Archive for June, 2011

Medicaid Announces Second Round of Budget Cuts

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The state’s Medicaid Agency announced another series of payment reductions to providers for medical services provided to patients.  This link will take you directly to the memo from the agency: I have provided it as we received it from the South Carolina Hospital Association.  Hospitals received a 3% cut beginning in April of 2011 and these additional changes will be implemented in July 2011.

The recession continues to impact state and local governments as well as all business and organizations providing services.  We continue to look for ways to reduce costs in the face of these payment reductions for the services provided to patients.  Please see the link for “Bright Ideas” on the McLeod Health Compass (Intranet) homepage in order to submit your additional suggestions for improvement.


Learning and Mentoring

Friday, June 17th, 2011

“I look back on the old Masters highlights and I watched some things that I’ve done, and I’ve learned from those experiences. It’s taken me time and years of seeing what’s worked well and what hasn’t.”
Phil Mickelson, American Golfer

As health care professionals at McLeod, we have responded to the mission of caring for people. For most of us, it is not a job, but a vocation and a calling. Part of our responsibility in providing the very best experience to our patients and their families is by also mentoring and teaching others to render excellence in medical treatment. Teaching new generations to carry the torch of compassion and fostering the commitment to excellence is supported by sharing the lessons learned in our daily work.

For the past four years, McLeod has hosted an internship for medical students from May through July, a concept developed by Dr. Alva Whitehead. This fellowship for rising second year medical students is funded by the McLeod Foundation. It has been used as both a learning tool for physicians in training as well as recruitment for the future by McLeod.

Currently, five medical students are spending their summer vacation at McLeod Regional Medical Center receiving an insider’s view of how a hospital works. This six-week internship, which ends in July, is often the first experience in a hospital for many of these students.

Dr. Bryon Frost in the Emergency Department demonstrates how to insert an airway tube to the medical students visiting McLeod this summer.

Members of the 2011 McLeod Medical Student Fellowship are:
Abigail Case, USC School of Medicine
David Giovannini, USC School of Medicine
Ashley Greeson, USC School of Medicine
Roopa Varadarjan, Medical University of South Carolina
Brian Williams, USC School of Medicine

The internship includes rotations through the Family Medicine Residency Program, Rapid Improvement Events, a two-week Surgery segment with Dr. Michael Rose, and visits to different areas in the hospital such as the Emergency Department, the Lab, Radiology, Critical Care Units, and Radiation Oncology. The students also round with physicians, administrators, hospitalists and nursing directors and attend meetings of the Cancer Conference Board, IRB, and Quality and Safety during their fellowship.

Summer Medical Student David Giovannini (center) observes Dr. Al Gilpin during surgery.

Thanks to all our teams who have supported this time of instruction and interaction. Good luck to these students as they continue on their educational journey.


Mercy In Me Free Medical Clinic

Friday, June 10th, 2011

On Monday, I was given the opportunity to speak at the Rotary Club in Cheraw, South Carolina.  Rotary is a service oriented group of community leaders.  McLeod Board Member Crawford Moore called me with the invitation to speak about McLeod Health. 

Prior to the Rotary meeting on Monday, Crawford wanted to show me the work of local citizens at the Mercy In Me Free Medical Clinic. I met Dr. Gabe Simpson who volunteers in the clinic when he is not working in the emergency room of the local hospital. At Mercy In Me Clinic, I also met with Kappie Griggs, RN and John Goodwin, who also volunteer their time and expertise for the clinic, which is staffed and supported by all volunteers. I was impressed with the spirit of caring I observed in those who volunteer to help others and serve the special needs in the clinic.

The Mercy In Me Free Medical clinic was established to offer relief to those who find themselves without heath insurance. By providing screening, medications, and a heathy dose of God’s love and compassion, Mercy In Me Free Medical Clinic will provide free, quality health care to the uninsured, while protecting each patient’s dignity and self-respect.

Click on this link to see the safety net service being provided to people in Cheraw,

N.B. Baroody Lecture Series

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

A special McLeod Cardiology program will be held on Tuesday, June 7, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the McLeod Medical Plaza Auditorium, led and moderated by Dr. Conyers O’Bryan.  The  medical lectures will honor the late Dr. N.B. Baroody.

The evening program features a presentation by Michael L. Craig,, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Congestive Heart Failure and the Transplantation Division of Cardiology, at the Medical University of South Carolina. His topic, Refractory Congestive Heart Failure, targets the program objectives that participants should be able to successfully identify arrhythmias; institute a proper program from the anticoagulation aspect, as well as complete medical care; and understand pharmacologic instrumentation treatment of congestive heart failure, including the evaluation and etiology.

Also on the program are Physicians on the Medical Staff of McLeod Regional Medical Center.  Rajesh Malik, M.D., an Electrophysiologist with Pee Dee Cardiology Associates will focus on Atrial Fibrillation, and Ian D. Smith, M.D., an Interventional Cardiologist with Advanced Cardiology Consultants will present Successful Anticoagulation and Current Data. CME credit will be provided for this McLeod Health activity.

The late Dr. N.B. Baroody, Jr.

The event title honors Dr. N. B. Baroody, Jr. (1924-2010), a cardiologist and internal medicine physician who cared for patients for 55 years. He served on the McLeod Medical Staff in private practice during that time and later as a preceptor and physician with the McLeod Family Medicine Center from 1989 to 2010, providing leadership and educational support as a part of the teaching faculty for the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program.  Dr. Baroody’s influence on residents, physicians, and hospital staff serves as a lasting legacy to the community.  

A co-founder of Mercy Medicine Clinic, Dr. Baroody is remembered as a skilled and compassionate caregiver, a dedicated medical missionary, and an experienced and gifted photographer, who published two books of artwork and spiritual reflections: In Search of His Image, a Photographic Journey in 2007, and The Unexpected Visitor in 2010. He was a great mentor and friend, explained Dr. O’Bryan.

Dr. Conyers O'Bryan, Jr.

I want to thank Dr. O’Bryan for his leadership in facilitating this program, as well as recognize his many years of dedication to the medical profession, medical education and commitment to excellence in patient care.  We also appreciate Drs. Craig, Malik and Smith for participating in the program.  The lecture series is open to the Medical Staff and interested clinicians.

Rob Colones

Broadcast to Benefit McLeod Children’s Hospital

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

McLeod Children’s Hospital is one of 170 children’s hospitals in North America that comprise the ‘Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ (CMNH), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for its members.  Each year, these non-profit hospitals treat more than 17 million children afflicted with disease, injuries and birth defects of every kind by providing the finest in medical care, life-saving research and preventative education.

At McLeod in 2010, more than 22,700 children received much needed care from McLeod Children’s Hospital either as an inpatient, outpatient or rehabilitation patient.

This year marks the 24th annual McLeod ‘Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Broadcast’, which celebrates the successes of year round fund-raising and friend-raising for children receiving care as part of the McLeod Children’s Hospital.  These victories are made possible by families who give love and hope, McLeod physicians, nurses and ancillary staff who provide excellent care and treatment, and donors at every level who make charity care and vital equipment purchases possible.

WBTW News 13 will broadcast live from the McLeod Children’s Hospital Child Life Activity Center on Saturday, June 4, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. We are grateful for WBTW’s support of this important effort for children.  The broadcast serves to recognize the support of local groups and organizations as well as 75 national corporate sponsors who work year round for the children served at McLeod Children’s Hospital. One hundred percent of the money raised during the broadcast also remains at the McLeod Children’s Hospital to treat children in this region.

Four McLeod Children have also been selected to represent the amazing spirit of many that is so evident in the children who overcome physical and emotional challenges — at times greater than many adults ever face. This year the children representing many include:

Two-year-old twin girls Sophia and Isabella Topalian of Florence. While nearly 150,000 sets of twins are born each year, less than one percent of them are monoamniotic twins, like the Topalian girls. Monoamniotic twins share one amniotic sack. This situation places the babies at high risk for their umbilical cords to become entangled which could result in cord compression and possible demise. Sophia and Isabella’s mother, Kim Topalian, spent 53 days in the Antepartum Unit at McLeod so that physicians could monitor her pregnancy. Born at just 32 weeks, the twins spent almost two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) under the supervision of McLeod Neonatologists, including Dr. Steve Bridges.

Five-year-old Ainsley Jordan of Myrtle Beach. Less than one year ago during a routine doctor’s visit, Ainsley’s elevated blood sugar levels resulted in her pediatrician immediately sending Ainsley and her family to the McLeod Children’s Hospital for hospitalization. Ainsley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes by Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Pamela Clark of McLeod Pediatric Subspecialists. Dr. Clark instantly developed a relationship with Ainsley and her parents, Christina and Steve Jordan, to help the entire family cope with this condition Ainsley will have during her life. Today, Ainsley and her parents are able to manage her disease on a daily basis through blood sugar checks, insulin shots, and a balanced diet.

Ten-year-old Triston “Kane” Davis of Cheraw. On a Monday morning back in February, Kane woke up covered in a rash of blisters from head to toe similar to third degree burns. His pediatrician diagnosed him with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, likely the result of an allergic reaction he was experiencing to a sulfa antibiotic he had been prescribed four days earlier for an infection. Kane’s doctor instructed his mother, Mandy, to take Kane to the McLeod Children’s Hospital immediately. Upon admission, a team of physicians including Dr. Ramesh Bharadwaj, Dr. Judith Ugale, Dr. Carl Chelen and Dr. Isam Zakhour confirmed Kane’s diagnosis. He was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where he spent the next few weeks receiving more acute care to decrease the duration of his severe, painful symptoms.

These children represent so many other young people and families who are treated at the McLeod Children’s Hospital every year. Each child and their family needed the special care and comfort found only in a hospital just for them. Thanks to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, McLeod Children’s Hospital, and the generous support of the community and McLeod Health employees, these youngsters have beat the odds.

Thanks for all you do in helping to make these challenges into victories.


Donations to McLeod Children’s Hospital can be made during the CMNH Celebration Broadcast on WBTW News 13 by calling 777-GIVE (4483) or toll free at 1-866-668-4862 or by visiting the McLeod Foundation website at and clicking on the CMNH icon for an online submission.