Director of MPA from 2009 to the present.

We have all been enriched by the opportunity to work with Dr. Jordan and will continue to seek his counsel if the needs arise as our Medical programs grow to meet the needs of our community and the patients we serve. His vision for improving the health of our community will continue to guide us well into the future.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Jordan for his many years of service. We extend our gratitude and best wishes to him in his retirement.



A Call from State Government

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Please find the attached letter from Medicaid notifying McLeod and other health care providers that payments for medical services will be cut by 3 percent.  We must find ways to reduce our costs by 3 percent.

This is the link to the S.C. Medicaid Bulletin sent to providers:

Many of the ideas you submitted last year in Annual Training have helped to reduce costs as our local and national economy experiences a recession.  Now we need to find additional ways to reduce our costs by 3 percent.  It is a difficult task as we grow and make plans for the future. Sometimes ‘the rules’ change due to other circumstances.

We will set-up teams at each hospital – McLeod Regional Medical Center, McLeod Dillon, McLeod Darlington – and McLeod Physicians Associates to develop plans for reducing our cost.

McLeod employees who have ideas may submit them through the Bright Idea icon on the McLeod Compass web home page under the Service Excellence icon or click here for the link, Simply type in your thoughts and they will be processed appropriately. 

Let’s work together to reduce the cost of care for patients.



Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

On Friday we received a call from a local news organization with questions about an article  which appeared in The State  Newspaper. (The link and news story appears below).  They wanted our thoughts about the article, the proposed Medicaid cuts to all health care providers and how it would affect jobs in our region. Many people do not understand who is covered by Medicaid. For more information, see the blog from December 20, 2010, for the YouTube clip on the “Faces of Medicaid.”

This was our response as we communicate to others about ongoing issues and proposed changes to Medicaid provider payments. While this is a moving, ever changing issue, below is our view to date:

A substantial cut in reimbursements will affect services and the positions which support those services.

At McLeod, we have continued to provide and grow essential services to care for patients in our region with a commitment to quality and operational efficiency. These treatments and programs address significant disease processes prevalent in our state’s population – - including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature births.  Some of these critical patient care services are located only at McLeod for the people living in the Northeastern region of South Carolina.

The financial shortfalls anticipated with Medicaid reductions, due to the state’s fiscal budget, will effect the delivery of  health care services.  We believe this will ultimately result in the elimination of programs, community outreach funding and possibly even jobs.  Hospitals are already paid below actual cost by Medicaid for patient care services.  The proposed cut to providers, in the 10 to 15% range, will negatively impact the availability and local access to needed services in our community.  As one of the largest employers in Florence County, the potential reduction in jobs and programs will have an impact on the local economy as well, both long term and short term, during these already challenging times.

We will continue to work with the Medicaid Program to do our part.  However, we do not believe that it is wise to include physicians in these cuts.  This would further complicate problems of access to care for patients.  This would be especially true in rural parts of the state, where there is an even greater shortage of physicians.  Hospitals have also offered to increase their contribution to the state’s general fund to offset shortages.  This additional contribution for Medicaid would allow the state to receive a three to one match, benefiting patients and reducing the state’s financial obligation.

Rob Colones
President and CEO
McLeod Health