Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Calendar of Events, Classes

Register by calling 540-316-3588 or visiting

Monday, March 5
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: 4 sessions; March 5, 12, 19, 26
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

American Red Cross Blood Drive
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, March 7
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: noon to 2 p.m.
Cost: $30 (includes lunch)
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, March 8
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: noon to 1:30 p.m.
Details: With Jorge Minera, M.D., family practice
Register: 540-316-3588

Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: With Kristin Williams, M.D., neurologist
Register: 540-316-3588

Look Good…Feel Better
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m.
Register: 540-667-2315

Diabetes Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6 to 7 p.m.
Details: “Diabetes and Skin Care” concerns with Julie Bailey, P.A.”
Register: 540-316-2652

Wednesday, March 14
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 15
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details: Weekend class
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, March 17
First Aid/CPR/AED (Adult/ Infant and Child)
American Heart Association
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $85
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, March 19
Massage for Couples
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $45 per couple
Register: 540-316-2640

Tuesday, March 20 and Wednesday, March 22
AARP Driver Safety Program
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Details: $12 members, $14 non-members

Wednesday, March 21
Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: With gastroenterologists Darren Baroni, M.D. and Jin Park, M.D.
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, March 24
Babysitter Training
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $40
Register: 540-316-3588

Unused Medication and Sharps Collection Day
Where: Fauquier Hospital Medical Office Building
When: 9 a.m. to noon
Details: Visit

Tuesday, March 27
Concussions: What You Need to Know
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: register at 540-316-3588

Wednesday, March 28
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gallup names healthiest U.S. states; Hawaii is first, West Virginia last

Which state is the healthiest? Hawaiians have the highest well-being in the nation, while West Virginians have the lowest, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2011, which analyzed physical and emotional health.

For the rankings, Gallup in 2011 conducted 350 surveys of 1,000 U.S. residents, who answered questions about physical health, lifestyle behaviors, emotional health, work environment, and basic access to health care and food.

Based on the responses, the 10 states that had the highest Well-Being Index scores were:
1. Hawaii (70.2 out of 100)
2. North Dakota (70.0)
3. Minnesota (69.2)
4. Utah (69.0)
5. Alaska (69.0)
6. Colorado (68.4)
6. Kansas (68.4)
8. Nebraska (68.3)
9. New Hampshire (68.2)
10. Montana (68.0)

According to Gallup, Hawaii residents had the best healthy behaviors and reported positive eating and exercise habits, as well as lower smoking rates. In addition, Hawaiians were the most likely to say they had laughed or smiled the day before being surveyed, and the least likely to report daily stress or a depression diagnosis.

Meanwhile, the states that had the lowest Well-Being Index scores were:

1. West Virginia (62.3)
2. Kentucky (63.3)
3. Mississippi (63.4)
4. Delaware (64.2)
5. Ohio (64.5)
6. Alabama (64.6)
7. Arkansas (64.7)
8. Missouri (64.8)
9. Florida (64.9);
10. Tennessee (65.0)

10. Nevada (65.0)

Nine of the top 10 states for well-being were located in the Western or Midwestern regions of the country, while half of the bottom 10 states were in the Southern region. According to Gallup, the index has reflected this geographic pattern since Gallup and Healthways began monitoring well-being in 2008.

Antoher interesting perspecitive: The U.S. Well-Being Index for 2011 was 66.2 out of 100, reaching its lowest point since 2008. In comparison, the index for 2010 was 66.8. Although the life evaluation index increased from 2008 to 2011, work environment dropped from 51.4 in 2008 to 47.2 in 2011, while basic access dropped from 83.6 in 2008 to 81.9 in 2011.

According to Gallup, no state has posted a significant well-being improvement since the 2008 financial crisis, indicating that continued economic struggle poses a challenge to well-being improvement efforts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fauquier Health Stands Out with Electronic Medical Records

The Advisory Board Company recently wrote about meaningful use requirements (electronic medical records) in hospitals. As stated in a previous blog here, Fauquier Health met the phase 1 requirements for electronic medical records late last year. As of February, only about 10 percent of hospitals nationwide met that requirement. According to the Advisory Board, Fauquier Health -- an independent, non-profit hospital with 97 beds in rural Virginia -- was pretty atypical of the other hospitals who completed phase 1.

See below:

Based on data from a survey of 585 hospitals that HIMSS Analytics tracks in a database on meaningful use readiness, HIMSS Analytics identified seven types of hospitals that typically outpace other hospitals in health IT adoption. They are:

•Academic medical centers
•General medical/surgical hospitals;
•Hospitals with between 400 and 499 licensed beds
•Hospitals with 500 or more licensed beds
•Urban hospitals
•Multiple-site hospitals

The data show that 60% of hospitals with more than 500 beds said they are ready or likely to be ready to meet Stage 1 meaningful use requirements, compared with 20% of hospitals with less than 100 beds.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bistro Welcomes Seniors at Supper Club

The Bistro had a lunchtime visit from members of the Warrenton Senior Center as part of the senior meals program. Zach Erickson, director of Nutrition Services, said, "It was a pleasure to see so many familiar faces and some new ones. I was pleased to see that so many of our guests chose to indulge in the salad bar, even more than on their first visit. We served the entrée portion of their meal to them tableside as if they were at a full-serve restaurant.

"The best part was hearing the buzz of positive comments they made to each other on the way out.

All of my staff in the Bistro find the senior meals a rewarding and fun experience. We can’t wait to see them again!"

The Senior Supper Club meets Tuesday and Thursdays, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Bistro. Anyone 55 or older can enjoy a delicious, healthy meal for only $4.50. A variety of entrees are offered, and each meal comes with soup, fruit salad, and a choice of milk, tea or coffee. Entrees include:

• The Bistro’s Homestyle Chef’s Table (an entrée and two sides)

• A fajita or stir-fry from the Mongolian Grill

• A sandwich or wrap from the Deli counter

• An entree-sized salad from the salad bar

Concussion Care Protocol Takes Injury Seriously

Dr. Michael Amster, pediatrician, will speak on concussions in young athletes at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, March 27, in Fauquier Hospital's Sycamore Room.

When Liberty High School freshman Emily Fitzwater reported blurry vision after a volleyball hit her hard under the chin, her mom, Becky, experienced a little déjà vu. The nosebleeds, headaches, the fuzzy thinking – she had seen this before.

Almost exactly a year before, Emily had taken a knee under the chin while sliding into home plate during a youth sports softball game. The results were the same: her head snapped back and the blurry vision and headaches followed. The diagnosis: concussion.

But Becky Fitzwater has noticed a world of difference in the way the two events were handled. Fauquier County Public Schools recently put a concussion protocol in place, and local coaches, trainers and physicians are better trained to recognize and treat concussions.

The first time Emily was injured, she returned to play in a softball game just three days later. The volleyball injury was treated much more conservatively. Becky Fitzwater said that Liberty High School’s trainer, Mandy Carter, was very concerned about Emily’s symptoms and directed that Emily undergo a thorough evaluation by her doctor as soon as possible. Emily’s mother said, “Dr. (Joshua) Jakum, Emily’s pediatrician, told us, ‘This is a bruise. You have to let bruises heal, especially if it involves a whole lot of brain cells.’ He told Emily, ‘You are to do nothing: no reading, no video, no cell phone. You can watch TV in 15-minute intervals, but if your vision becomes blurry, stop. You lie on your bed and listen to music.’ She slept the whole first day.”

After about four days, Emily realized her head didn’t hurt anymore but she was still not allowed to return to the volleyball court. It was only until she went a full week without symptoms that she was allowed to slowly resume activity. Becky Fitzwater said, “Because this was Emily’s second concussion, her doctor and the school’s trainer were very cautious, and they monitored her carefully for any return of her symptoms.”

Dr. Jakum is one of three clinicians in the county who have received special training on diagnosing and treating concussions; the other two are Dr. Michael Amster, pediatrician, and Dr. Mary Koralewski, psychiatrist. Dr. Jakum said, “If there is an injury, it’s important that the athlete is pulled off the field immediately and evaluated. Recognizing a concussion requires attention by coaches, athletic trainers and knowledgeable parents.”

Dr. Amster added, “Children with concussions often have difficulty recalling old information and learning new information. A child with a concussion not only needs physical rest, they need mental rest. Strenuous physical or mental activity can make concussion symptoms worse.”

He said, “For those younger than 24, if an athlete suffers a second concussion before fully recovering from an earlier one, it can cause the brain to swell and could result in significant brain damage.” Dr. Amster adds that only 40 percent of children
who have suffered concussions are fully recovered after a week.

Virginia’s concussion law, the Student-Athlete Protection Act (SB 652), was signed into law in April of 2010. The law mandated that schools develop a concussion policy by July 1, 2011 and Fauquier County School District’s health director, Pam Trude, coordinated the development of that new policy.

ImPACT Testing
The school system’s new rules require that all student athletes involved in sports undergo baseline ImPACT testing (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). Drs. Jakum, Amster and Koralewski agreed to become ImPACT-certified clinicians.

ImPACT takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The computer program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including:
• Attention span
• Working memory
• Sustained and selective attention time
• Response variability
• Non-verbal problem solving
• Reaction time

The test is given before the season to establish a baseline. If the athlete is injured and a concussion is suspected, school staff can administer the test again and compare results to the baseline to measure the change in cognitive function. This allows the physician to determine whether or not the athlete has suffered a concussion.

Joining the effort to diagnose and effectively treat concussions in young athletes, Fauquier Health has donated $6,550 to the Fauquier County School Division for 2012-2013 ImPACT testing.

Observable signs of a concussion
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment or
• Forgets an instruction
• Is unsure of game, score or
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness (even briefly)
• Shows mood, behavior or
personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
• Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Signs of a Concussion that

Signs that may be reported by an athlete
• Headache or pressure in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy
or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Does not “feel right” or is
“feeling down”

Dr. Wesley Hodgson Will Speak on Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy

For couples who are considering having a baby, Wesley Hodgson, M.D., OB/GYN, will present a lecture on preparing for a healthy pregnancy, addressing proper nutrition, fitness, and medication safety. He will also discuss methods for improving fertility.

Dr. Hodgson will elaborate on these and other suggestions for assuring a healthy pregnancy:
• Achieve a healthy weight.
• Eat balanced meals that include foods high in folate, such as orange juice, spinach and strawberries. Pregnant women also need extra iron. Red meat, oatmeal and beans are good sources.
• Drink at least 10 cups of fluid daily, but avoid alcohol and limit caffeine.
• Restrict consumption of large deep sea fish like tuna to the equivalent of one can per week, and always avoid uncooked fish during pregnancy.
• Stay away from soft cheeses, such as feta and Brie, and unpasteurized milk and juice, and avoid uncooked deli meats.
• With a doctor’s OK, physically active women may be able to maintain the same exercise intensity throughout pregnancy and after the birth. Choose moderate activities with a low risk for injury like walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga and stationary biking; avoid activities that strain the back.
• Talk with your doctor about any over-the-counter, herbal, or prescription medications and any nutritional supplements you are taking. Women with chronic health problems like asthma or high blood pressure may need to change medications. Never start or stop a medication without checking with your doctor first.
• Take a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid.
• Do not take ibuprofen and naproxen without talking to your doctor; Tylenol is a safer substitute.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 23 in Fauquier Hospital’s Sycamore Room Please call 540-316-3588 or go to to register.

Advance Directives Discussion at Fauquier Hospital

Fauquier Hospital will host “A Conversation in Ethics: How to Honor Advance Directives,” on Wednesday, March 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The event will be held in the hospital’s Sycamore Room.

Topics will include:
• The new Virginia Advance Directive forms and where patients can find them
• How to select a healthcare proxy
• How to make sure the healthcare proxy understands what the Advance Directive means to the patient
• How the healthcare proxy can best honor the Advance Directives

The discussion will feature several speakers:
• Pediatrician Joshua Jakum, M.D., will discuss the ethical issues surrounding Advance Directives and how to honor decisions made by patients.
• Emergency Department physician Michael Jenks, M.D., will address Advance Directives issues that can arise in the Emergency Room.
• A Fauquier Hospital staff physician will speak on issues common in the hospital setting.
• A Fauquier Hospital social worker will talk about the new Advanced Directives in Virginia.

There will be time for questions and answers.

Screening Tests for Women are Best Preventive Medicine

Dr. Esther Bahk, of Fauquier Health Internal Medicine at Lake Manassas, believes that “Women have something better than a fountain of youth to help them live long and well — preventive screening tests. These help catch diseases and other medical problems early, when they are most treatable.”

The following is a list of important screenings for women based on the recommendations of major health organizations and U.S. government agencies. Dr. Bahk suggested, “Talk to your doctor to find out which tests and what schedules are best for you.”

Pelvic Exam
Who needs it: Women, ages 18 and older; sexually active women
When to have it: Annually for first three years, then every one to three years based on results
Heart Disease
Blood Pressure Test
Who needs it: Women ages 21 and older
When to have it: Every one to two years based on results

Cholesterol Test
Who needs it: Women ages 20 and older
When to have it: Every five years
Blood Sugar Test
Who needs it: Women ages 45 and older, and pregnant women at high risk (Pregnant women at risk for gestational diabetes include those who are older than age 25, have had the condition before or have a family history of diabetes.)
When to have it: Once at age 45, then every three years; during pregnancy, if needed

Cancer Pap Test
Who needs it: Women ages 21 and older
When to have it: Every two years for women ages 21 to 29 (Women 30 and older who have had three consecutive negative Pap tests can reduce screening to every three years.)

Clinical Breast Exam
Who needs it: Women ages 18 and older
When to have it: Every three years for women ages 20 to 39; yearly from age 40

Mammogram (Breast X-ray)
Who needs it: Women ages 40 and older
When to have it: Every one to two years3

Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
Who needs it: Women ages 50 and older
When to have it: Every one to two years
Other Tests Your Doctor May Recommend

Who needs it: Women ages 50 and older
When to have it: Every five to 10 years, depending on test results.

How to Limit Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a tale of two age groups. Among people older than 50, rates of this disease have been falling. Credit increased screening, which can prevent some cases by finding precancerous growths. However, among those younger than 50 — who aren’t routinely screened — a study found that colorectal cancer rates have risen since the early 1990s.

What’s to blame? If you’re a young adult, choosing a healthy diet and managing your weight may help. If you’re in the 50-plus group, the same tactics complement regular screening.

Starting at age 50, it’s crucial to get screened periodically for this disease. Screening helps detect cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Some tests also help find precancerous growths, called
polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. There are several types of screenings for colorectal cancer. Your doctor can help you choose the best screening method for you.

Fauquier Hospital Qualifies for Electronic Medical Records Funding

You’ve had a successful stay at the hospital. When you’re ready to be discharged, a smiling nurse hands you a flash drive with a copy of your up-to-date medical records and discharge instructions – including a list of your medications and your new dietary restrictions. A scene from the future? Maybe not.

There are more than 100 hospitals and medical centers in Virginia, but Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton is one of a very few that has completed the first phase of the mandatory move to electronic medical records. Nationwide, only about one in 10 has hit the mark.

The requirements were signed into law in 2009 as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and $18 billion was set aside to reimburse medical facilities that could show they were using electronic medical records in a meaningful way. Fauquier Health was reimbursed almost $1.6 million for achieving the Stage 1 goal. Fauquier Health made a significant investment in technology and training to achieve Stage 1; the $1.6 million will help pay for that.

Among the required goals are those that streamline communication and assist with patient education, for instance:
• Physicians must use computerized ordering for medications.
• There must be checks in place to safeguard against negative drug to drug interactions and to protect patients who have a known allergy.
• At the patients’ request, provide them with an electronic copy of their medical records and/or their discharge instructions.
• Must be able to exchange medical information electronically with other medical offices or facilities.

Donna Staton, Fauquier Health’s Chief Information Officer, said that achieving meaningful use was an organizational initiative for Fauquier Health even before the requirements were finalized in the fall of 2009. Staton says, “Getting everyone trained and comfortable with the new systems and processes has been a huge undertaking. We began with our staff physicians, our hospitalists, and have also been working with physicians in the community.” Doctors in private practice can also be a part of the incentive program if they meet certain criteria.

What does meaningful use mean to patients?
Here are a few examples patients may notice as they interact with their doctors and the hospital.
• Patient safety should improve, as all those involved with a patient’s care will have access to the same accurate information.
• If they like, patients can receive their medical records electronically. Staton says that patients can receive a flash drive with their medical records or discharge instructions upon checkout, including information about their medications or when to see their doctor next
• Medications a patient may be taking will be evaluated upon admission, so all those involved in his or her care throughout their stay have current information.

What’s Next?
As part of the move toward completing Stage 2 requirements, Staton says the hospital is working on a patient portal for the hospital’s website ( that will allow patients to access their records, as well as receive targeted health information depending on their condition. Also slated for Stage 2: bar code scanning of medications at the bedside, ensuring that proper medications are given.