Monday, May 28, 2012

Fauquier Hospital Featured on NPR Programs

Jordana Gustafson and Julie Rovner of NPR, on the right,
enjoy a celebration to honor Erin Littleton,

Fauquier Hospital's Ruth Krusie
Excellence in Nursing recipient.
A couple of weeks ago, a reporting team from National Public Radio came out to Fauquier Hospital as part of their "Sick in America" series. They were attempting to shed light on the healthcare system in our country -- what's right and what's wrong.

A recent survey by the Robert Wood Foundation found that most patients felt their healthcare needs were not being met. The organizers of the series had heard about Planetree and wondered if it presented a possibility for a better way to deliver care.

Writer Julie Rovner, producer Jordana Gustafson and photographer John Rose spent all day at Fauquier Hospital, talking to physicians, staff and patients about patient-centered care. See for yourself what they learned.

NPR's food blog, "The Salt," appeared first, and focused on Fauquier Hospital's Bistro on the Hill:

The main audio piece was heard on "All Things Considered" on May 23. It was accompanied by a written story and 8 photos:

Rodger Baker, Fauquier Health CEO and president, was interviewed for a live show called "Talk of the Nation on May 24." Listen at:

As an added bonus, Fauquier Hospital was mentioned again on "Morning Edition" this morning, for its efforts to put patients first:

Thanks to all the Fauquier Hospital staff who agreed to be interviewed -- Lisa Spitzer, our always cheerful and caring concierge; Emergency Department doctors Greg Wagner, M.D. and Matthew Rhames, M.D., who were as generous with their time as they could be; Dr. Adam Winick, interventional radiologist, who gave some historical perspective; Erin Littleton, RN, recipient of this year's Ruth Krusie Excellence in Nursing Award; and to the kind patients who took the time to share their experiences -- members of the Senior Supper Club for instance, and the happy parents of a beautiful two-hour-old baby girl.

And thanks to Julie, Jordana and John, for helping us to share the word about patient-centered care.

Western Day at FHRNC

Fauquier Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Center's Spirituality Committee hosted a Western hoedown to celebrate FHRNC Day on May 12. Residents and their families enjoyed barbeque and games -- and cool cowboy hats. In this picture, John Ferguson, Shirley Grant, Evelyn Armistead and Karen Wise celebrate FHRNC Day.

Pet Therapy Dogs Comfort Patients

Sheryl Vollrath and Samantha
Hundreds of local residents who have been patients of Fauquier Hospital or have visited here have enjoyed the tag-wagging presence of our Pet Therapy dogs. One of the veterans of the program was Samantha, whose owner Sheryl Vollrath, was director of the program.
On March 29, Samantha made what was to be the last of her 400-plus Pet Therapy visits. Her journey as a Pet Therapy dog started in Endicott, N.Y., in June 2001 and continued at Fauquier Hospital in March 2003 after moving to Virginia from New York.

Samantha knew that Tuesday’s were “work days” and loved visiting her many friends and sharing with the patients at the hospital. Her dedication was recognized with the Fauquier Hospital Spirit of Planetree Animal Therapy Award in 2009 and the Therapy Dog International Exceptional Volunteer Achievement Award in July 2011.

Samantha will be missed by Fauquier Hospital patients, visitors and staff.

Virginia’s Lyme Disease Season Is in Full Swing

Dr. Tam Ly
infectious disease specialist
As we rush outdoors to soak in the summer sunshine, consider taking steps to fend off an almost invisible danger — tiny ticks carrying Lyme disease. In Virginia, the number of Lyme disease cases has risen every year since 2000. The disease is caused by a spirochetal bacteria, which can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick. “The tick can be as small as a poppy seed and the bite is usually painless; most individuals do not know they have been bitten. Tam Ly, M.D., infectious disease specialist with Fauquier Health, said, “Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may help detect and treat it earlier, avoiding the serious complications that can appear during the later stages of the disease.”


This painless bite can produce severe and chronic symptoms that affect the brain, nerves, eyes, joints and heart. Although symptoms can vary from person to person, here are some that can occur over several months after contact with an infected tick:

• A bull’s-eye type rash may appear one to three weeks after exposure.

• A flu-like illness with fatigue, chills, fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, heart

palpitations and dizziness. In some cases, these may be the only symptoms of infection, and they may come and go.

• Bell's palsy, which is the loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face.

• Meningitis, which involves severe headaches, neck stiffness and sensitivity to light.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Ly explained that, “During the early stages of the disease, your doctor will consider your symptoms, exposure and medical history to determine whether you have Lyme disease. In the later stages of the disease, laboratory tests can confirm Lyme disease, although they are not a good way to test whether the disease has been cured. Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease, and the earlier they are started, the better.”

Protect Yourself and Your Family from Lyme Disease

• Use insect repellents with 20 to 30 percent DEET. Apply to exposed skin areas and clothing. Permethrin, another insect repellent, can be used on clothing only, not on skin.

• Wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and tuck shirts into pants.

• Wear light-colored clothing to help spot ticks.

• Ticks that transmit Lyme disease thrive in humid, wooded areas. Identify and stay away from potential danger zones.

• Mow the lawn frequently and clear leaf litter, tall grasses and brush around the home.
Ticks die quickly in sunny, dry environments.

• Do a full-body tick check at the end of every day, especially if you and your family are spending a lot of time outdoors during the summer months. If you do find a tick, remove the tick promptly with tweezers, not with your fingers, by gently pulling it straight out. Be careful not to squeeze the tick while removing it. Don’t forget to check your pets, especially dogs, before you bring them into the house.

Essure Provides Safe, Permanent Birth Control for Women

Dr. Lorraine Chun
Dr. Wesleny Hodgson
Fauquier Health OB/GYN is one of the first physician practices in the area to offer Essure, a permanent birth control solution performed in the office.

Wesley Hodgson, M.D., used Essure to provide birth control for dozens of women while working as a physician in the U.S. military; in February, he performed the procedure for the first time at his Veterans Drive office. He and Lorraine Chun, M.D., are happy to be able to offer the minimally invasive method to women who have decided their families are complete.

Essure has several advantages over other methods:

• It’s incision free.

• It does not require general anesthesia.

• No hormone replacement is needed.

• The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office.

• Recovery is quick. After the ten-minute procedure, most patients go home within 45 minutes and are back to regular activity in less than a day.

• It’s 99.8 percent effective and permanent.

How Does Essure Work?
An Essure-certified physician positions a soft, flexible insert into each fallopian tube. The insert, which looks like a tiny spring, is made of the same non-silicone material used to make heart stents. No incision is necessary.

Over the next three months, the woman’s body works with the Essure inserts to form a natural barrier against pregnancy. After those three months, the doctor will perform a test to confirm that the tubes are completely blocked.

Dr. Hodgson said that all of his Essure patients have been very happy with the procedure. “Many of my patients request permanent birth control right after they have a baby. This is a great alternative to tubal ligation because there is virtually no down time. You don’t want to be unable to get out of bed for three or four days when you have a new baby to care for. It’s great, too, for women who are not good candidates for surgery. While I was in the Navy, we found Essure to be the best permanent birth control method for women.

“Although new to this area, Essure has been available in the United States for 11 years. It’s quick and safe, and there are no long-term side effects. I believe it’s the most effective technique we have.”

The cost of Essure is covered by most health insurance providers.

Fauquier Health OB/GYN

Wesley Hodgson, M.D.
Lorraine Chun, M.D.

253 Veterans Drive
Suite 210
Warrenton, VA 20186

DAISY Awards Honor Compassionate Nursing

Cynthia Knight, RN, of the Interventional
Radiology Department was the May

Daisy Award recipient.
Fauquier Hospital is seeking input from the community as it embarks on a new tradition. Every three months, a special nurse is recognized with a DAISY Award for his or her hard work, devotion and compassion. Because patients are the best judges of the care they receive, Fauquier Hospital’s patients and their families are asked to submit nominations.

How Can I Nominate a Nurse?
The nomination form may be found in the front lobby of Fauquier Hospital, at (look for the daisy at the bottom of the home page) or call 540-316-3864, or email A new recipient is chosen each quarter.

What Is a DAISY Award?
DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system. The DAISY Foundation was formed in 2000, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33. After his death, Barnes’ family found comfort in the positive experiences they had while he was in the hospital. They created the DAISY Award for extraordinary nurses to recognize the superhuman work nurses do every day.

Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center Nurse Honored with Excellence in Nursing Award

Erin Littleton was the 2012 Excellence in Nursing
Award recipient at Fauquier Hospital.
Erin Littleton, RN, a nurse in Fauquier Hospital’s Family Birthing Center, received the Ruth Krusie Excellence in Nursing award on Tuesday, May 1. Upon hearing the announcement at the annual ceremony, her face lit up with delighted surprise. “I never thought I would receive such an honorable award,” she said.

The Excellence in Nursing Award is given each year to a nurse who embodies the true spirit, professionalism and dedication of Ruth Krusie, a nurse who worked in Fauquier Hospital’s Emergency Department for 14 years and was known for her dedication to the nursing profession and to the patients under her care.

Erin has been with the FBC team for almost six years. She said, “This is what I have wanted to do since day one. I always knew labor and delivery was for me.”

Erin consistently shares her positive, caring attitude with other staff members as well as her patients. She said, “I work with some amazing people in the Family Birthing Center; we are a team. We are more than just co-workers, we are friends, they are my second family.”
Here is what a fellow nurse had to say on Erin’s nomination form: “I am proud to work with Erin as both a co-worker and a friend. The role she plays in the FBC is that of a leader and a role model. Erin exhibits service excellence and the core values of nursing on a daily basis.”

The dedication to her patients and her co-workers that Erin demonstrates is inspiring. Erin said, “I do my best every day I come to work. I take care of my patients as if they were my family, because that’s how I would like to be treated if I were a patient.”

Her compassion and care is appreciated by her fellow nurses. Another nomination entry said: “Erin is well respected and admired by her peers, doctors and patients. She is very skilled in her specialty and provides excellent, thorough patient care. I always look forward to the days that I am scheduled to work with Erin. She could be my nurse any day.”

Community Run Will Benefit Free Clinic

Fauquier Free Clinic Pacemakers 5K/10K will take place at the Airlie Conference Center, Warrenton on Sunday, June 10, beginning at 7:30 a.m.

The cost for pre-registered adults is $25; children under 12 are $10. All participants receive a free event T-shirt

The course offers a rolling 5K or 10K route through scenic Airlie Farm and surrounding areas. All proceeds benefit the uninsured families of the Fauquier Free Clinic.

To register and for more information, go to

Al Maxey Leads Team Fauquier in Tour de Cure

Al Maxey
The Tour de Cure for diabetes research was the first bike race Al Maxey participated in two years ago, so it holds special meaning for him. This year he decided to share the experience with 20 or so new friends.

He recruited and is helping to train fellow biking enthusiasts for the 107.5-mile 2012 Tour de Cure on June 3. The event will include about 1,700 bikers; it winds from Reston to Purcellville, then to Fauquier and back to Reston, and will take six to eight hours to complete.

Fauquier Health is sponsoring the team by providing team uniforms, and the Wellness Center donated time in its exercise and cycling studio so the team could ride during the winter months.

At least one member of Team Fauquier is a marathon runner, some have already cycled in races, and several have never trained before. Maxey is using his expertise as a personal trainer to make sure everyone is ready for the rigors of a 100-mile ride. At a recent training session at the center, Team Fauquier members chatted about what distances they’d logged that week while they warmed up with a few easy miles. As the music got louder and faster and the riders pushed themselves, there was less talking and more sweating.

Maxey said, “The Wellness Center has been unbelievably supportive, and some of our team members have joined the center as a result. It’s been great.”

The website for the team is

Al Maxey Accomplishes a Lot by Spinning His Wheels

Al Maxey leads members of Team Fauquier in a
training session at the Wellness Center.
Recently, Al Maxey undertook to ride his mountain bike 400 miles along the California coast, up and down mountains, through forests, and past signs that warned visitors to beware of mountain lions. When mountains were too steep or too rocky, he pushed his bike. Painful blisters made the experience extra memorable. This, however, was not his longest journey, or his most difficult.

His most challenging journey began in a doctor’s office in late 2009. “I weighed almost 300 pounds. I was pre-diabetic. My blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol -- the doctor had nothing good to say about any of them.”

Maxey remembered, “It was a like a switch turned on in my head and that was it. I didn’t eat pizza between January and April, and it almost killed me. I went to the Fauquier Health Wellness Center because it’s a very warm, friendly place. Everyone feels welcome there, even if you’re overweight. At first I would walk on the treadmill and lift weights a few times a week. The staff at the Wellness Center was very encouraging and provided guidance about exercise. I tried to eat only unprocessed foods, real foods. I was obsessed with keeping track of my calories. I’m a numbers guy, so that was something I could do to track my progress. The weight began to fall off.”

Maxey began to use a stationary bike at night. His wife Paula said, “He would make sure we were all settled in for the night and go down to the basement and ride for a couple of hours. In the first month and a half, I saw a big difference.”

Small goals were replaced by big goals, and Maxey soon started running in 5K and 10K races, and pushed himself to participate in long bike tours. His first was the Tour de Cure for diabetes research, over a hundred miles in Northern Virginia. He also logged two marathons and a triathlon. He said, “During the triathlon I couldn’t wait to get out of the water. I knew I could run and bike, but in the water I thrash around until it’s time to get out. I sink. I just try not to drown while slowly moving forward.”

Al Maxey weighs in these days between 215 and 220 pounds. He eats pizza, but not often. He is certified in personal training and as a Spinning instructor, and teaches at the Wellness Center.

Maxey lights up as he talks about his new personal training job at the Wellness Center. “I just love working with my personal training clients because I can see their potential, I can see whathey are going to be able to do before they can. I was the overweight kid. I remember those physical fitness tests where you would just hope the class bully wasn’t standing behind you ready to make fun of you when you failed. I understand how that feels.”

Maxey helps his clients develop the best workouts, but also talks with them about nutrition. “Most are not eating enough. Most people try to starve themselves when they are trying to losweight, but that’s not the answer. Healthy amounts of the right foods, and lots of exercise, that’s what works.”

He says his motivation every day throughout his transformation has been his family. He and Paula have three girls aged 6, 11 and 13. “When we changed what we were eating, we all changed. The girls took up Zumba with their mom and have cycled and run in local races.” Maxey said, “It’s changed what they know they can do. They ask, ‘How many miles is it?’ and say, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ They go to school with a 10K race T-shirt and feel good about that.” Paula Maxey has run one marathon with her husband and is contemplating another.

Maxey admits that it hasn’t been easy, trying to manage his job as a systems analyst, his training and his family. “Twice a week I rush home from work, pick up the kids, go home to let the dogs out, take the girls to soccer or dance, drop them off at home and head up to the Wellness Center to train.”

Last summer Maxey treated his daughters to a mini boot camp. “For 40 days, we all got up at 5:30 and ran and worked out until it was time for me to go to work. They loved it. By the end, they were waking me up saying, “C’mon Daddy, let’s go!”

Maxey credits Paula with making it all possible. “Paula has picked up the slack for me, allowed me to buy an expensive new bike, handled everything on Saturday mornings when I went out to ride, ate a lot of dinners without me.” Paula Maxey shrugged when asked about her part in her husband’s success. “I am just happy my husband is going to be around to see our grandchildren.”

Calendar of Events for June

Monday, June 4

Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: 4 sessions; June 4, 11, 18 and 25
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, June 6
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Wednesday, June 7

Raising Healthy Eaters
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Lecture with Dennis Rustom, M.D., pediatrician; and Aren Dodge, dietitian
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, June 9
Safe Sitter Babysitter Training
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore Room
When: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, June 13
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center
When: 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Cost: $30 (includes lunch)
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, June 14
Look Good…Feel Better
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m.
Register: 540-667-2315

Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16

Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center
When: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, June 16
First Aid/CPR/AED (Adult/ Infant and Child)
American Heart Association
Where: Fauquier Health Medical Office Building
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $85
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, June 21
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Fauquier Health Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25
Register: 540-316-3588

AARP Driver Safety Program
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore Room
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Details: $12 members, $14 non-members

Thursday, June 28
American Red Cross Blood Drive
Where: Fauquier Health Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, June 29
Reflexology for Couples
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $45 couple
Call: 540-316-2640 to register

Glucose Screening First Step to Managing Diabetes

Dr. Kevin McCarthy
Health screenings are an important part of preventive medical care. Not only are they an affordable and effective tool for early detection, but they can also serve as a safety net for patients in need of timely treatment.

Orange County resident Jon Smith (not his real name) discovered firsthand the importance of being in the right place at the right time when he attended a Fauquier Health community screening event last fall. That’s where he discovered his recently diagnosed diabetes was raging out of control.

“My blood glucose level had risen to 452 and I thought I was going to die,” Smith says. “At the time I was shaking and crying because I had read a lot about diabetes and I knew the number was not good.”

Smith, a teacher at Fauquier High School, saw an on-site physician during the Fauquier Health screening event, and was referred to Dr. Kevin McCarthy, an internal medicine physician with Piedmont Internal Medicine, for follow-up care.

Because Smith’s glucose level was dangerously high, Dr. McCarthy advised him to go to the emergency room right away. After a brief hospital stay, Smith’s blood sugar level was within the safe range for discharge. Once under Dr. McCarthy’s supervision, Smith started a new treatment plan to keep his diabetes under control.

“When diabetes is out of control, you feel horrible,” Dr. McCarthy says. “Your energy level is low and you experience excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision and fatigue. Jon lost 30 pounds in a short period of time, but he didn’t have 30 pounds to lose to begin with, so he was feeling really bad when his glucose level was discovered.”

Dr. McCarthy says in addition to not feeling well, patients experience a broad range of health problems related to uncontrolled diabetes.

“It affects almost every aspect of the patient’s health, from their cardiovascular system to their neurological system to their kidneys. This dramatically increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, renal failure and nerve damage. That’s why we get so concerned about uncontrolled diabetes.”

In addition to insulin medication, Smith’s treatment plan included comprehensive diabetes education services from the Fauquier Health Wellness Center. The center’s program offers a free glucometer, some starter test strips and lancets; self-management training, including one-on-one sessions with a nurse and dietitian, plus eight hours of group classes; access to a diabetes support group that meets every other month; and insulin pump management.

“The Fauquier Health diabetes education program is extremely helpful in terms of initiating newly diagnosed patients into the world of diabetes,” Dr. McCarthy says. “It helps the patients understand the importance of monitoring their diabetes with frequent blood sugar checks, and encourages the patients to see their physicians every three months. Even when patients are doing everything right, the diabetes itself can change, so we recommend lab testing every three months to stay on top of the disease.”

With assistance from Dr. McCarthy and the Wellness Center staff, Smith says he was feeling completely healthy again within just a few short months.

“Dr. McCarthy really knows what he’s doing, and he always treats me with kind words and support,” Smith says. “He’s like a father to me. And the Wellness Center is the centerpiece of the whole diabetes program. It was a big factor in my recovery.”

Smith was especially impressed because as soon as he was admitted to the Fauquier Health emergency room after the health fair screening, someone from the Wellness Center stopped by to see how he was doing.

“That was amazing,” Smith says. “I never expected them to do that. But they have been like a family to me. In addition to providing diabetes information, they encourage me and communicate regularly with me, and I always feel good when I see them.”

“When Jon first came to see us, he was feeling terrible,” says Aren Dodge, diabetes educator with the Wellness Center. “But at Dr. McCarthy’s direction we were able to get him on insulin right away, and we went over the diet information and everything else about diabetes management. So he’s been doing great and his sugar levels are awesome now.”

Dodge pointed out that although Smith was feeling ill when he first came to her, “Most people do not have obvious symptoms with chronic diseases like diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure, which make screening and annual exams very important for catching and correcting problems early — before long-term damage results.”

Research shows when a diabetes patient is provided education and support, the outcome will be much better. “Knowledge is power, and the more you know about diabetes, the more successful you will be at managing the disease,” Dodge says. “With diabetes, you also have to be your own advocate and you have to find the right team of experts to help.”

In addition to finding the right physician, patients need helpful advice and tips. One of the first things Dodge recommends to patients is a gradual change toward healthier lifestyle choices.

“Making realistic changes and being consistent is the key,” Dodge says. “A lot of times, people will come in and they’ll make all these big, drastic changes, but it’s not something they can stick with forever. Instead of going overboard, we help them find a middle ground.”

Finding a middle ground is important advice because so many people in our community are afflicted with the disease.

“Statistically speaking, Fauquier County has a higher rate of diabetes than the national average,” Dodge says. “And just like everywhere else, the incidence of diabetes is increasing. According to the American Diabetes Association, if the current trends continue, anyone born after 2000 will have a 1 in 3 chance of developing diabetes in their lifetime.”

Following the advice of Dr. McCarthy and the Wellness Center staff has enabled Smith to get his life back on track. And now that everything is going well for him, he wants to share his story.

“I am so thankful for Fauquier Health because the screening saved my life,” Smith says. “And I share this important message everywhere I go: Any time you hear about a free screening being offered, take it. Make yourself available, because it’s better to find a problem today and start working on it, rather than waiting until tomorrow, when it may be too late.”
• Those interested in finding a physician may call the Fauquier Health Physician Referral Hotline at 540-316-DOCS (3627)
• For those seeking a diabetes specialist, Fauquier County recently welcomed a new endocrinologist, Dr. Lida Tabatabaeian. Call 540-316-5940.
• For diabetes services at the Fauquier Health Wellness Center, call 540-316-2652 or email